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Archive of entries posted on July 2008

Its a Drag!…

Its a Drag!… | Click photo to enlarge

Originally uploaded by arctica

……but not if our anchor had been this size! With the intention of
starting an anticlockwise sail round Mull we anchored in Loch Aline, but
sat out the next day in really dreich conditions. That night the wind
shifted right round and blew up strongly, and at 0245 we were wakened by
a horn sounding and searchlight flashing – a nearby yacht had seen that
we had started to drag into the shallows. In darkness, we got the anchor
up and motored out to re-anchor in good holding. The Mate sat up on
anchor watch until daylight, while the Skipper got his head down again.
The morning saw a steady force 6 and breaking waves charging up the
Sound of Mull, so plans were quickly changed and we ran with the weather
back up to Duart Point and down into Loch Spelve. Today we crossed back
from Mull, down through Cuan Sound to Loch Shuna, and into Craobh Haven
where laundrette, showers, shop, chandlery, fuel and water are all to
hand. Everything is fine except the weather, which is showery – where
have the sunny days of May and June gone?

Around Oban and Mull

Around Oban and Mull | Click photo to enlarge

Originally uploaded by arctica

We met more and more yachts as we passed through the Sound of Mull
again, with the holiday season now in full swing. Picking up a mooring
at Craignure, the ferry port for Mull, we went ashore in hot sunshine
for a walk to Torosay Castle, with its mile of miniature steam railway
(photo). During the evening the northerly breeze, to which we were
exposed, freshened making the anchorage uncomfortable, so we made a late
move across to Bernera, off the west coast of Lismore, which was
sheltered. With Dunstaffnage Marina full for the weekend with Classic
Malt Cruisers we had to use Oban to pick up Pat and Stan for the
weekend, but managed to secure a mooring close inshore off the esplanade
- handy for the short transfer from the slipway. With a Force 6 on the
nose on Saturday we abandoned the planned visit to Tobermory (the first
for Pat and Stan) after going as far as Craignure, then turned about for
a comfortable sail down to Loch Spelve, where we spent the rest of the
day. On Sunday we sailed over to Puilladobhrain for a short stay, then
up through the Sound of Kerrera back to Oban for a late lunch and
farewell to Pat and Stan. Then off again to Loch Aline, where we arrived
as a dreich drizzle set in for the rest of the evening.

Good Sailing

Good Sailing | Click photo to enlarge

Originally uploaded by arctica

On leaving the Crowlin anchorage we set full sail in a light breeze, but
it suddenly blew up to a near gale, forcing us to double reef for an
exhilarating sail down to the Skye Bridge. From there it was
motorsailing against a light southerly through Kylerhea and down to Loch
Nevis, where we anchored at Glas Choille. The same weather pattern was
repeated next day, giving us a superb broad reach right across to Loch
Scresort, Rum where we had the bay to ourselves. We visited Stroma and
David at their flat in Kinloch Castle with irrepressible two year old
son, new baby daughter and visiting grannie, Irene. The castle, now run
by Scottish Natural Heritage as a hostel, bistro and bar, is almost
entirely in its century old original condition with resplendent
Victorian contents – including fully working automatic ‘orchestrium’,
built-in with beautiful brass, chrome, carpentry and mechanical
linkages. It was commissioned by Queen Victoria but never installed
after her death, allowing Lord Bullough to acquire it.

Lewis to Skye

Lewis to Skye | Click photo to enlarge

Originally uploaded by arctica

After saying farewell to Stornoway, we sat out 36 hours of strong
southerlies at Lemrevay, Loch Shell and had to motor the anchor out as
it was so well dug in. After a night at Scalpay North Harbour we crossed
the Minch in a flat calm to Acarseid Mor on Rona, a popular anchorage
which we shared with three other yachts – that is crowded by our
standards! Then to Portree where we waited at the pier for two hours for
diesel as, due to staff shortage, one harbourmaster is covering both Uig
and Portree. The next day the Mate bussed round the Totternish peninsula
while the Skipper climbed a couple of the Red Cuillins. We moved on in
the evening to the Crowlin Islands where we were fortunate to meet
Seanachan and Ilona on Sonas, and had a drink and a blether with them.
It was a beautiful evening and the photo was taken after 11pm.

Sailing Again

Sailing Again | Click photo to enlarge

Originally uploaded by arctica

Our travels in Arctica have resumed after some ten days at home. With
hindsight, we timed the trip perfectly – at the end of the long spell of
very fine weather. Highlight of the break was an outing in Seol na Mara
with Peter, Iain and Barbara to view the classic yachts mustered on the
Clyde for the Fife Regatta (yacht designer, not county). We were at the
start as these beautiful craft with enormous sail plans set off to race
from Rhu to Rothesay – a truly spectacular sight. Then Barbara cooked up
not only fresh scones – her specialty – but also strawberry jam to go
with them! It was a wonderful day out in great company. The following
day Iain and the Skipper bussed to Glencoe and climbed a couple of
Grahams (2000ft hills) getting soaked to the skin in the process.
Luckily catching a bus immediately on descent to Ballachulish, we
changed into dry clothes at the back of the bus, which was fortunately
far from busy.
On our return to Stornoway (where the Lewis Chessman lives) we were
amazed to see a Great Northern Diver swimming in the Harbour, not 20
metres from the pontoon.