WSKF at Ettrick Bay

Billy Connolly once said that there was no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes.

And the attendees at the Women’s Sea Kayak Festival were in no way unruffled by the bursts of rain or the low cloud that scraped the top of Windy Hill behind their beach campsite; they were suited and booted for a weekend of fun out on the water!

This is the fifth time that the Festival had taken place on Bute. It alternates location year about with Devon, so they’ll be making a return visit to Bute in 2019.

Visit Bute caught up with one of the Festival’s organising team, Alice McInnes, at the camping area at the new Glamping Pods out at Ettrick Bay.  Alice said: “We’re having a great time here; we always do.

“The great thing about having the Kayak Festival here on Bute is that it doesn’t really matter what the weather is doing, we can generally find a sheltered corner of the island to set off from.

“The rain’s not a problem, but high winds would be. But it’s not been a problem for us so far this weekend.”

The Festival is hugely popular (and not just for the fantastic Ettrick Bay location and buffet!).  This is a festival for women kayakers and the 45 places are snapped up extremely quickly, with attendees flocking from all over the UK and Europe.

Alice is quick to point out that the Festival isn’t just for experienced kayakers.  She said: “We organise the weekend so that there is something for everyone. We even have some kayaks available for novices. Plus, we have fantastic coaches who supervise a maximum of six kayakers each

Judging by the flushed and smiling faces around me it’s fun, healthy and sociable as well as very well-supervised.

Ettrick Bay

Ettrick Bay is a perfect location for kayaking because the bay is very shallow and offers ample opportunity for a bit of safe horseplay at the end of the day. “Fooling about and falling in, that all builds water confidence, which is very important,” points out Alice. ‘And it’s all done under supervision.’

Amongst the scheduled outings, the kayakers powered out to The Burnt Islands up in the Kyles of Bute.  They also circumnavigated the island over the weekend, undertaking a different stage of the journey every day of the Festival and returning to their base of tents and glamping pods at Ettrick Bay Tearoom every night.

It’s here that Alec and Sandy who own the tearoom provide the food for the hungry paddlers.

The tables have been groaning under the weight of the food!

We’ll be loading up some more photos for you to see!


Find the Festival on Facebook and on their website.

Alice McInnes leads kayaking expeditions on the East Coast of Scotland and also in the Firth of Clyde.