A kayak trip took a turn for the worse as increasing waves cause trouble for a pair of kayakers, causing one to capsize near the rocky shoreline of Loch Ness approximately three miles north of Drumnadrochit in the Scottish Highlands.
The Edinburgh based duo had set off in favourable conditions earlier in the day from Fort Augustus. As the paddle continued towards Dochgarroch near Inverness, a distance of 40km/25 miles, the wind strength and wave height increased and became significantly more challenging.
Heading for shelter on a small, rocky beach, one of the pair capsized. The cold loch water soon took an effect and severely limited his ability to self-recover. His colleague, once ashore, used his mobile phone on 999 to alert the Coastguard in Aberdeen, who were then able to task the RNLI Loch Ness volunteers via pager, simultaneously activating the Coastguard rescue helicopter team based at Inverness airport.
Drumnadrochit based RNLI volunteers, Vivian Bailey, Garry MacLeod and Martin Douglas took the Atlantic 75 Class lifeboat, Colin James Daniel to the reported position having been given a detailed location from the skipper of the Jacobite Warrior, a Loch Ness-based cruise ship.
On arrival, the lifeboat crew found one male in the water holding on to his upturned kayak but unable to either right himself or swim to the shore. He was pulled from the water and medically assessed just as the Coastguard helicopter arrived overhead.
The man was clearly suffering from the effects of cold water immersion and it was decided to take him directly to the lifeboat station where he could receive emergency care from additional crewmembers who had responded to the alert.
RNLI Loch Ness Volunteer, Vivian Bailey says: “The two kayakers were well prepared, well kitted out and, once the emergency occurred, made the critically important decision to quickly call for help.” Volunteer, Garry MacLeod says: “They had an emergency plan and had clearly taken their personal safety seriously.”
The two rescued kayakers have pledged to support RNLI Loch Ness in the ongoing fundraising effort to build a new lifeboat station at Urquhart Harbour adjacent to the current station at Temple Pier, Drumnadrochit. In the images above, Vivian Bailey can be seen medically assessing the kayaker pulled from the water and in the last picture the kayaker can be seen talking to Howie Whyte.