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Archive of entries posted on July 2012

Plockton & Portree

In Crowlin Anchorage

In Crowlin Anchorage

The Quiraing from Bioda Buidhe

The Quiraing from Bioda Buidhe

On a quiet afternoon we went through the Strome Narrows and in to upper Loch Carron with two objectives – to see the dolphins and climb a couple of hills – but succeeded in neither. The dolphins which entertained us so well on our last visit did not show up this time, and the approach to the hills from that side would have involved slogging up through deep, dense and wet bracken without adequate outerwear. We retreated and went over to the Crowlin Islands to spend the night in the beautifully sheltered narrow anchorage between the islands. We then continued across to Skye, meeting a large group of dolphins off Raasay. They played round the bow and criss-crossed below us for a time, then were suddenly gone but remained visible in small numbers throughout the Sound. We moored up in Portree as a base for a few days, and Arctica will now remain there for a week while the Mate visits London and the Skipper bags a few more hills.

Carbost & Mallaig

Cuillins from Carbost

Cuillins from Carbost

Sunset - Carbost

Sunset – Carbost

Pontoons at Mallaig

Pontoons at Mallaig

We found that there is a bus service at Carbost, despite information to the contrary on the Stagecoach website, so the Mate was able to take local walks and a trip to Portree while the Skipper was on the hills. A group of other yachts came in, all flying their large Malts Cruise flag, and looked well against the colourful sunset. A fine morning saw us starting early out of Loch Harport, down the Skye coast then across to the Point of Sleat and Mallaig, where we wanted to sample the new pontoons. Verdict – too expensive, no toilets or showers (yet! – but we’ve heard that line before), and exposed to swell from the north. We spent a bumpy night alongside, but then were offered a discount on the normal rate. We motored north into the persistent wind from that direction, timing our arrival at the Kylerhea narrows to catch the young flood tide. Continuing through Loch Alsh and under the Skye Bridge, we made for Plockton, where Seol na Mara was resting at anchor out in the bay. It was the Sailing Club Gala Day with much activity in the village, including a visit from the Kyle Lifeboat.

West Skye

Approaching Neist Point

Approaching Neist Point

Macleod's Maidens, off Idrigill Point

Macleod’s Maidens, off Idrigill Point

An early rise saw the Skipper off up Ben Geary before 0800, but at that hour the morning mist still clung to the summit, obscuring what should have been a fine view. Back at the boat and stowing away the oars, the temporary hitch on the dinghy painter proved to be just that, and the dinghy took off out to sea in the strong breeze. We had a lot of chain out but raised the anchor as fast as we could, by which time the dinghy was half a mile out and no longer visible – but it was recovered without difficulty. After that sudden start we continued round to Dunvegan where we moored in good shelter. The afternoon was clear and sunny, allowing another hill to be ‘ticked off’. We sat out two days of N5-7 then left in moderate conditions, enjoying a good sail south round Neist Point (with its lighthouse) and Idrigill Point (with Macleod’s Maidens) and into NW Loch Bracadale, anchoring overnight in Loch Bharcasaig. We are now at Carbost, Loch Harport, where there is Talisker Distillery, pub, PO and shop but sadly no bus service during school holidays. Time to get out the bikes?

Scalpay to Skye

Scalpay Sunset

Scalpay Sunset

We spent a night in Scalpay North Harbour – the beautiful still evening giving a lilac sunset. Today we crossed the Minch to Loch Bay, Skye, running into a thick fog which obscured everything until thinning just before our landfall. The wind suddenly died so we fished briefly, the Mate catching mackerel to try out her new fish smoker. The wind rose again as we anchored in Ardmore Bay and was soon blowing F6 gusting 7 but from a safe NE direction, and the sun shone. It has now been blowing for seven hours so our anchor is well dug in. We judged it unwise to venture ashore in the dinghy, so have been catching up on our reading.

Meeting Friends

Grey Seals

Grey Seals

Thrift

Thrift

Back in Lochinver, we had a visit for a couple of days from Euan &  Morag and Jim & Linda.  As ever, it was a great reunion with much  merriment. A powercut following a fierce thunderstorm thwarted plans  for dinner at the Mission, but we found that the Pie Shop & Restaurant  had a gas grill and could serve us delicious steaks. After crossing  the Minch to Stornoway we met up with Ken & Isabel, and found that we  had just missed John & Helen on their boat by a day. After a quiet  Sunday – Lewis is closed on the Sabbath! – the bus pass was flashed  for a trip to climb the final Marilyn of the Outer Hebrides (excepting  St Kilda’s stacks, which are a different kettle of fish). In the  evening Peter and Angus came in on Seol na Mara, so we played a few  tunes together after dinner. The pontoons are full as the intended  marina extension has not materialised, although the necessary harbour  dredging has been done – maybe next year?? At least diesel is  available again from the pier, unlike on our last visit.