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Archive of posts filed under the Summer Cruise 2007 category.

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.

Out Skerries/Unst




Out Skerries/Unst

Originally uploaded by arctica

With no recent photos taken, here is a playful kitten we met in Fair Isle. At Symbister the day dawned sunny with a N4 wind, tempting us not to linger, but make the 10 mile trip northeast to the Out Skerries. The pier is in a fine natural harbour formed between three small islands, and there we berthed after a sparkling sail from Whalsay. We met another yacht just returned from a trip to the Lofotens and the Arctic Circle, and again with local acquaintance Gibby, who very kindly arranged for us to have a complimentary salmon from the processing plant. On the dreich day following, our only full day of steady rain so far, we moved on to Balta Sound in Unst. Today proved brighter, so we motored round to nearby Haroldswick, where Mike and Anne went ashore to visit the Boat Museum – well worth a visit by anyone. We are now on passage in light airs to Burra Voe at the south of Yell, where there is a snug harbour – the forecast suggests a strong east wind tomorrow.

Lerwick/Whalsay




Lerwick/Whalsay

Originally uploaded by arctica

We motored up from Fair Isle to Shetland on a calm, sunny day and saw no sign of the notorious roost off Sumburgh Head, nor of whales, much to Mike’s disappointment. The anchor was dropped at Mousa, letting Mike and Anne go ashore to to visit the famous Pictish broch, the best preserved in Europe. Evening saw us berthed in the Small Boat Harbour at Lerwick among almost exclusively Scandinavian yachts. The morning dawned with clear skies and bright sunshine, and it became too hot to sit out in the cockpit in comfort – this while parts of England suffered severe flooding. On the way up to Whalsay we saw the North Sea Rescue Helicopter doing repeated drills, retrieving a man from the water. A race among the matched double-ended yoles was just finishing as we reached Symbister, where we met up again with /Iris May II /and her lady skipper, whom we last saw in Wick. The sunset was particularly fine – a fitting end to a grand day.

Fair Isle




Fair Isle

Originally uploaded by arctica

A fresh breeze, moderate sea and occasional sunshine made for a superb
sail from Westray to Fair Isle. The old and new light towers on North Ronaldsay, so prominent against the very low-lying island, seem to take much of the passage to approach, pass and leave astern. Bearing down on Fair Isle, the island basked in sunshine – but there was a sting in the tail. The tide had built a big roost off the entrance to North Haven, with 4 metre seas and breaking crests. It made for an exciting final approach, and a superb contrast to the calm once through the narrow entrance. Fair Isle is high on our list of favourite places and we were fortunate to time our visit for a Thursday, so enjoyed an evening of dinner, slide show and live music at the Bird Observatory.

Stronsay & Westray




Stronsay & Westray

Originally uploaded by arctica

Sailing north from Kirkwall on the ebb, we were increasingly subject to a dying breeze and a building tide. We were gradually swept further west than intended and had to contend with a 5kt tide off Muckle Green Holm (S of Eday). The sea was spectacularly boiling and noisy, and we spent a frustrating length of time in its grip before breaking free and resuming course for Stronsay. Once again we were greeted by the black guillemots which nest in crevices in the stone pier. Next morning, we all went for a cycle run, unfortunately just missing the short visit of the inter-island plane at the airstrip. Later, we took the ebb tide north and west and, with a good wind, had a fine sail to Pierowall, Westray passing through the violent roost (tide race) off Red Point at the N exit from Calf Sound.

Orkney




Orkney

Originally uploaded by arctica

We left Wick in a NW6 gusting 7 and set shortened sail for the passage
to Orkney, making 7.5kts with a little help from the tide. We sailed
thus past the Pentland Firth and up the coast of South Ronaldsay, round Copinsay and into Deer Sound, where we spent the night at anchor off Tankerness Pier. In the morning we sailed north to Stronsay and berthed at Whitehall pier, where we were joined by /Seol na Mara/ with Iain and Barbara aboard. Centre of attraction was this superb replica Bugatti waiting on the pier for the Ro-Ro ferry. Not just wheeled out for rallies and shows, it is the everyday transport of its owner, who keeps it in beautiful condition. We are now in Kirkwall for the arrival of Mike and Anne, who will cruise with us to Fair Isle and Shetland.