Wanna Know Where To Find a Superb, Secret Beach???

Fabulous sand, excellent view, great camping and no-one around for miles. I'll tell you exactly how to find this place below.

But should any of us do this sort of thing?

I've written about how things have changed regarding Bothy locations. At one time the MBA did not reveal their locations, now they have a clickable online map with grid references.

So why not beaches and camping spots for sea kayakers? Well it's obvious, isn't it?

Despite our claims to be independent spirits, many of us still seem to have a little bit of inner sheep. 'That place looks good', we think. 'Must go there'.

That's why my guidebook to the Scottish Sea Kayak Trail will give you all the information to successfully paddle from Gigha to the Summer Isles, but will not tell you where to camp or even land for lunch. In a couple of places (like the Sandaig Islands) it actively encourages you to look elsewhere. This leaves people to find their own adventure and doesn't create so-called 'honey-pot' areas.

And That's why I made a mistake when I tested the iPhone application Track My Tour.

There's nothing wrong with the application. It's a superb system.

But if it is used, as I did, to track a local sea kayak tour, it reveals the precise location of superb beaches, right down to the co-ordinates. I've now deleted the track.

This application has all sorts of uses for all sorts of tours. But please, not for logging general sea kayak outings on precious coasts.

Oh, and have you just scrolled down so I can tell you how to find that lovely beach I mentioned at the start? Well, it's easy. Start at Gigha and paddle north. You'll find it. In a few weeks.


paddlingOTAKU said...

I have pretty much stopped reading outdoor related magazines because of titles like "hidden yosemite" or 'Best beaches no one ever goes too'


Douglas Wilcox said...

Hello Simon, I very much agree with your sensible approach. Encourge sea kayaking but spread the load over a wide area to reduce pressure on a few spots, which are very environmentally sensitive.

Anonymous said...

Whilst accept your general message, I struggle to imagine that there are paddlers out there assiduously following your blog on the off-chance it becomes possible to glean a map reference from closely scrutinising the minutae. Just take a moment to consider how likely that really is.


Simon said...

Hi Mark
Lovely to hear from you. Glad you agree with the general idea.

I love you suggestion that people might be following this blog so closely hunting for beaches - that's a good one, really laughable!

Of course, search engines are a different matter. And it's something access officers at the SCA have discussed with me - should blogs reveal campsite locations as they can be so easily searched? Which is compounded by a program that gives precise locations.

Thanks for the comment.

Anonymous said...

In truth, I also struggle to imagine any of the sea paddlers I've ever met using Google to search for blogs that may include maps that have marked trails that (with detailed some map detective work) may possibly reveal the spot where someone may or may not have camped. Presumably by the law of probability someone somewhere out there is doing this, but even then, it's a non sequiteur to assume that they will then turn up and trash the place...

The 'location of campsites on the internet' thing is one of those issues that an awful lot of sanctimonious hot air has been expounded upon, totally out of sync with what paddlers are actually doing. Even more paradoxically, some of the loudest noise on this topic has been made by folk who already go out of their way to encourage people to go and paddle/camp on the West Coast (incidentally not the only UK paddling destination they could be directing paddlers to, but I digress...). Much of this stuff is much more informative about the people expounding it than those it's presumably aimed at. If I have an opinion on this, it's that a] more info out there, not less will help reduce local impacts and b] this sort of energy and effort should be focused into educating people on decent environmental practice (although if we buy the line that there are paddlers out there planning to come along and wreck the place, presumably the message won't work with them anyway...). Your book nicely covers both of these bases.



paddlingOTAKU said...

I am currently planning a trip for Alaska, Next summer, Alaska, where campsites for paddlers are hard to find. You literally can't get off the water. So I am spending a great deal of time googling campsite locations.

I am curious Mark, how you think more info will help reduce local impacts? Do you mean that it will drive people to the same locations to focus impact on certain spots?

Here in the States we have a group called The Leave No Trace center for Outdoor Ethics - Of which I am a master educator. We talk about dispersing impacts, until there is a site that is 'impacted' and then focusing use on that site.


Anonymous said...

One characteristic of the West coast of Scotland (the bit featured in Simon's guidebook, anyway) is that cliffed out 'no-landing' areas are comparatively rare. Likewise, there are few areas heavily effected by groundswell (i.e. where you may be looking for a non-surf landing) until you get into the far NW. There are many many thousands of potential landing/lunch/camping spots.

Hope that helps,


Simon said...

Alaska eh? I look forward to going back there one day, this time in a kayak.

Hi again Mark
Thanks again for the comments - I like being made to think about what I've written.