We go to bed on Ruffian every day having had the most amazing experiences and thinking, will tomorrow be any better. Each day we then wake up and the day is always better than the previous. The past few days have proved that to us time upon time.
Having journeyed down Fiona's memory lane it was time to up anchor and join the road to adventures new. We made the short journey down the loch to Druimindarroch at the head of the Borrodale islands. En route we marvelled at the scenery which was only enhanced by the majestic architecture at it's feet and most specifically that of Arisaig House.
Having identified and bravely nosed our way into the anchorage at Druimindarroch we found that there was another boat in there. This is a tight anchorage for one at the best of times, but with two boats we would become intimate. Like magic, Sanderling lifted her hook and gave us the anchorage. She stopped and chatted on her way out, where we spoke of our worries of the entrance to Arisaig, our plans and the illusive sandy white beaches we have been hunting.
The usual activities of dinghy safaris and walking in the sun continued as usual but things were about to take quite an extraordinary turn when we made a visit to Arisaig House looking for some internet access. Knocking upon the door we gave the owner quite a fright as they are no longer a hotel in the classic sense of the word. They are more of an exclusive guest house that caters for your every need and whim. Once we explained we were on a boat and just looking for some internet they made us very welcome on their terrace with views of manicured gardens and grazing livestock in the near distance. This is when things were about to change. The owner asked if she could exchange the free wifi for a sail to Arisaig the next day. We, wanting the company, jumped and the opportunity to have Sarah and her daughter Kitty accompany us on the sail to Arisaig. It would be as big a treat for us as it would for them.
So the next day dawned and it was time to make Ruffian ship shape for her important guests. At the allotted time Sarah and Kitty, appeared on the shoreline and Thug was dispatched to pick up our honoured guests. What followed was the most remarkable sail; good entertaining company with the inside track on every sandy beach within miles and remarkable stories of the storms of past and local wildlife. The 15 knots of wind, clear blue skies and fair tide just put the icing on the cake. A truly memorable experience.
The entrance to Arisaig is described in our pilot book as 'One of the most challenging entrances of any anchorage on the West Coast of Scotland' and this is why we spoke of our trepidation the previous day to Sanderling. Who did we then find patiently waiting at the entrance to guide us safely in? None other but Sanderling. We followed in her wake leaving rocks with sharp teeth on either side. We were then enveloped in the safe warm comforting arms of Arisaig harbour with her flat waters and good holding.
The sun, or was it our smell, then got to Sarah, she invited us to come to her home of Arisaig House for the evening. Here we would be able to enjoy the use of some of the luxuries we miss on a boat such as showers and washing machines. Arisaig House is a remarkable property run by some amazing people. We were showed to an exquisite bedroom suite and showered and bathed in opulent surroundings. It's funny some of the things you notice when you haven't had them for such a long time, such as the feeling of bare feet on soft thick carpet, the feeling that freshly laundered towels give you, and how pink your skin can go when the water is that little bit too hot. Freshly laundered and scrubbed our evening continued with a slap up dinner of scallops and fresh fish caught from the foreshore in front of the house. Sarah thank you so much for your hospitality. You will be in our thoughts often.
As the forecast was for strong Northerly winds and our charts only go as far as Arisaig (anther story in the next blog) we felt that it was only prudent to take the train to the white sands of Morar and then walk the 8 miles along the coast back to Arisaig. Fiona had seen the sands and coastline before so knew what to expect, it was all new however to Iain. Again and again, as we rounded each headland, he repeated 'Oh Wow.', 'Look at the colours.', 'Why bother with the Caribbean.', 'Look there's anther perfect beach'. The bays with pure white sandy beaches went on for miles and miles, the colour of the water was everything from a deep translucent turquoise to a sheer sky blue. Our time here was just like a perfect dream, when would we wake up?
The dream was going to come to an end as the walk turned inland. We now had 2 miles of uphill along a hot and deserted road through the Back of Keppoch with no water or food left. Then the only car we saw all day stopped and we happily accepted a lift all the way home, not only to Arisaig, but to the jetty with Ruffian in front of us. The dream had continued just long enough.
Dinghy safaris will continue until we find a white sandy beach.
Fiona finds a white stoney beach. Close but no banana.
The Borrodale Islands in a calm loch.
The morning mist in the Borrodale Islands.
The end of a great sail. Thanks Sarah and Kitty
Arisaig House from the terrace.
And again from the grounds.
We found Bonnie Prince Charlies cave.
Sighted. White sandy beaches.
The beaches are everywhere and we were the only people on them.
They go on for miles and miles and miles.