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Archive of entries posted on August 2007

Rum to Oban




Rum to Oban

Originally uploaded by arctica

At Rum, we had hoped to see David and Stroma (and young Jamie) who are
the island managers for Scottish Natural Heritage, but they were away on
holiday. We walked in to the centre of the island but did not have time
for the extra six miles required for a visit to the old village of
Kilmory. Kinloch Castle, at the head of Loch Scresort, built at the turn
of the century by Sir George Bullough, whose father made the family
fortune designing milling machinery, is an extravagant monument to
Edwardian opulence. Turtles and alligators were kept in heated tanks, a
pure white Arab stallion was imported to improve the stock of native
ponies, and two Albion cars were used to transport guests. Today, in
faded grandeur, it provides B&B and hostel accommodation and hosts a few
weddings. We had a grand sail from Rum down to Ardnamurchan point and up
the Sound of Mull to Loch Aline – wind and tide with us all the way. Now
in Oban, we will restock and prepare for guests joining us for the weekend.

Skye




Skye

Originally uploaded by arctica

For the trip down to Portree we had a glassy calm sea – ideal for
spotting cetaceans – and we saw porpoises and dolphins but no whales.
Showers rolled round and over the mainland hills but, despite the skies
greying over, we reached Portree before the rain started. The next
morning we sailed with the tide down to Kyleakin, berthing for the
afternoon at the visitors’ pontoon. Again, the rain started just after
our arrival but later we were able to get a short walk ashore. When the
tide turned in our favour again we passed down through Kyle Rhea to Isle
Ornsay, and anchored in time for a meal before the light faded. Strong
winds overnight and all the following day saw us (and a few other
yachts) waiting for better conditions – which did arrive today. A light
southerly breeze has us motorsailing down the Sound of Sleat, making for
Loch Scresort, Rum.

The North West




The North West

Originally uploaded by arctica

It was a day for seeing hills as we moved south – Quinag, Suilven,
Coigach hills, Inverlael group, Fannichs, An Teallach and the Carnmore
hills, including a’Mhaighdean the remotest of the Munros. Reminders of
how little exercise is taken on an extended cruise. Mist rolled on and
off the hills, but it was clear at sea except during a single short,
sharp downpour. The afternoon brightened and we entered Loch Ewe -
always a disappointment seen from landward but much more attractive from
seaward. The loch was an assembly area for Atlantic convoys during the
war, and numerous concrete gun emplacements still stand today. Aultbea
is still a NATO fuel depot. The photo shows the peaks of An Teallach
behind the Coastguard vessel at anchor off the Isle of Ewe.

Orkney and South




Orkney and South

Originally uploaded by arctica

Due to adverse weather, we lay over in Kirkwall for three days after
seeing Fin And J (photo) off on their return journey to London. Strong
westerlies prevailed – with white horses even inside the inner harbour!
At the first opportunity we moved round to Stromness, then made the long
crossing south-west round Cape Wrath. It was a good passage in fine
weather – rough only for a mile or so as the tide turned against us
short of the Cape Wrath Light. Once round, the wind died and we motored
through a still evening to the anchorage in Loch a’Chad-Fi, off Loch
Laxford. This is where John Ridgway has his adventure school, and his
ocean-going yacht was hauled out on the slipway, and well tethered down.
At present we are southbound on the West Coast, having just passed the
bird reserve isle of Handa.

Fair Isle – again




Fair Isle – again

Originally uploaded by arctica

After visiting Balta Sound (Unst), Vidlin and the anchorage at
Lingness we returned to Lerwick where Mike and Anne left and Fin and J
joined us. The temporary loss of J’s baggage on the flight from London
and near gale force northerlies kept us there for three days, but at
last we got away for Fair Isle. We enjoyed beautiful weather on our
day there – the skipper walking right round the coast, and Fin and J
covering much of the island on photo-shoot. It’s one of these
once-seen-never-forgotten places. The sail down to Orkney took much
longer than usual due to adverse winds and tide, so we missed the
flood tide through the sounds to Kirkwall – running into strong tidal
‘roosts’ which all but stopped progress. We switched to Plan B and and
spent the night tied up at Backaland pier at the south end of Eday,
completing the trip this morning. It is now raining, and with gale
force southerlies forecast for at least the next two days we are happy
to be snug in the marina.