No Cuff Too Tough.....

Muddling my way around middle age on the sea...

10 June 2024 | Dun Loaghaire Marina
30 December 2023 | Katoomba, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
11 June 2023 | Kerrera Marina
25 September 2022
27 July 2022
30 May 2022 | Horta, Island of Faial, Azores
23 April 2022 | Mediterranean Sea
13 March 2022 | Aguadulce, Andalucía, Spain
31 March 2021 | Perth, Western Australia
30 August 2020 | Ferragudo
02 July 2020 | Valencia, Spain
15 October 2019 | Valencia Marr Marina
22 September 2019 | Calasetta
08 September 2019 | Siracusa Grand Harbour, Sicily
20 August 2019 | Mykonos, Greece
01 June 2019 | Nereus Boatyard, Rhodes, Greece
07 May 2019 | Ismailia
22 March 2019 | Port Ghalib, Red Sea, Egypt

Plans subject to change.

10 June 2024 | Dun Loaghaire Marina
Bobby Murdoch
Ok, here we go, the first instalment of this years sailing drivel, but its already June I hear you say, true enough, but let me tell you, somebody has forgot to tell mother nature that summer has started, I am sitting in Dun Laoghaire Marina close to Dublin, its blowing a hoolie and its 10°C, still, after growing up in the west of Scotland, this is nothing unusual, and to be honest, the sun is out so we are happy with that, just nae heat coming out of it.


Dun Laoghaire Marina, its a fair walk to the showers......

So how did we get to Dublin? The boat went back in the water mid-April, giving me some time to finish some work on here before my planned departure at the end of May, British Customs had given me an extension to the VAT free time limit that I had on the boat but that ended in June, so I had to foxtrot oscar by then.


Confidence on her way to the water.



In she goes.



Nipped back to Oz to see Scotland's two newest supporters ready for the euros, it was Ari's 4th birthday at the end of April.

Work carried out over the winter and during May.
1. New jib tracks and teak caps on the bulwarks port and stbd.
2. New Solar panels, same place and same size, shit ton more output.
3. Rutland wind generator. (I struggled a wee bit last year with power due to the sometimes-inclement spells during the balmy northern summer).
4. Old toilet got chucked, no more cleaning blocked poo pipes for me, composting toilet installed and the hole in the hull that the poo used to escape from was sealed up.
5. Newish (old) autopilot installed, (more on this later).
6. Mast top, wind indicator replaced due to fat bastard seagulls sitting on it.
7. Loads of other wee stuff that is just too boring to mention.


The thunder box.

When I say composting toilet, what I really mean is a wooden box with a seat, a separator, and two containers, one for your No.1's, and the other for your No.2's,
It's just a fancy version of "bucket and chuck-it", works a treat let me tell you.


Approaching the Ailsa Craig on the way to Girvan.


Ailsa Craig.


Sitting pretty in Girvan. Nobles boatyard in the background, my first job after leaving school, way back in the mist of time.

Managed to get going on the last day of May, first stop was my home town of Girvan, seemed apt for this to be the last place I visited in Scotland, I sailed from Ardrossan on a bright and blustery day and fired down the Clyde and around the Ailsa Craig, had to slow the boat down going to Girvan as there is a shallow bar at the harbour mouth which means I need to go in or out a few hours either side of high tide.



The sun made an appearance too.


Leaving Girvan with mixed feelings, happy and excited for the journey ahead, but sad to be leaving at the same time, funny thing the old emotions eh!


Leaving Girvan.



Carrickfergus.

The original plan after Girvan was to sail around the top and west of Ireland to Cork and Jump across to Spain from there, but the weather was dictating a smoother passage down the east coast, so as I'm all for the path of least resistance, east it was, so I sailed and ferry dodged across the North Channel to Carrickfergus on the north side of Belfast Lough in Northern Ireland, funnily enough, named after the first King of Scotland (but maybes born in Antrim), Fergus , "Carraig Fhearghais" - the rock of Fergus.


Old Fergus ran aground here, I just went into the Marina.

I had a couple of days here waiting for suitable tides and weather to shoot off down the coast, like the west coast of Scotland, the tides here are super strong, so when you have a heavy boat and a wee engine, going against them is a pure daft idea.
I used the time to visit Belfast and the Titanic exhibition there which is located next to the slip where she was built an launched, Titanic used to be a source of national embarrassment here, wrongly so of course, but is now very much embraced and the exhibition is immense, you should go.....


The big boat Titanic, I don't want to ruin the story for everyone, but it doesn't end well!


Exhibition Centre, those are the same height as Titanic's Bow.

Only had to wait a few days then snuck out early doors to catch the tide down the coast to Ardglass on a fresh breeze, I put the autopilot on to get the main up and it decided to shit itself, which was a bit of a pain in the arse but what can you do, so i just hand steered down to Ardglass, could have used my windvane if it was ready to go, lesson learned there, and I was lucky it stayed dry, otherwise things may have got a bit pish!


A balmy morning in Ardglass.

Cracking we place this, got on to the autopilot people in the states and the immediately knew what the issue was and how to do a temporary fix to get me south whilst I waited for new parts to come.

So that explains why I am sitting here in Dun Loaghaire, the temporary fix worked well and I flew down here with the wind on the stbd quarter, I now am waiting for the new parts for the existing autopilot, and also a brand new one, I still have half the planet to go to get back home so having a wee spare will give some peace of mind.

So its all good, usual boat stuff that shit breaks, you fix it, and the weather is really unsettled anyway so its probably doing me a favour here waiting for parts, Dun Loaghaire is a lovely place, the showers in the Marina are top notch, and I even had a very old friend of mine and his daughter down to visit yesterday, so we are laughing.


Me and the bold Fred, the most famaous man in Dublin.


I'll write some more of this hogwash before I make the jump across to Spain, I'm sure with tales of sundrenched anchorages in west Cork.

We shall see..............

Lastly, big shout out to my maw Meg, for all her help and top cleaning skills getting the boat ready to go and feeding me within an inch of my life, not to mention a boatful of soup and shortbread on departure, thanks missus, your help is truly appreciated.

Hello fae here

30 December 2023 | Katoomba, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
Bobby Murdoch
Jings!!,

Where did the time go? its nearly the end of the year, the last time I wrote on here was in July, so I thought I had better sort my shit out and bring it up to date so I can continue my drivel on a clean slate next spring.


Mount Solitary, Blue Mountains, New South Wales.

Where am I now, I am in the blue mountains a few hours west of Sydney, hiding from the craziness that is Sydney at the new year, saying that though, I'm in Katoomba which is like a Disney world for tremendous views, There is even a place called "scenic world" that you can pay to look at the views, how mental is that, and because we are so close to the city, it's jammed, but you don't have to go far to get away from the maddening crowd, and its quiet in the morning and at night time.

I have been back in Australia for the last few months building the sailing kitty back up again as normal, work is work I guess, a needs to an end, but I also get to hang out wae the weans when I'm here, so it's all good 😊


Check out the wee man, he was loving it until he had to put his Christmas shirt on and get his photo taken, wasn't too happy about that, total huff! 😊

The last time I was on here I was back in Kerrera, just about to go to the Oban distillery, which I did, wasn't that flash to be honest, compared to the other places I've been, the guide didn't know his arse from his single malt, and.................he was English! FFS, but then again, it seems that the entire west coast region of this beautiful country of ours has been colonised(again) by our friends from South of the border, but hey! I'm not judging, I live in somebody else's country too, but if your going to work in a distillery as a tour guide, know your shit sunshine! numpty!, rant over.


I did, however, taste their beverages, they were way better than the tour.


Gylen Castle, Kerrera, old hoose of the MacDougalls.

Went back to Linnhe Marina and spent a few lovely days hanging out with some very old friends of mine, who I last seen when we were in Falmouth last year, the weather was kind enough to give us a few hours for a wee sail across the loch and back, happy days indeed.


The family Wibrew.


Old pals.......

So speaking of whisky, I sailed down to Islay next, to Port Ellen for a few days of tasting the water of life, you know, just to make sure it was ok. There are nine distilleries on Islay, and I never had the time or a big enough liver to visit them all, so I went to three.


Carraig Fhada Lighthouse, Islay.


Ardbeg.

Went here first, pretty good, smoky, the guide was all over it, made the guy at Oban look like a right dafty, but we knew that already.


Lagavulin.

Now, this is a nice drop, I wouldn't know how to describe it, complex perhaps, you should drink some and find out for yourself.


Bruichladdich

Turns out I saved the best for last, done a tasting here where the take some pretty special whisky's straight out of the barrel for you, the guide was the best yet, and her measures were huge, I might have been just a wee bit pished when I left!

And when one of the other visitors asked about the weather, (it was raining heavily outside), her answer was the best ever, "Todays rain, is tomorrows whisky" how about that eh? makes you look at the rain in a completely different way.


Summer forecast for Scotland in August!


Tomorrows whisky falling on the boat.

Once tomorrow's whisky had stopped coming from the sky after two days, I headed off and had a boisterous journey back around the Mull of Kintyre, I was full of whisky, the boat was full of whisky, clinking as the wind heeled her over, it was time to head back to Ardrossan.


Captain Meg.

Had a few wee day trips but that was pretty much it for the summer, had my Maw out up to Millport and back, had a great sail back in a brisk breeze.


Out she comes.

So there she is, parked up in sunny Ardrossan, getting a wee bit more work done over the winter before wee head off in search of the sunshine in May. Ireland - Spain - Portugal is that half a plan, as always we shall see.....


All tucked up, winter is coming.......

Health and happiness to you all for the new year ahead :-)



Heel yo ho, boys, let her go, boys Swing her head round and all together....

17 July 2023 | Kerrera Marina
Bobby Murdoch
I am writing this from the Marina in Kerrera, actually, this is where I wrote the last blog entry, only difference being that last time I was heading North and it was a beautiful sunny day, this time I am heading back south and it is absolutely pishing doon, but lets face it, it's the west of Scotland and it's the summer so its not as if this weather wasn't expected 😊


Met this fella whilst running round the Island.


Balamory

First stop after the last time we spoke was Tobermory, first time I have been there, cracking wee place but man, it was busy, the original plan was to do a distillery tour there but the wind was good for my sail over to the Outer Hebrides so I parked the tour and set out early the next morning across the Sea of the Hebrides to the Island of Vatersay.


Vatersay


Look how clear the water is.

Had plenty of wind to push me across to the Islands until about five miles out when it died on its arse and I motored into the anchorage and the clear water and beautiful white sands of Vatersay Bay, Vatersay is one of the southerly Islands if the Outer Hebrides and is joined via a causeway to the Island of Barra.


Nice eh!


Mingulay.

The next day I sailed a short hop down to Mingulay, this was one of the places I really wanted to go, many of the Scots amongst you will know about this Island through the " Mingulay Boat Song" so it was great to actually go there, you need settled weather to land comfortably on the Island, so the stars aligned perfectly for me and I had a beautiful sunshiny day with light winds and not much swell to anchor and go ashore.


Mingulay, way back when.


Mingulay beach.

It's a beautiful island, uninhabited since 1912, apart from one house which sometimes has a resident, often an artist for the summer months, as beautiful as it is, I imagine it would be a bit on the bleak side during the winter.


Castlebay, Barra.

Mingulay was just a day trip and after a night back at anchor in Vatersay, I hopped across to Castlebay on the island of Barra, the main reason for this was as well as visiting the Island, I was looking for a Pub to watch Scotland play Norway in the European qualifiers, and what a game that was, suffice to say, the Castlebay Hotel Bar went mental, twice! In the last few minutes of the game as Scotland dragged victory out of the jaws of defeat (the opposite of what we normally do) and beat Norway 2 - 1. Amazing!


The Castle, in Castlebay, and the wee Marina.


Came across this monument to some woman and her wean when I was running up the hill behind the town, I wonder who they are, they must be quite famous, I see monuments to them everywhere? 🤣


Loch Skipport.

After Barra, it was up to South Uist, overnight stop here only in an anchorage called Coalas Mor (the little kettle pool) in Loch Skipport, very beautiful place although the weather was turning by this time from the Mediterranean few weeks, we were lucky enough to have, to the more usual wet and blustery Scottish summer weather with sun occasionally keekin out.


Loch Ceann Dibig at Kendibig.

I could have spent the entire summer just exploring these islands, but time and unsettled weather (and another distillery) pushed me on north up to Harris and I anchored in Loch Ceann Dibig at Kendibig, just round the corner from Tarbert.


Harris Distillery.

Had a tour of the distillery here which was great, but........... Shock, horror, nae whisky to be had, they don't bottle their first batch till September of this year but they were good enough to give you a taste of someone else's whisky and some of the Gin they produce there, which was just the ticket 😊


Stornoway Harbour, I'm tucked in beside the lifeboat.

The forecast was for a big depression pushing in from the Atlantic bringing with it some pretty brisk winds and of course the associated excess of moisture, so I ran away up to Stornoway and hid in the Marina for a few days and hired a car to explore the Island of Lewis.


The Callanish stones on Lewis (I didn't take this photo, I couldn't get a good one as there was lots of Hippies dancing round the stones in the rain, nae kiddin!)


Some more standy uppy stones in a field.


Local council house in Lewis, called a blackhouse.


Lewis is Black Pudding heaven.


The Butt of Lewis.


Wee bit wet in the Gairloch.

Once the winds had stopped shouting so much, I set of for a fairly fast and furious sail across the Minch to Loch Sheildag, and the head of the Gairloch, never hung about here long, just one night and then shot across to Rona.


Loch Sheildag after the rain had stopped.


Rona.

What a magical wee island this is, also a first time visit for me and a place that I will certainly return to, lots of wildlife, even otters swimming around in the anchorage.


Under a blue sky in Rona.


A church in a cave in Rona, an amazing spot. It was used as the island's church up until the 1930s.


Beside the Skye Bridge, Kyle of Lochalsh.

From Rona I sailed down towards the Kyles of Rhea that separate the mainland from Skye, I had an overnight stop at the Kyle of Lochalsh for a visit to the co-op and to wait for the tide, the currents, like most places up here, flow fast through the kyles so when you have a wee engine like mine you have to get your timings right or you might find yourself sailing backwards.


Anchored in Isleornsay.

After whooshing through the Kyles at 9 knots (trust me, this is fast for Confidence), I got absolutely battered by the rain and went to anchor at Isleornsay on the south east side of Skye, lot of boats here either waiting for the tide to go north through the kyles or waiting for the wind to take them south or west, my plan was to sail out to the Isle of Rum, but the wind had a different plan for me so I headed south again and sailed round the Ardnamurchan Peninsula (the most westerly part of the UK mainland) to anchor in Loch na Droma Buidhe, beside the Isle of Oronsay for the night, and the next day back into Tobermory for my date with the distillery.


Anchored in Loch na Droma Buidhe.


Tobermory Distillery, well worth a visit.

So, I got my visit to the distillery, and I was glad I did, it was the best tour so far, good fun and the liquid refreshments were tremendous.


Anchored near Port Ramsey on Lismore.

I stayed in Tobermory for a few days then headed of down the sound of Mull, hung a left at the end and sailed up Loch Linnhe to Port Ramsey on Lismore, and spent a day here exploring the Island.


Linnhe Marina near Appin.

Then it was a short hop up the loch where I went onto a mooring for a few days at Linnhe Marina which is behind the Island of Shuna just North of Appin, I have some friends coming to visit so I was doing a recce here to see if it was suitable, which it very much was. I had a real surprise here, I had just got in, and put my covers up as it was bucketing down, next thing a see a guy coming over in a canoe shouting and waving, who is this lunatic I'm thinking? Turns out it was an old mate of mine Craig who I used to work with in Western Australia way back when, who now lives just up the road in Fort William, and he brought whisky! What a man, and what a nice surprise.


Lunatic in a canoe.


The Old Inn at Appin.

I had dinner here at the Old Inn in Appin where apparently, they panned the murder of Colin "The Red Fox" Campbell of Glenure in 1752, the Inspiration for the Robert Louis Stevenson book Kidnapped, its said that it is haunted by the ghost of James Stewart who was wrongly convicted and hanged for the murder.


Castle Stalker.

It sits looking down on Castle Stalker which you might recognise from Monty Pythons "the Holy Grail".

From Appin, it was a short sail back here to Kerrera, and a chance to get across to visit the distillery at Oban where I am going this afternoon!

From here?? As I mentioned, I have friends coming up in few days, I'll sail back north to Linnhe marina for that, and after this I will point the boat back in the general direction of the Clyde and Girvan, I still have Islay on the list of places to go we will see what the weather and wind says closer to the time.

So that's all I have to tell you for now, unless that is, you want to hear all about the blocked pipes in my toilet? Haha, perhaps not eh! All I can say is that the old adage is certainly true, "shit definitely does happen!!" 😊

Take it easy on the fibre supplements folks!


Vessel Name: Confidence
Vessel Make/Model: Tayana37
Hailing Port: Brisbane
Crew: Bobby
About: Freelance Good Egg🥚
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