07 May 2012 | Arisaig, Sound of Arisaig, 56’54.44N 05’51.36W - Loch Harport, Isle of Skye via Rum, 57’18.12N, 06’21.01W
Its funny how things have changed in such a short amount of time. In times past we would have gone to a fishmongers for seafood, now we go to the shoreline; we used to just download maps of the internet to find out where to go, now we beg and borrow charts from unusual places; we used to go where we were told or needed to, now we literally go where the wind blows us; we used to turn up the heating if we were cold, now we put on more clothes and simply laugh it away. Life is good on Ruffian and we are coming to appreciate both the things we have now and the things we had then.
When we left Southampton all those weeks ago the port of Arisaig marked our most northerly goal. Once here we would simply start heading south and exploring the places we missed on our way up. We therefore wanted to make the most of our time at Arisaig; the sun was shining and the tide was out, so off we went off in Thug for a mammoth dingy safari and a shoreline scavenge around the rocks and skerries that we avoided on our way in.
The skerries off Arisaig are amazing, it feels like you are on the moon when you get off your dingy, with rocks and beaches that are only uncovered for a couple of hours a day and which have hardly felt the touch of man. Only this is a moon where there is seafood everywhere, we picked up clams, muscles, scallops and oysters at every turn. What was the food of kings was literally being handed to us on a plate. We took just what we needed and no more and headed home, once we'd managed to relocate Thug as we'd lost him in the myriad of inlets and only after the tide had started to flood.
Whilst out in the islands we spied a very brave yacht expertly navigating through the shallows and making an early entrance into the harbour. The camera clicked away as we felt this bravery deserved some recognition. When we returned just next to Ruffian, was a local boat called 'Cluaran Dubh', over we went and introduced ourselves and told our story. This was going to be another remarkable Arisaig meeting. As we outlined that this was our most northing and we had no more charts, Euan, simply offered to loan us his that he'd not be using for a couple of weeks. It is this sort of unwanting generosity that we are finding abound in Scotland and is quickly returning our faith in humanity. Many thanks Euan and Julia for your advice, trust and generosity.
Now loaded with both seafood and charts we had decisions to make, how to cook our seafood and where to go. Neither were easy decisions but both were to be excellent in the results. The seafood went into tremendous paella and the charts are enabling us to visit Rum, then maybe Skye or Canna and with a push maybe even some on the outer isles if we are brave enough and have the right weather.
Off to Rum it was then. Rum had been recommended by Both Isobel and John as a good anchorage and with an amazing house. The anchoring was indeed amazing, good holding and deserted, the house however was in the middle of a much needed refurbishment. We are sure in it's heyday, with live turtles and crocodiles in heated tanks and birds of paradise and humming birds flying around it would have been a sight to behold. It is a monument to Edwardian opulence with all the stone, workers and even the soil transported from the mainland.
Our time on Rum has had to be short as the forecast for the following day was for light rain followed by heavy rain with an easterly wind. With the new charts we had choices galore and opted to go further north seeking shelter in Skye, or more specifically a distillery with shelter in Skye.
An early start ensued and we wrapped up warm, but things are clearly warming up underwater as we were joined by a school of Dolphins jumping and playing in our bow wave, our first sighting of Common Dolphins since the Celtic Sea. Things slowly warmed up on deck as layer upon layer was peeled off as the warm sun thawed us out. We do have the luck of old Harry on Ruffian as at one point there was rain over the mainland, rain over Rum, rain over Canna and Rain over Skye whilst we basked in the sunshine on Ruffian yet again.
Euan & Julia coming into Arisaig through the rocks. Many thanks for the charts, trust and generosity.
The moonscape of the outer islands at Arisaig.
Fiona steaming the clams and muscles. Pink job.
Whilst Iain dispatches the scallops. Blue job.
Sailing in the sun towards Rum.
Princess Fiona at the entrance to her castle. Does that make Iain shrek?
The height of Edwardian opulence.
An early start on Riffian. Beats the 5.15 to Waterloo.
Happy, dry, non windy weather spotted on board Ruffian. NOT.
Dolpins at 11 o'clock, and 10 and 9 and 4. They're everywhere.
Porridge is the answer after you've been chilled to your bones.