Scotland is in full bloom. Yellow Bracken and the beautiful Blue bells of Scotland. All over the place. HUGE patches of blue. My favorite color.
We are very happy with our new Arch w. the davits. The sprayhood is done and perfect (the strataglass is amazing) - just waiting for the cockpit tent to be delivered :-D
We received the cockpit tent and are very pleased with it. Of course, the weather have since been warm fabulous sunshine and blue skies
Finally off - through the Corrywreckan
We sailed from Barcaldine, Loch Creran, to Carrera, Oban in cloudy weather. Did a load of shopping and went on to Ardfern. Had to wait for some stuff, but as soon as we were sorted, we sailed out with the evening tide and overnighted in "Bagh Gleann Nam Muc" (also known as the Bay of pigs and made famous in Bjørn Larsson: The Celtic Ring) on the southern side of the infamous Corrywreckan. We time the entance right (near slack water), there was no wind and no swell, so it was quiet like a mill pond. The Corrywreckan have a fearsome reputation because of the strong tidal streams. in adverse weather - wind over tide - and with a swell running, it is said there may be 4 m standing waves and crazy overfalls.
Iona - Staffa and Gometra habour
Next day we sailed out and passed Iona with its impressive cathedral. We saw that last year so passed it and at Staffa the swell and the waves were such, that Haakon did not want to take the dinghy in. I don't blame him. The water is freezing cold.
We went to a great anchorage Gometra harbour and had a magic evening in this beautiful place, in beautiful weather.
Unfortunately we discovered the windlass had chewed up the rope/chain Fleming (yeah, I never knew that either). So it was back to Ardfern to have it fixed.
Staffa and Fingals cave
On the way it was perfect to stop by Staffa, so Haakon went in and I tried singlehandling, sailing back and forth the cave, so Haakon could film it from within. I put Mendelsohns "Overture to the hebrides" to the video and will upload it to Youtube.
We had ample time, as we didn't want to arrive too early at the Corrywreckan, for our 2. trip through (this year).
Had a leisurely sail (not very much wind though) and sailed through a possitively placid Corrywreckan (slack - slight ebb going.
Saw two dolphins :-D
Saturday, we went for a lovely walk from Ardfern to Craobh marina. Rhododendrons everywhere. was later told that they're quite invasive. I can believe that. Whole hillsides full of them. Small forrests of them, that we walked through. Lots of other beautiful flowers though - and great views of the sea. I never tire of that.
In Ardfern we got the windlass sorted. Bought new 10 mm chain and a new handheld VHF with DSC (a safety issue). Lots of time for walks though.
One walk all the way out to craignish point. Beautiful view over Dorus Mor and Corrywreckan.
Finally we left after a busy day to get ready. Sailed in rain drizzle, with a good tide, all the way up to Loch Aline, where we anchored for the night - then continued to Tobermory in the morning. Time to do laundry and do shopping - who knows when we'll be in a marina again.
Sailed to Loch Aline, where we spent the night on a buoy, as it was hard to get good holding and we were only overnighting. A shame, though. As there is this fabulous restaurant here: "The Whitehouse" where we once had an excellent meal (in excellent company).
Then on to Tobermory, where we stocked up good and did laundry. All ready to go.
Drizling rain - hazy.
We rounded Ardnamurchan Point (we still have the heather in our pulpit, from last year) after a long slog to windward, against waves and the last of the tide against.
Then it was beautiful half wind sailing (beam reach), past Muck, Eigg and Mallaig, all the way to isle Ornsay, where we lay on a buoy by Duisdale Hotel. Walked into Isle ornsay and stocked up on Gaelic Whisky.
Isle ornsay to Plockton
Again, we had to time the tide right, going through Kyle rhea and Loch Alsh, to pass under the Bridge to Skye, to go to Plockton. A fresh wind today. real nice sailing, though some of it was tacking. At first we entered the wrong litle bay. Didn't look at all very delightful (as we've been told Plockton is) and very windy and open. Plus lots of rocks and low water.
Finally, we realised our mistake and went to Plockton, were we found a buoy (there's more bouys than advertised and hardly any room to anchor). The sun came out after a nights rain and Plockton really was as delightful as everone had told us.
Plockton - Rona
Fantastic nice sailing. Perfect wind - primarily on the beam and aft of the beam. Perfect natural anchorage. Anchored up far inside on the East side. Idyllic and peaceful - saw two red deer on the hillside.
And funny black and white birds with red beaks, flying noisily in formation across the bay. Lovely evening.
Early up and ashore. Walked over to the Cave church. Luckily well marked, though it was tough going and I did
get a wet sock. The last descent to the cave was by rope down a steep hillside. I kept thinking of the book: "It's not easy, but grannies used to do it". And I bet that rope wasn't there when "Grannies used to do it".
What a beautiful church. Neat rows of nice square rocks to sit on. The baptimal font was a sort of natural well - ferns all around it. A cross made by stones on the cave floor.
Rona - Stein
Blustery sail in full sun - wind from behind. Past "the Old man of Storr", across the northermost tip of Skye, inside Eilean Trodday. High basalt cliffs - topped by soft rounded grass fields. Beautiful view all the way to the Shiant Islands.
Had planned to stop at Ardmore point, just around the Vaternish peninsula point. But the wind had freshened considerably and it was no place to anchor. Had really wanted to see the runined Trumpan chappel, but instead we caught a buoy at Stein. Not that sheltered, so we got up and left early.
Stein - Loch Shell
Sailed close hauled on a nice wind - a bit cold though - on a quite Little Minch. The book warned about dangerous overfalls in the Shiant Sound, and while they weren't dangerous, we did have an uncomfortable vind over tide sail through it - though not for that long. Found a nice, sheltered bay: Tob Lemreway and spent the night at anchor.
Loch Shell - Stornoway
Full sun and clear blue skye. What a glorious sail. Beautiful view of the Shiants - wondering if we should take the long way around them.
Decided against it and went into Stornoway, where we lay alongside as boat number 2 against the hight pier. It was going to blow a bit - so stayed a few nights in Stornoway.
Took a bus around - first to the Callanish Stones. What an impressive place. BBC was setting up something for a shoot they were doing for midsommer.
Walked from there to Doune broch. Another amazing stonework. Our walk ended up at Gearrannean, a Black House Open Air Museum.
We were stood up by the first bus back after that, so went for a walk around the cliffs and got the next bus back. Spent the next day doing laundry and shopping some more for two weeks of sailing.
Stornoway - Loch Claidh
Thinngarstaigh anchorage Left late in the afternoon. Cloudy with sunlight streaming through at times. Close hauled quick sail. Thinngarstaigh anchorage in Loch Claidh was completely sheltered - like a forrest lake. 8 - 10 seals watched lazily, as we laid anchor. Beautiful evening.
Loch Claidh - Loch Rodel - Poll an Tigh Mhail
Couldn't avoid vind over tide in the Shiant Strait - even if we were close to slack water. and a bit lumpy around the headlands. Reached Loch Rodel a litle early. Too early to try the Bay Channel entrabce to Poll an Tigh Mhail (one can only eanter and leave close to high water). So we spent nearly an hour drifting by outside. Easily drifting one way, working against vind and tide the other way. Finally we entered. But not before another boat breezed into the loch and took a beeline to the entrance to enter just in front of us. Luckily two of the three buoys were vacant. Had a really nice meal at Loch Rodel Hotel.
Loch Rodel - Eriskay
Beautiful sunny morning. Not much of a wind, but enough at the start for a leisurely sail. Later the sea became like a mirror and we had to start the engine.
Decided to go all the way to Eriskey Sound, to see if we could see the wreck of the infamous SS Politician (of Whisky Galore fame), which is supposedly possible to see in quiet weather at low tide. However, when we got there, the tide was running and a bit of wind. Went back and forth over the spot of the wreck and we're pretty sure we caught the shaddow of the wreck on the GoPro, held down 1,5 m under water on the boathook .
A gale was forecast, so we decided to stay in the extremely well sheltered Arcaidsaid Mhor - a perfect natural harbour. The anchor got a great grip and the second night, when it was going to blow a force 8, we even got a buoy. Beautiful Island. Just gorgeous.Fantastic white beaches and turquise waters. Walked over to the famous Am Politician inn to see their bottles from the wreck. One was claimed to have the original contents, but that it was contaminated with lead from the original closing, and therefore undrinkable. Two other bottles had been found empty, and they had put whisky in those. On the wall were pictures from the salvaging and of the 10 Shilling Jamaican notes, also found in the wreck.
Also had to see St Michaels church with the bow of a boat, supporting the altar. This to pay homage to the fishermen, who had given up a days catch to finance the building of the church.
The beach is the Coilleag a' Phrionnsa, famous for being the beach where Bonnie prince Charlie landed from France in 1745 for the second Jacobite rising.
Took the ferry to Barra and walked out to Barra airport, which is famously located on a beach, to meet Peter, who is joining us for a week. Unfortunately, there was a bit of a mist when the tiny plane landed just before low water. The plane schedule is syncronised with the tide, as the beach/landing runway is awash at high tide. The claim it is the cleanest airport in the world, as the runway gets washed twice a day ;-)
As there was 3 hours till the next ferry back, we took a taxi into Castlebay. The taxidriver was a real character. Telling us lots of stories and being a veritable tourguide. We had another couple in the cab as well, so it was quite full. He had one of those tubes in the throat, that he was breathing through and sometimes he had a hard time talking. But that only stopped him for seconds.
Had a lovely lunch in Kishmuls Cafe and quickly saw the sights of Castlebay. We'll be back later, by boat.