We met up at about three in the afternoon on Friday, later than we'd hoped but I'd been on night shift on Thursday night so time was short. Dave was waiting ready to go so once we'd assembled my boat and loaded up we wasted no further time in getting on the water.
As I paddled in I could see sand on the bottom but the beach appeared to be rocks and boulders which would make trolleying the canoes above the high water mark difficult. We landed for a look anyway and decided that if we joined forces to manhandle the canoes once empty of camping gear we should be able to manage.
After emptying the boats and following a little judicious rock gardening we got the canoes up the beach and could relax and begin to enjoy our surroundings. We were right below the castle in a spectacular setting.
Overnight the wind strengthened markedly from the north. Despite the flapping of my tarp I slept reasonably well being exhausted after having effectively missed a nights sleep following my night shifts. Dave wasn't so fortunate being disturbed by his tent flapping in the wind and having to get up and add extra pegs and guylines during the night. When I woke I put on a brew and made some porridge which I was able to eat in bed (the joys of bivying!) Once Dave had risen and had something to eat our thoughts turned to plans for the day, we had intended to sail across to Mull but it was an open and exposed crossing of around five miles and we could see there were plenty of white horses out in channel between Kerrera and Mull as a result of the strong wind. We decided to explore the castle instead before having some lunch then sail across in the afternoon if the wind had moderated enough.
Gylen Castle was built in 1582 by the Clan MacDougall. Gylen was only occupied for a relatively short period of time. The castle was besieged then burned by the Covenanters under General Leslie in 1647 during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. In May 2006 a restoration of the castle was completed with a £300,000 grant by Historic Scotland and £200,000 raised by worldwide members of Clan MacDougall.
Very quickly the wind freshened and the waves got bigger with gusts of F5 and wind against tide conditions. It made for exciting sailing and I was very aware that it was a long way to the safety of Mull.
After dinner we collected all the driftwood that we could find on the beach, we had a fair pile and it was all very dry meaning we had a fantastic campfire to keep us warm.
Day three GPS and also the whole route on Google Earth.