Contrast. That's the control on your TV that makes the very so made up presenters look like something out of a 1970's sit com if you turn it up too much, alternatively it's the difference between Loch Aline, where we started, Tobermory, where we stopped and Loch Na Droma Budha, or more easily remembered, Loch Drambuie, where we finished proceedings and stopped for a couple of days.
In our time in Loch Aline we managed to see all of 2 people, the chef in the White House Restaurant, and the shopkeeper. Heaving it was not, idyllic and ideal for our needs it was. This was an unreal contrast to what we found in Tobermory, of Balamory (kiddies TV program apparently) fame. Tobermory had its annual music festival on and had 1000's of people on every street and in every pub. The music sounded great but unfortunately the festival seems to have been renamed by the locals to 'Lets get bladdered on the street and shout and fight with people." Surprisingly we decided not to join in with the shouting and fighting and made haste around the corner to Loch Drambuie.
In Loch Drambuie we found a huge anchorage with only one other boat in, high hills to every side and an entrance that happened to line up with the setting sun. The company of the yacht was a nice addition, not because of the socialising, but because they had unsecured mobile wireless internet that we unwittingly managed to 'use' to download weather and surf the web on. The hills provided good walking and the setting sun every evening gave a nice backdrop for the sundowners that we have been craving for the past 2 months and 1000 miles at sea.
It's not all sun sun sun up here in Scotland. We have now actually seen a whole day of rain since we arrived, ½ a day in Puilladobhrain, and now ½ a day in Loch Drambuie. Instead of our usual activities of hill walking and dinghy safaris, which would come later, we opted for a duvet morning which has been marineified (if there is such a word), to a musto middle layer snug day. We have heard that it is so wet 'down south' that people are going brown not through the sun but because they are going rusty (thanks Chris/Dad), we know how you feel with our ½ day. Once the rain passed we were greeted with empty blue skies and views from ahigh all the way over to Coll and Tiree in the west and Skye in the north.
We have tentative plans, assuming that the weather is good, to walk down memory lane for Fiona by visiting her old holiday home 30 miles around the peninsula at Ard Nan Buth. The only issue with getting a detailed weather forecast, is that we'll be spending the evening walking for an hour to the top of the nearest hill where we should be able to have some phone reception to download it. This isn't too much of a chore however as the sun is still shining and we should find another amazing sunset over the Scottish Isles. Now where's that bottle of wine to take with us?
A supersonically soft sail from Loch Aline to Tobermory.
Tobermory. Pretty from afar.
Can you spot ruffian down there somewhere.
Images of Barbuda.
Larry decides it just too hot and sunny up here and thinks it's a good idea to go for a swim.
Iain then has to carry the damp llama home. BAD larry.
The office furniture is somewhat lacking but the view is amazing.
Ruffian quietly falling asleep.
The letter 'e' is the fifth in the alphabet and is considered by many as one of the most important letters in the English Language. It is particularly important as it can make an enormous difference to certain words, add the letter 'e' to, slim, which is good, and you get slime which is better, add it to wins, which is good and you get wines, which is better. In our case if you add it to haven, which is good and which Loch Aline was initially, you get, heaven, which is better and which Lock Aline turned out to be.
After 36 hours swinging on our trusty hook, in 25 knots of wind, we were feeling somewhat boatlocked and it was a relief, when we got to shore, to be able to walk more than 10 meters around the boat and go off to find the local populace. Once we arrived at the village the locals couldn't have been more helpful. The chaps on the ferry not only agreed to take our waste oil, they positively wanted it; the chef in the local restaurant wasn't happy with us only having a coffee, but felt that it was imperative that we sample some of his chocolate torte followed by squat lobsters for afters. The torte and lobster was so amazing that we decided that we'd push the boat and visit them for an early supper the next day.
The next day, knowing that we had a big early supper awaiting us at 4 pm we felt it was important to walk off the calories before they got to us. This did however require rather a large amount of planning, we had to take posh clothes (read shorts for Iain) for dining in, our washing as the local store could launder them, the engine oil as the ferry would dispose of it and our oilies and boots as it was now windy again. A real mean feat in our little tender. So off we went for a walk, over the hills to a landlocked loch. What we found was a loch with a white sandy beach. Truly breathtaking and a real surprise as this 'beach' was not mentioned anywhere. As Iain has been searching for a sandy beach, this was the only excuse he needed to head into the surf.
The seasons are starting to pass and we seem to be coming wholeheartedly into summer now. Not only have we spied swallows and butterflies but we have seem more animated signs. Rams have been fighting in the fields and we were lucky enough yesterday to see a heard a deer with a magnificent stag at it's head.
After a route march back to the village we finally arrived at the Whitehouse Restaurant. This is apparently one of Hugh Fernly Whittingstalls favourite places to eat and we can understand why. The Sea Witch that Fiona chose and the Seafood Stew that Iain opted for were simply to die for. The only way that their flavours could have been surpassed would have been if we'd caught the fish ourselves and we all know how proficient we are on Ruffian at that. Not. We're not saying that eating on Ruffian has not been good, but this was the most amazing food we have had in a very very long time and all without planning in advance. We ended up chatting to the Chef quite extensively and we found out that we are the only people to have ever eaten there whilst their washing was done next door and needed an intercourse interlude to put it in the washing in the drier.
On a side note, we have become big fans of boiled eggs and soldiers on Ruffian and after following Delia's detailed instructions, have got their cooking down to a tee. Now the cooking and eating is all very easy, it's the egg shell disposal where we need your thoughts. Everyday Iain feels the need to crush the shells to a pulp whilst reciting "Die witch.Die." He has explained to Fiona that this is so that witches do not move in as eggs shells make perfect witches houses. This Fiona feels is rather bizarre behaviour (but pretty normal for Iain) and would like confirmation that either iain is as mad as a box of badgers or that he is saving her from living on a boat infested by little witches living in egg shells. Thoughts anyone?
As usual for Ruffian in Scotland the sun shines and there is little rain so the adventure continues in the days to follow.
It's amazing what you find whilst walking and amazing that we'd trust things like this.
All loaded ready for a nice supper with laundry and oil.
Just before the beach and the loch.
The sandy beach on a loch!!!!!_
Wow. Simply amazing food.
Isobel. This is for you. Kelpie does come in bottles.
Larry didn't realise that Llama would be on the menu in a seafood restaurant.
Ruffian, at anchor, in the sun, in Scotland.