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Archive of entries posted on August 2010

Final Hill and Home

Ardmaleish Point & Toward Point

Ardmaleish Point & Toward Point

The last island to be visited was Bute. Arctica anchored close to Ardmaleish Point at the foot of Windy Hill, the highest spot on Bute, but a mere 900 ft. It gave a good short outing on a fabulous day with none of the lower ground problems experienced on the Arran Marilyns – thick bracken, tangled brambles, acres of conifer forest, deep tussocks and dense heather. And after all that the higher ground is particularly boggy! Its just as well the main Arran hills are not so hard of access. The last night of the trip was spent at the Holy Loch Marina, much improved and extended over the few years since the last visit. The morning was spent taking off sails, removing boom, kicker and running rigging, slacking off standing rigging and generally preparing for lift-out before motoring the final stretch up river to Dumbarton. Within an hour of arrival the mast was off and Arctica was chocked up ashore. Suddenly it was all over for another season, but we had visited 54 anchorages and climbed 52 Marilyns.

O Skipper Where Art Thou?

Janice had come all the way from London and wanted to see the skipper. We found Arctica and her tender but couldn’t find the skipper who was on the hill without his phone! The Pierhead Tavern provided the best view of the route to the dinghy so we just had some scampi while we waited. Because we were very concerned about the skipper’s well-being, Janice felt that a bottle of delicious Sauvignon Blanc would help us to keep calm. When he eventually appeared, we bought him a pint shandy to revive him – he didn’t have any money! Just as well we were there…

Damsels in Distress – Snakes Alive!!

Ailsa Craig from Mullach Mor, Holy Isle

Ailsa Craig from Mullach Mor, Holy Isle

Adder

Adder

Anchoring off the Holy Isle, Arran the Skipper climbed Mullach Mor, its fine little peak. Views from the summit are excellent, with Ailsa Craig prominent to the south. A mooring in Lamlash Bay gave good shelter from strong north-westerlies over the next couple of days. Returning from an exhausting nine hour day on the hill and roads, the Skipper was amazed to find the Mate and Janice waiting at the pierhead. They had made a day trip to Arran, and managed to while away a few hours eating and drinking in the pub until the Skipper’s late-ish return. They had to leave soon after for the ferry back from Brodick, but were back a few hours later having just missed the last ferry – through a combination of a bus not turning up and the ferry leaving early. However, they spent a comfortable night aboard and caught the Sunday morning ferry instead. Adders are rarely seen – the vibrations from approaching footsteps send them slithering for cover – but this one was captured on camera. It is one of only half a dozen sightings over many hundreds of outings on the hills.

Jura & Islay

Ardbeg Distillery, Islay

Ardbeg Distillery, Islay

Good weather returned for our second visit of the season to these islands. We had a good breeze down the Sound of Jura to Craighouse, where we had a good bar meal at the Isle of Jura Hotel. We went through the snaking channel of the Ardmore Islands on our way down to Port Ellen on Islay. On a glorious summer afternoon we walked to Ardbeg and back – a stretch with four distilleries in three miles (Port Ellen, Laphraoig, Lagavulin & Ardbeg). As our Irish friend Anthony remarked ” there are seven distilleries on Islay and I’ve had a drink in all ten of them”! We were a bit early in leaving to round the Mull of Kintyre thanks to conflicting advice from the Yachtsman’s Pilot and the Tidal Atlas – we’ll be relying on the latter in future. Despite losing time to some adverse tide we were in Campbeltown at dusk. There the Mate left by bus for Glasgow, leaving the Skipper with a few days to take the boat back to Dumbarton to finish the season’s cruising.

Position Report – Campbeltown

Arrived 2030 Thu 26/08/10

Position Report – Port Ellen, Islay

Arrived 1140 Wed 25/08/10

Position Report – Craighouse, Jura

Arrived 1310 Tue 24/08/10

Oban and Southwards

Scarba, Luing, Garvellochs and Mull from Cruach na Seilcheig

Scarba, Luing, Garvellochs and Mull from Cruach na Seilcheig

Despite the strong breeze it was quite warm, and we enjoyed sunshine on a walk across Kerrera to the Oitir Mor. Passing through the farmyard on the way, we were enchanted by two litters of a dozen piglets running round the yard – one set brown with dark spots, the other pink. We regretted not having a camera with us. The other inhabitants of the yard were a pony, goats, ducks and ducklings, hens, guinea fowl and a few collie dogs. Out on the open ground were highland cattle and blackface sheep. The dire weather warning was not matched by the actual weather – the most we recorded were force 8 gusts – and it remained dry and sunny. From Oban we went down through the Cuan Sound to Loch Melfort, which was a new anchorage for us, and arrived just before the rain started. However, it cleared up in mid afternoon giving the opportunity to bag another wee hill. Today it rained steadily until we left on the tide for Loch Craignish, where we dropped anchor at teatime off Eilean nan Gabhar (Goat Island).

Position Report – Kilmelford

Arrived 1150 Sun 22/08/10

Mixed Weather

L Spelve from Sgurr Dearg

L Spelve from Sgurr Dearg

With mist low over the hills, plans for climbing were abandoned and we made the short trip down the Mull coast to Bunessan. Frequent showers continued for the rest of the day so we remained aboard. The next day started similarly but in a short time the front passed over, bringing excellent sailing conditions – a W breeze, bright sunshine and a clear blue sky. We went down the Sound of Iona, through by the Tinker’s Hole and along the south of Mull, admiring the coastal scenery. We anchored in Loch Spelve, intending to climb Sgurr Dearg, but the next day brought morning mist and rain again so we made for Oban instead, where we got provisions, diesel and water before continuing down to Puilladobhrain for the night. With the weather fair again we returned to Loch Spelve, where the Skipper took to the hill, the Mate to Tobermory. The evening forecast suggested, and the following morning forecast confirmed, the approach of nasty weather from the Atlantic – wind SW 5-7 increasing gale 8 to storm 10, occasionally violent storm 11 (near Ardnamurchan), so we have returned to Oban and a safe berth in the marina while we await developments.