Emerald Tales

Currently in Portugal after 7 years in the Mediterranean

22 March 2024 | Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
01 March 2024 | Porto Santo
23 February 2024 | Porto Santo
22 January 2024 | Madeira
15 December 2023 | Porto Santo
13 October 2023 | Porto Santo
15 September 2023 | Porto Santo
09 August 2023 | Porto Santo, Madeira
28 July 2023 | Porto Santo, Madeira
23 June 2023 | Porto Santo
15 January 2023 | Porto Santo
15 September 2022 | Porto Santo
19 August 2022 | Porto Santo
29 July 2022 | Porto Santo, Madeira

Gairloch

17 July 2011 | Gairloch Harbour
Nichola / Raining today, but has been good
We've had 2 good days ashore until the rain came today. On Friday we walked the 3 miles along the road to Sheildaig from where we did a 3 mile walk to the Fairy Lochs and the site of a war time plane crash.

Despite the leaflet saying the path was boggy it was lovely and dry compared to our hill walking in N. Uist and Rona. A well trod track led us to some small lochs with proper soft sand on their shore, which was strange being around 60m above sea level and a mile in-land. We're guessing that the sand is from when sea levels were higher and the lochs were actually an estuary. The path then wound up over rougher ground with rocky patches, bringing us a series of smaller lochs - the Fairy Lochs. In one of these lochs a B24H Liberator plane crashed when returning to the USA after the war in June 1945. The aircraft wreckage remains scattered over a wide area amongst the rocks and in the loch itself; a propeller stands like a sentinel pointing upright from the surface of the loch and an engine sits next to a tiny island. Amongst the rusted and broken pieces of plane a shiny piece of unblemished stainless steel stood out, pretty amazing to have remained so shiny in such a harsh environment. A plaque commemorates this tragic accident listing the names of the 15 people who lost their lives.
The crash loch
We left the crash site to climb to a higher point for a good view of the mountain ranges all around us. The sun would occasionally come out to sparkle on the small waves on the lochs and we spotted a mountain that looks just like the one on Close Encounters.....

The walk was soon over and it was back to the road for the 3 miles back to Gairloch and an evening in the New Inn listening to some live music.

Saturday's outing was to watch the sheepdog trial in Gairloch. We walked via the beach which is a beautiful stretch of golden sand. At the sheepdog trial we were greeted with a leaflet that explained what the dogs and shepherd had to do and directed to a tent where the smell of bacon butties was wafting out from. Well it was lunchtime so we couldn't resist a butty (very good and sooooo cheap!) and eyed up all the home baked cakes whilst we waited.

We settled down on the grass in the sunshine to watch the dogs. They had to start with a big run across a field and then up a hill - some dogs never even made it up the hill as they got confused about where to go. Those that made it to the 3 sheep had to bring them down the hill and around through two sets of gates before finally being herded into a pen. The first dog we watched was amazing, keeping really close to the sheep and not letting them break away. The next dogs weren't so great but then I think some of it was down to the sheep being very awkward! Some sheep didn't even seem bothered that the dog was there and others did their best to go in exactly the wrong direction. The crowd was really behind the dogs, collectively groaning when a sheep broke away. It was good fun!
Sheepdog trials
We ended a great afternoon with some cakes and bought some to take home and put in the freezer. On our way back we stocked up with meat and veg from Morrison's butchers at which point the rain arrived for our 2 mile walk home.

Back at Emerald we found we had boats rafted against us. The first one turned out to be a 40 tonne steel yacht, a little longer than us. The harbour master had advised us that 3 yachts rafted was ok in calm weather but only 2 in strong winds; as we arrived back a second boat was coming alongside, so Colin had to tell them no as the forecast was for up to force 7 winds. We felt bad but at the end of the day we didn't want Emerald damaged or the pontoon broken off! We weren't very keen about the 40 tonner next to us as it would put a lot of pressure on Emerald's cleats. They suggested swapping places but the harbour master had also said that if the wind really got up then there should be no rafting, in which case we'd then be the outside boat and would have to leave. So we said no. This morning the harbour master arrived and told them they'd have to leave (there are lots of anchorages and some strong mooring buoys around the corner); they weren't very happy and blamed us for it!

Today is rainy and low cloud is hanging over the hills. So we're catching up with a bit of admin and having a lazy day, eating the cakes we bought yesterday.
Comments
Vessel Name: Emerald
Vessel Make/Model: Kelly Peterson 44
Hailing Port: No fixed abode
Crew: Colin 'Skip' Wright, Nichola Wright
About: One from Northern Ireland, one from Yorkshire, UK
Extra: Emerald has been our home since 2004. We've sailed around the UK, the western Baltic and have spent 7 years in the Med. We're currently in Portugal, planning a refit. Lot's more information about us and the boat can be found at www.yachtemerald.com
Home Page: https://www.yachtemerald.com/
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