Fantastic end to the season
21 September 2021 | Troon Yacht Haven
Ann and Steve Crome | Sunny!!
Here we are in Troon where CG will spend her winter. We're doing the boring stuff, cleaning and bedding her down for the winter before heading home on Friday via Blackpool and Leeds.
But, we have finished two of our best sails of the season. Boring start, Saturday, Port Ellen to Cambeltown, the rounding of the Mull of Kintyre (Q song?) which must be done with the right tides and wind. Tides you can work out winds are pot luck. We had none, which is better than not enough. Ten hours, 45 miles on the motor.
Then things perked up, Campbeltown to Loch Ranza on Arran on Sunday, expecting a motor got a fabulous beam wind. Six hours sailing less than one on the motor, brilliant, winds up to c15 knots, boat speed up to 5.8 kt. Monday the weather man prominsed us wind again and we got it, another beam reach, Loch Ranza to Troon. Six hours under sail, two on the motor due to a wind shadow around the northern tip of Arran. Boat speeds up to 7 kts in winds up to c17kts. (Hull speed for CG is around 8 kts.)
Off to a Tapas restaurant in Troon this evening.
Photo shows us in Loch Ranza celebrating an excellent successful cruise with the bottle of champers Ann won with the Knight's cup for her contribution to the Cruising Association in 2020.
So much for a boring 4 hour motor...
16 September 2021 | Port Ellen, Islay
Ann and Steve Crome | threatening rain
12 September was our 40th wedding anniversary. We booked a massage and afternoon tea package in a hotel in Oban. I've had a couple of massages before but am not an affectionado. This one was great, very relaxing. Afternoon tea with Prosecco was upgraded to afternoon tea with champagne which turned in to 2 bottles. The evening was hazy....
Next day we set off for Carsaig Bay expecting to motor given the forecast. We did at first but then the sails went up (c 12 knots of wind) then we had to reef (c20 knots of wind) all pretty much on the nose so we were beating. Excellent trip, 29 miles, a 7 hour day. Following day Carsaig Bay to Craighouse, the biggest place on Jura (big being a relative term, one shop, one cafe and one restaurant [fully booked]) But another sailing day, again a beat but in lighter winds, 16 miles, 4 hours. Yesterday we moved here to Port Ellen on Islay, forecast as a motoring day, we ended up beating with reefs in again in up to 20 knots of wind. 5 hours, 25 miles tiring but great.
Now we are hiding in Port Ellen expecting strong winds and loads of rain tomorrow (Friday) Rounding the Mull of Kintyre on Saturday is the plan, we must have a following wind and flatish seas, so let's hope the weather forecast is actually right or things will get very tricky.
Not been a lot to photograph, but the image shows some pretty cloud formations and reflections in Carsaig Bay our anchorage the other night.
...we did frighten it away
12 September 2021 | Oban harbout
Ann and Steve Crome | Cloudy with some sun
We did frighten it away, the wind that is. Almost all on the motor we moved from Tobermory, down the Sound of Mull, firstly to anchor in Loch Aline, then out of the sound an up Loch Lynne to anchor in Loch a Choire. Under cloudy skies this may be the darkest place we have ever been. Apart from our anchor light and a couple of others it was totally black. Creepy. The on the Kentallen Bay further up the Loch to a pub-provided buoy and an excellent meal. On the way back to the boat in the dinghy we got our first attack from the infamous Scottish midges. There were so many it was impossible to avoid breathing them in. I didn't notice at the time but woke up to 20+ bites all over my bald head. Ann has hair and escaped. I may buy a wig. From there back to Loch Aline to meet up with a contact we made through Captains Mate called Paul. Excellent evening chatting to him in the cockpit of China Girl. No midges!! From there to anchor in Puilladodhrain on Seil Island(means Bay of the otter apparently, we didn't see any) and then to Oban where we are now. Maybe 3h sailing in all those trips, ho hum.
Photo shows a misty CG in Loch Creran.
Motoring round Scotland continues...
04 September 2021 | Loch a Choire
Ann and Steve Crome | Cloudy, threatening rain
We left Kilchuan on Wed 28th and motored all the way to Salen in Loch Sunart in no wind. This is a pretty little place but nothing particular to do. Next day we moved to Loch Drumbuie (not Drambuie!) and got a sail, or maybe a vaguely sail assisted float, for a couple of hours at 2.5 - 3 knots upwind. Nothing at Drumbuie, just a very pretty anchorage. Then off to the big city - well Tobermory, the capital of Mull and the biggest place by far in these parts. Washing (yawn), shopping (yawn), three great meals out (yum yum); motored all the way, only 1 hour That takes us to last Thursday (2nd) when we left Tobermory to motor down the Sound of Mull to Loch Aline. Another very pretty anchorage. Then yesterday another motor (notice the trend?) to where we are now, Loch a Choire on Loch Linnhe. Last night was cloudy so no stars or moon and might be the darkest I have ever seen. There were 4 tiny points of light visible from our boat, otherwise total blackness. Off to Kentallen Bay further up Loch Linnhe in an hour or so; there might be some wind, we'll try not to frighten it away.
Photo shows the Cunard liner Queen Elisabeth passing Tobermory. They didn't stop.
Lots of fog and motoring
28 August 2021 | Kichoan Bay, Ardnamurchan Peninsula
Ann and Steve Crome | Misty & chilly
It's not been sailing weather, but it's been sunny...once he fog clears, so not so bad. From L Spelve we motored to Traigh Gheal, a tiny bay on the S coast of Mull and then to Bunessan in L na Laithich on the N Coast of the southern arm of the island. While anchored there we got the bus to Fionnfhort to get the ferry to Iona. We can't anchor anywhere rom which we can get to Iona because of the strong tides, it's too risky to leave the boat unattended (according to the pilot book). So we did he touristy thing on Iona and had a good lunch.
Following day (Thursday, 26th) we motored from Bunessan to Lunga in the Treshnish Islands via Staffa. Got a look at Fingals Cave from about 100 m out with Mendelsson playing on the stereo; brilliant.
Yesterday, finally a sail. We sailed downwind on the cruising chute at around 2.5 to 3.5 kts in 4-6 kts of wind for about 4 h before dropping the chute to motor into Kilchoan Bay on the Ardnamurchan peninsula. Now we're waiting for the fog to lift before we (motor probably) to Salen in L Sunart.
Leaving Buynessan we got our best display yet from 5 dolphins playing around the boat.
Swallows and fog
23 August 2021 | Loche Spelve
Ann and Steve Crome | Foggy!!
We had a great couple of days in Taynavallich which is really pretty (with a great pub!), well worth a visit by land if you are in the area. Thursday 19th we motored the short distance to Loch na Cille for an overnight on the anchor. No wind at all, but only 2 1/4 h on the motor. So quiet there, all we could here was sheep and birds. Friday we moved to Craobh (pronounced Creuve) Yacht Haven for fuel and water. Interesting trip, started on the motor in no wind, then we had both sails out in around15 kts on a fine reach, by the end of the 4h trip we had reefs in both sails and were luffing up in the gusts. Craobh has nothing to recommend it apart from the facilities, so one night there and off to....well. It was chucking it down, first serious rain we have had. So we changed our destination from Loch Spelve (4-5 h) to Kimelford (1 1/4 h) which also had the advantage of a shop to top up fresh food. We walked to the shop, about 30 mins in pouring rain, got talking to couple in the cafe over the shop, found they were yotties from the marina and had a car so got a lift back. Yachting community is wonderful.
So, in between Kimelford and Loch Spelve is Cuan Sound. Must be tackled with the tide behind you and preferably not when it is at full strength (one report we read said he was doing 14 kts along what is a narrow winding channel with lots of semi-submerged rocks. Much conflicting information on when is the best time (relative to high tide) to go. Finally, we got chatting to a chap in Kimelford who was an ex RN navigator and local. If he doesn't know who does, so we went with his recommendation and got through with no trouble, only peaking at 6.9 kts OTG.
That brings us to Loch Spelve where we had a visit last evening from a whole flock of swallows, up to 10 at one time sitting on the guard rail, others flying THROUGH the cockpit (see photo, the wire is our guardrail). Woke up this morning to dense fog, so we are sitting here waiting for the visibility to improve. currently it's up to about 1/2 mile from 50 yards.