Anti-Clockwise to Scotland

The current intention is to sail her for three months, starting June, from her current base near Ipswich, up the east coast of the United Kingdom, through the Caledonian Canal, ending the journey somewhere on the Cumbrian coast, depending on moorings.

Over the next few months, as we prepare the vessel, and begin the journey, we'll try and record what happens and what we see.


June 16-19, 2006
After much canoodaling, bright ideas, storage discoveries and singing props Liz, Jenny and I are ready to go.

Contributions in time and brain power greatfully received from Chris, Jenny and Fox's Marina staff.

The weather is gloriously warm and sunny and it has been nice to sit on the boat, drinking a little gin, entertaining family (who brought Liz down) and waiting.

June 20, 2006
She was lifted from the water this morning and a replacement prop fitted, she now only sings between 1700 and 2000 revs and proves that the noise is harmonics from the propeller and we can live with that. We also suffered the loss of an RCD circuit for mains power. A part needs to be ordered. Temp fix with chocolate block seems to work well.

Prop replacement

In the afternoon, we took a gentle sail down the River Orwell to Harwich. We've started. Leaving Fox's Marina, we lost a fender overboard and in the process of recoving it gently ran aground. The crew stood hard to port and hung out over the edge as we reversed the boat out of trouble. Well done Jenny !

Essex Sailing boat

Moored on the town quay Harwich, and sat in the sunshine with coffee. A fellow skipper, who nudged into the berth we were aiming at ahead of us was kind enough to recompence us with beer, so all was forgiven.

Town Quay, Harwich

Great showers, big enough for two, and a friendly harbour master made the stay pleasant. Also seeing Mermaid, the Trinity house vessel brought back memories of missing lights in the Milford Haven, and passages with Roland wondering who had stolen them.

Trinity Buoys

June 21, 2006
Up early, 06:00, and long shower, with Lizzie. Away from Harwich Quay at 07:44, and 38 nautical miles to Lowestoft. A successful departure, and fair passage up the coast of Peter Grimes, Sizewell Nuclear Reactor, Southwold and into Lowestoft.

My boat handling failed me coming into the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht club and a close call with the jetty wall, when coming astern was saved by Jenny.

The Yacht Club is in a beautiful building and has the feel of something left from the 1850s. Some interesting artwork too.

The fridge on board, has not being running as often as we would like, due to electrical difficulties associated with the 240V supply; but this is now resolved. When motoring we are getting into the habit of running the fridge too. Unfortunately, this still has not been getting cool enough. It turns out that the fridge motor, when warm, cuts out. This appears to happen frequently without the seat being off the compartment with the fridge motor in.

Having some shore power tonight, the intention is to run the fridge tonight and charge some more cool packs to keep the temperature in the fridge better.

June 22-23,2006
Ahh the weather. If only we could predict it and be sure. The run from Lowestoft, across the Wash, was always going to be hard. We hoped had hoped the wind would stay off shore and and allow us to break the run into a couple of legs, perhaps via Wells-next-the-Sea.

It wasn't to be, the forcast NE wind was a NWly and this lead to a 22 hour run from Lowestoft to Grimsby, through The Wash. We did the whole run, head into the wind, with choppy 3 meter seas and though tide helped us some of the time, the rest of course did not !

Conditions were not good, and quickly it was impossible to be down below. The whole crew sat on deck, and between hot drinks, and twix bars, the night was spent rotating watches, and helms.

It was the night after the solstice, and so with the extra sun light, it did not feel so bad. After the sun set, it remained very bright, the Aurora Borealis ( Northern Lights) blazed, looking like something in a sci-fi movie.

At day break, with people begining to sleep at the helm,it was clear we were not going to make the tide for the sea locks to dock the boat on the Humber, spirts were a little low. We put the anchor down on the southern shore of the estury, opposite Spurn Head, and slept for 3 hours waiting for enough tide to get into Grimsby.

You can't believe how happy were were to have access to hot showers, and wash the salt of ourselves. Also a chance to eat properly and feel the sunshine, knowing we had done the longest passage of this trip.


June 23-24,2006
Some recovery time in Grimbsy. Boy did we need it. Tired and a little frightened. We had completed the ordeal, but also we had doubts about whether we could do it again.

The Humber Cruising Club docks, next to the Albert docks were pleasant and Pete took very good care of us. Helpful advice and letting us have some space to practice our boat handling.

This is our first boat, and just like a new car, finding how much space she needs, and how quickly she turns and stops is all about feel. Additionally she is a sail drive boat and not the traditional prop shaft. This has benefits and problems, the most obvious problem being a longer lag in getting response between applying power to the propeller and movement across the rudder.

As they say practice makes perfect and certainly we are getting better; but it feels like there is much further to go.

Grimsby is fairly grim, but has a great market where it was fun do do the shopping.The Cruising club (A porta cabin on the edge of the dock) was accomadating, friendly and served damn fine pint (or three) of Sam Smiths. Couldn't have asked for anything more.

June 25,2006
A peaceful morning of hanging around for tide, before sailing to Spurn Point, at the end of the Humber. The humber is a very very busy river, and lots of ships to watch out for as they shoot past you at 40 knots,

At Spurn Head we laid the anchor tagain with the powered winch. After finally arranging the chain so it would lay properly it did a fine job. We anchored just next to the life boat, so if anything went wrong they could come get us!

Dinner was prepared, pork with peaches and kriek, listen to the wind and swell pick up and watching the sun set. The anchor held like a dream, and sleep fell on us quickly ready for the following mornings run.

Spurn Head

June 26,2006
Spurn Point to Scarbourgh, a run of about 60 nautical miles. The powered winch wouldn't work this morning, so the day started with hauling up the anchor by hand, 30 meters of chain and a 16Kg anchor. Clearly Edmund's getting fitter as it wasn't too bad. The wind was to come from the West, which would have been good sailing, but as with so much of the journey so far, it came head on making sailing more difficult than perhaps desired. In the end 10 hours on the iron mainsail and a few hours under canvas got us there.


A helpful and jovial harbour master, put us in the main harbour as the east harbour would not take our 1.8 metre keel. Perfectly parked by Lizzie, so we are learning something.

A romping walk up the hill towards the station, an excellent deli at the top and a recommendation for Thai. Unfortunately the Thai was shut, and so we did pleasant chinese, and back to the boat ready for a late start, HW+2, so 08:30 and a sail to Whitby.

June 27,2006
A truely perfect day, 20 nautical miles, made in 4 hours, almost entirely under sail. The boat simply hummed along, between 4.5 and 6 knots. All the sail we could put up on her and she looked great.

Whitby Abbey

Arrival into Whitby harbour found Liz getting worked up about whether I could shoot the harbour enterance correctly. There is a VERY strong eastern component to the swell as you come in and it can build as you leave the outer harbour into the inner. Keeping hard over towards the fish docks helps. Lesley took some great photos of our arrival into port.

Liz was going away from the boat, for a few days to watch the cricket, and so it was sad to see her go, but gave me a chance to catch-up on some maintenance tasks with Jenny.

June 28,2006
A day of learning to splice and small jobs with Jenny. She returns home and I get down to the jobs of cleaning and sorting the boat.

The cradle for the Life raft is putting pressure on the companion way hatch and so I need to resolve this. This means repacking the tinker dinghy as well to make it fit better.

Also a trip for Chandlery, more charts, some fender cleaner, and a chain hook.

Trip to pick up herbs and bread, as we were running short.

Argument's Yard

Fajitas on the deck, with setting sun and a bottle of wine.. Perfect

June 29,2006
A lazy morning, packing Jenny up and walking her to the train. This is followed by hasing the leaking port hole. (It appears that the starboard port hole, is so encrusted with salt that it doesn't close properly.

Out comes cleaning equipment, and I begin the processes of cleaning all the metal I can find. Most of it has a green tinge of salt reacting with metal.

Also taking apart all the head-linings to see if I can find out what has gone on with the winch. I can now get the hand drive of the anchor winch to work but the electrics look shot. Argghh ! another bill !

Whitby Harbour

June 30,2006
A lazy start to the day. Collected the charts for going further up the east coast. Continued cleaning the headlinings and chasing the issues with the anchor winch.

Sue Kirk joined me in the evening to mark the Sue Jones Memorial Heads. Ever so good to see her. Liz and Family turned up a little later and we enjoyed a good dinner, sat in the cockpit with wine and pasta. A perfect sunset.

Celia and Sue

July 1,2006
Up early to make the bridge, and given the calm conditions, everyone came out for a couple of hours sail. Back around 8:30am and let Becka our mooring partner to start her journey upto Hartlepool.


Returning from the morning sail, we had a large breakfast and with 7 of us on board, we just fitted around the cabin table. Always good to eat together. Sue left after breakfast, and we then went for a walk.


First stop was Kippers and then onto the shale beds on the far side of the now drying harbour. Lots of memories of younger days. Lots of fossils to be found and rock pools to be explorered.

July 2,2006
A delightful run upto Hartlepool. A chance for Liz and I alone to handle the boat and manage the passage.

A great way to do it, also to discover that somethings we hoped would work first time didn't and would need work.

Calm and Relaxed

Hartlepool has a lock which makes the marina accessable 24 hours a day. Well thats the theory, but the basin outside the lock is really only accessable 3 hours either side of high water for our boat.

Locking in was exciting as it is a small space and was already filled with 2 other boats. As we began to exit on of the commenced reversing directly into the boat in front.

Mooring the boat up was great, lots of space and time to do it in the marina. Facilities are good here, and the lock office and keepers helpful.

July 3,2006
A day of shopping. As we head further up this coast, the chance for big shopping trips becomes harder. So time to fill up the stores and prepare for more sparse facilities.

We called 54North the sail makers to sea if they could sort out a tear on the Genoa and he thought he could fix on Tuesday.

The trip to Asda/Walmart for food mean hauling a 100 litre rucksack with about 55kgs of cans and food, in back to the boat.

We also needed better vegatable storage for the boat and some more sealed containers to stop encourage things not to go off too quickly, or get tainted with salt water.

July 4,2006
A day trip to Sunderland. If the sail had not needed repairing we would have sailed to Sunderland, but instead took the train there.

A trip to the National Glass Centre and walks through Sunderland. An excellent lunch at the Glass Centre and a pleasant day.

Returned to find Tim waiting for us, and we quickly hauled down the Genoa and packed it into the sail back to take it to him to fix.

A very professional job, and performed in less than an hour. That means we are moving again. Plans are afoot to move to Newcastle, weather permitting.

July 5,2006
5 hours hugging the contour line and land only just in view. All the way on the engine.

Fog on the Tyne...

By the time we come into the Royal Quays marina, one mile in land, the weather was gorgeous. Pleasant people helping us through the locks and a nice marina. John, on Neutron Star, lent us a Pilot to review and this has definately firmed up plans for the next few days.

July 6,2006
A late start and a run down the Tyne. There is talk of a public quay to moor at before the Millenium Bridge, by the Pitcher and Piano. It was heaving with tour boats and no space even to moor up for a couple of hours; Such a pity!

Millenium Bridge

The trip down the Tyne was full of big things.

Cable Layer


Having failed to find somewhere nice to moor close to the city, we went back up the Tyne and headed to the Blyth, home of the Royal Northumberland Yacht Club

Blyth Windfarm

As everyone said, a wonderfully friendly place, with lots of advice of where to go next and pleasant beer.

Bumped into people who had birthed behind us in Whitby, Sea Griffin and saw a Freedom Yacht, Wishbones, with a fascinating rig.

July 7,2006
A wonderful sail from Blyth to Amble. Made 6.5 knots in the wind. Sunshine and not too cold and then into Amble. We are here for a few days. It has a Bath and we needed it. Also, it is the first Marina where the broadband works as advertised. Excellent.

Amble from Warkworth Castle

July 8,2006
A lazy start to the day with pancakes,strawberries and maple syrup. Then a walk up to WarkWorth Castle.

Warkworth Castle

From there we walked up to Alnmouth, along the coast. Very pretty, and then caught the 518 bus from close to Alnmouth Station, to Alnwick.

Alnwick has the most excellent book shop. And drank coffee and browsed books.. Perfect day.

July 9,2006
A very pleasant sail from Amble to the Farne Islands, arriving at around 6:30pm Spectacular sunset, and views of birds and seals.

Farne Islands

July 10,2006
Liz slept badly and woke up early to admire the view. As she did she viewed Knocks reefs and felt we had drifted. She woke me up and I checked the GPS. We definately had.

Decided to free the mooring and and move into deeper water. As the engine was engaged it died immediately. We were not drifting. Something strange was going on.

Jumped into wet suit. WOW so cold, but brilliant clear water. A little investigation showed the prop was fouled, on a mooring line.

A couple of dives later the prop was still not free. The water was dropping, it was fairly clear we were going to go aground. I decided to cut the line, and hoped we could round the boat under sail away from the reef.

Unfortunately the hope failed, and we went aground. As we did, a fishing vessel came into view, and was able to tow us off the reef. Talk about good luck and timing

John, the fishermans father, and skipper of one of the trip boats (Glad Tidings V), offered us a tow into Seahouses. This was gratefully accepted, and we headed to drop anchor and arrange a diver. As we approached Seahouses, John's boss came out in his scuba gear, and very kindly drived under the boat and cleared the prop and we were free without having to wait.

Lessons to be learnt: Call people early !

It was a VERY near miss, the boat could have gone over and been lost !

We needed time to recover from the near miss, and after thank-yous, we motored down the coast towards Holy Island. We droped the anchor to catch our breath.

After a while we made way and headed to Berwick, to tie up and check things a little further.

July 11,2006
Berwick-upon-Tweed is wonderful. Tweed dock is very primative as far as yachts are concerned. The dock is rather impressive of 19th Century stone construction, sparsley supplied with ladders and large bollards. We managfed to tie up using almost every piece of rope we have. A Leisure 23, "Kismet" rafted up against us.

The dock was occasionally home to a huge flock of swans and the occassional seal.


We met up with Jenny and walked around the walls, and reflected on what happened on Monday. We were VERY lucky.

Lunch at "The Malting" a performance space in Berwick, with great restuarant and good fish-cakes.

We are so close to springs, it looks like we won't get into Dunbar.

July 12, 2006
Sad to leave, Berwick, it suits me as a mooring. We cast of early, 05:30, and sail in good winds to Eyemouth, arriving just before 09:00.


A day of watching the seals in the harbour, fixing things on the boat, also some cleaning. It doesn't need to be done often but if not done at all, things deteriorate further.

July 13, 2006
A day to Edinburgh. Two hour bus journey along the coast, very beautiful.

Met up with James and went to see Pirates of the Carabean. On the way back picked up Matthew, for a few days being crew as we make our way to Aberdeen.


July 14, 2006
A very still day. 9 hours on engine, arriving in Arbroath, home of the smokie around 4pm. It did give us chance to test the auto pilot and for Matthew to get his sea legs.

As we were approaching Arbroath, out came the dolphins. Unfortunately not great photos but great to see them out.

Dolphins near Arbroath

A very helpful harbour master, and pleasant surroundings. A good dinner and single malt to bring the evening to a nice end.

July 15, 2006
A day of visiting museums and abbeys. The Arbroath Museum, in the telegraph house of the Bell Rock lighthouse.

Arboath Abbey is spectacular, in the local ruddy sandstone.

Arbroath Abbey At Sun set

We also walked along the coast, and back in the sunset with some great views

Arbroath night sky

The Needle's Eye

July 16, 2006
Matt, took the helm, and we left Arbroath to Stonehaven.

Xhosa on the wheel

A great sailing day, enough wind for all the sails out and a good 6 knots. Another jam in the furling line, but quickly cleared.


Mooring up was interesting, and in the end, WE turned the boat on the lines to ensure she would sit nose to the wind and bum in the protection of the harbour.

Beautiful walk along the boardwalk and a gentle wonder around the town.

July 17, 2006
Up early and a walk to Dunnatter Castle, via the war memorial (looking like a circular Greek temple). Spectacular castle, and a good walk, in a VERY warm day.

Dunnatter Castle

Back to the boat by 3pm and we set off for Aberdeen, passing Girdle Ness around 7pm. As we approached the harbour, Aberdeen's inshore lifeboat came over for a word and Aberdeen VTS put us in a holding pattern waiting for a slot between commercial shipping to slip us in.


Finally a slot in was provided and we shot into Aberdeen's Commercial Quay, by the fish dock. Met by the berthing master, and he was kind enough to give us a lift to Alan's. Unfortunately I left my hat in his van !But great to see Alan and Yvonnes' new home, oh and them aswell. All slept very well after consuming most of the biggest pizza we have ever seen.

July 18-22, 2006
Some days on Dry Land. A visit to the Art Gallery, some great food, and a look round the university and a couple of trips to the movies so we could touch base with popular culture.

I recovered my hat, thanks to Aberdeen VTS and berthing masters. Alan's flat has spectacular views next to the local drag track (illegal boy racers and very noisy), and close to the Aberdeens promenade.

Haar, a local fog, kept us in port all of Saturday when we were supposed to be away. But it was clearly unsafe to leave.

July 23, 2006
Earlier to the boat, and it looked clear in Aberdeen, but the Haar had taken hold outside the harbour.

We heard Wishbones, shoot past the harbour and check in with Aberdeen VTS, so we spoke with her again as she headed upto Fraserburgh.

At 11:00 VTS gave us permission to make way, and we dropped lines and headed to Peterhead. As we left the harbour, we could get the sails up and in the beautiful warm and clear day sailed almost all the way to Peterhead. Once safely moored up and warmly welcomed, ordered out and had Thai delivered to the boat! Ate outside watching the sunset.

Peterhead at night

July 24, 2006
Making way to Whitehills, not really enough wind and in the end it turns into a 10 hour marathon. The tide, and lack of wind around Rattray Head meant it took some engine to get us around the head and into the Moray Firth.

A boat that didn't make it into Fraserborough

Whitehills is a tight harbour to get into but with care, you can get in. The Harbour master's assistant was helpful and when the Harbour Master, David, returned everything was paid for and sorted (good people).

Great little harbour, spectacular views, and wireless internet. What more do you need?

Tight Harbour entry at Whitehills

July 25, 2006
Refueled in Whitehills, and with a lazy morning made way to Lossimouth. A great blow initially, and a great sail. For the first time in a while, we could heal the boat over and get 6.2 knots undersail.

Just before lunchtime in the middle of Spey bay, the wind died, so we pootled along at 1.5 to 2 knots having lunch and being inspected by curious seals, eventually turned the engine on to make the last 5 miles to Lossimouth, running in along the Spey bay.

Lossimouth beach. Fantastic !

Straight into finger pontoon and then a walk along the beach and ice-cream

We parked next to another Dufour yacht, which seems to be a rare thing, but even stranger when we met the owner, it used to be called Knight Explorer and be owned by the same company that owned this one.

Knight Explorer and Knight Vision, twins

July 26, 2006
A day of sorting out keys for the boat and a trip to the Glen Moray Distillery in Elgin.

Glen Moray Stills

July 27 until August 2, 2006
Away from the boat, for a trip to Damme, in Belgium.

Damme Party

A pleasant trip to celebrate my father's 70th birthday. Good food, pleasant company and beautifully charming accomodation.

August 3, 2006
Lossimouth to Findhorn, with an interesting entry. As the pilot says, take care, and though we did, at least twice we bounced off the bottom in the 1 metre swell present as we came in. Easy to take up a mooring and spectacular views of the wide clear bay, small village of Findhorn and the dark mass of Culbin Forest with its shore of golden sand. A very settled mooring and a great view of the stars after dark and the sounds of the seal colony on the sand bank near the entry to the bay.

Findhorn Bay

August 4, 2006
A day to visit another distillery, this time in Forres. Wonderful larch wash backs and lovely smelling whiskey, so more added to the boat stores. Forres feels old fashioned somehow, but not in a bad way. Good pie + chips in Grant park, and back to Findhorn via bus.

A stop at the boatyard in Findhorn to buy large heavy duty D-shackels to use as line weights the next time we are in harbour. Having stowed purchases, a trip across the bay in the dingy to Culbin Forest to explore, supposed to have wild cats, red squirrls, pine martins and the biggest variety of lichens in UK - we saw some of the lichens.

Seals near Culbin Forest

August 5, 2006
Tiredness has set in and we needed a day of doing nothing, and so we did just that. The traveling to Belgium and rushing back to the boat has caught us up.
August 6, 2006
Findhorn to Cromarty. We are slowing making our way to the Caledonian canal, but the restricted exit given by Findhorn bay meant we moved to Cromarty, for better tides into the canal.

Gun emplacements near on the Entry to Cromarty

After 3 attempts to get the anchor to take, we gave up. So much for a good anchorage. We found a mooring buoy, and after a couple of goes, because of the wind, and finally moored up. It was unfortunate we could not get into the harbour. It would have been nice to visit yet another weather forecast named town.

It blew hard, and the nights sleep was disturbed, but comforted by BBC world service, and we got up earlier than expected.

August 7, 2006
Up early and underway at 06:38 and past Chanonry Point, seeing the dolphins playing and chasing salmon before 09:00, despite Liz's best efforts no decent pictures. Under the bridge at Inverness and straight into the Clachnaharry sealock and into the Caledonian canal.

Chanonry Point

Inverness Bridge

The Caledonian Canal could be done end to end in 14 hours spread over two days, but we are going to take our time and with family around us, it seems a pity to speed past everything.

A day to vital the boat, and fix things, ready for Liz's family to join us. Inverness is a striking town, and it was strange to see a town so full of tourists and so so many good places to eat.

As always laundry needs to be done, but we shocked at laundry costs ! How Grimsby was missed and it's facilities.

August 8, 2006
A morning to finish vitaling, and to do some chandlery. Unfortunately Caley Marina had completely failed with our early request for lifejackets and for fenders !

Locks into the Seaport Marina

Family arrived in the afternoon and we packed them into the boat. A quick refresher course on the rules and how things work, and then a good long dinner. Good to be among friends.

August 9, 2006
Refuels the boat, and the made a complete mess of pulling away from the fueling birth to start the Muirtown lock staircase. They shut the bridge on me !

I recovered by composure, and made the second bridge opening and into the locks. After the locks, came Tomnachurech Bridge, and entry into Loch Ness.

Loch Ness on a Stormy Day

Urquhart Castle

The weather had set in and it was windy and unfortunatly not in our favour so all under engine before mooring up at the pier in Foyers Bay.

A pleasant walk up the to the falls, and then back to the boat for a dinner of beer and fajitas. Perfect

August 10, 2006
Cast off and a chance to sail, up Loch Ness for a while, as we headed from Foyers to Fort Augustus and the half way point.
August 11, 2006
An early start and straight into the Fort Augustus locks. The whole lock staircase for just us, no Caley Cruisers and we shot up the locks, all under human power.

FortAugustus Locks

We left the locks and headed for Loch Oich, and moored on a pontoon under Invergary Castle for a filling breakfast, before heading on to the Great Glen Water Park

Breakfast at Invergary Castle

What excellent value for money and a chance to swim and do water sports in the safety of Loch Oich.

We headed from there to Laggan Locks, through a remarkable avenue of trees, we arrived to be eaten alive by the midges and to discover that no shore water was available as it had some sanitory issues.

August 12, 2006
A pleasant run to Neptunes staircase, a run of 9 locks down to the sea. Unfortunately very raining on occassions

Neptune's Staircase

Everyone was tiring and in the afternoon, we curled up to watch movies on board and drink tea.

August 13, 2006
Up early again this time to get down Neptunes staircase to Corpach and the sea lock At the sea lock before 11:00 and then a quick taxi dash to collect the car from Fort William. A visit to Morrisons for more breakfast things, and then back to the boat.

Waved goodbye to family and the commenced the tidying of the boat, and a little walk into Fort William for dinner with Lizzie.

Corpach Sea Lock

August 14, 2006

Views from the boat

Corpach to Kerrara Island and Oban Yacht Haven. Amazing improvement in the weather after the week of mixed rain and sunshine. A great day sailing through the lochs and arriving and hour before we expected in Oban. Laundry done and a walk up to Hutchinsons' monument (he launched the first regular steam packet service allowing communication between the islands), amazing view up the Firth of Lorn.

August 15, 2006

Into Oban on the free water taxi from the marina on Kerrera Island, were only going for a couple of hours but spent nearly all day there "shopping", though we did have our first excellent seafood lunch and ticked off another distillary, were not very impressed though that may have been more to do with the staff's attitude than the quality of the whisky.

Cute Cow

August 16, 2006
Oban to Croabh (pronounced Croove). No wind, intermittent sunshine and porpoise. A very "interesting" and thankfully short passage, through Cuan Sound. It's a small gap between island's that therfore subject to tidal eddies, whirlpools and overfalls, with the odd hidden rock to avoid. Fun in a wierd way, though we did it under almost the most perfect conditions. Croove marina - village tiny and artificial looking, good beer in pub, LOTS of wine on "Shuna" a neighbours'shiny new boat and wireless.
August 17, 2006
Croabh to Jura, we managed to get the sails up and they were helping us move along at about 3 knots, so to make sure we didn't get caught in the nasty tides north of Jura (the Admiralty classify the Corryvrekan as "unnavigable") we did have to put motor on. Of course the moment we pulled up to catch a mooring buoy outside Jura distillary, then we had wind.

The Paps of Jura

The lobster pot works !

August 18,2006
A day on Jura, walking to a pleasantly wild garden of a house owned by the Riley-Smiths (they used to be in brewing in Tadcaster and owned the big house next to where I was at school a very long time ago). Then a walk back and Jura distillary - good.

Jura House Gardens

None of the Red Deer spotted for which the island is named, apparently they've all been rounded up into the wild northern part of the island for the annual census and 'population control', we did'nt manage to blag any venison - bum.

August 19, 2006
After another disturbed night of very heavy rain and strong wind, we sailed off our mooring out of the anchorage and into flat calm. Eventually we got to Port Ellen on Islay, we slid gently past the ferry and were gliding up to a pontoon, the engine got put in reverse so we could stop and not run into the pontoon. The engine made its normal noise and NOTHING HAPPENED, we were not slowing down. Luckily someone was waiting to catch our lines so he hauled us to a stop with only one small dent in the bow.

Knight Vision with a dent

Port Ellen's another harbour with resident seal and is a beautiful place it's also within walking distance of three of the Islay distilleries, which is good because it looks like we may be here a while! After reading all our books, uncovering every access and poking at all the bits we can understand we can't find anything wrong with the transmission, so either it's a problem with the prop. end or the crank shaft end of the saildrive or, worst case, it's the gear box and a whole new sail drive.

Port Ellen's Resident Seal

August 20, 2006
A lazy day, first good sleep in two days. When the sun came out we explored Port Ellen and contributed a little to the local economy. Then as the afternoon and evening settled down to rain we settled down to movies and junk food curled into the big sofa space in the main cabin - it's good to be plugged into mains, there are much worse places we could be stranded.
August 21, 2006
Called on the local chandler/boat mechanic. Phil came and checked all the things we had checked and told us that yes they were alright. His suggestion was that we dive under the boat and check the prop. Liz tried it and though the water became quite comfortable after a short time and she remembered how to snorkle she was not heavy enough to get under the boat (hurrah) and too short sighted to get a good look (boo).

So Phil called up Mike and Mike turned up with his scuba gear and a couple of mates to act as audiance and the entertainment began. Diagnosis - our propeller had fallen off! Once we knew we could tell Mike just about where it must have happened and after 20 miniuts of diving up Mike came with 3 Dshackles, a round thing, a beer glass (intact) and our propeller! So now all we have to do is wait a few days for the bits to arrive to fit it back on.

After this we set of cheerfully to Ardbeg and had a wonderful afternoon, only 3 miles to walk, good lunch and entertaining tour of the distillery and just as we left the bus passed, so we wimped out and caught the bus.

Ardbeg's Stills

August 22,2006
Hired bikes for two days for a very reasonable price and cycled the 10 miles to Bowmore. The distillary at Bowmore is one of the few that at malts at least some of it's own barley, so it's the first time we've seen malting. Very happy to let us try lots of different Bowmore whiskies, so we had to sit down for a while afterwards!

Hard Arsed Bike Riding

We cycled back on a different, slightly longer road that seemed to have too much UP in it - VERY saddle sore by the end of the day, required long hot shower and medicinal gin and tonic.

August 23, 2006
Laundry first thing today, no word from Phil regarding the propeller so we cycled into the wilderness beyond Ardbeg. Picnic on the sea shore, watching seals, herons, cormerants and buzzards, deer hoof prints but no deer, unfortunatly no otters either. Called by Phil as we headed back, parts had arrived, diver called and propeller being refitted. So when we got back we had a working boat again and only a modorately expensive bill. So now all we have to do is fill the cracks in the gel coat.

After lunch snoozes

August 24, 2006
We left Islay and headed, with the fixed prop to Ardminish bay. Unfortunately the prop didn't feel quite right, so the crossing was a little frought, once we discovered this about two hours before mooring. A truely gorgeous part of the world though and on our list of places to return and explore.
August 25,2006
A dash to Crinan boat yard. A hurried call to Derek secured the services of Paul, who came out and looked at the engine once we arrived.

Two hours later,after some careful measuring with a micrometer, Paul had removed a small shim from the saildrive, (It wasn't the prop this time !) and things looked dramatically better. We took a mooring for the evening and let the pressures of the last days drift away and Lizzie baked cheese scones and bread rolls in our tiny oven.

August 26, 2006
Woke to pouring rain. Went ashore by dingy to do boat shopping, in pouring rain. Snuggled down on the sofa with hot drinks and the radio to wile away the morning and then noticed one of our fenders floating off into the distance. So I jumped barefoot into the puddle in the dingy and drove off to sucessfully effect a rescue. At lunchtime we moved the boat into the Crinan canal, in the pouring rain and waited out the afternoon until Lesley, Becky and the boys arrived at which point the sun came out. After everyone was loaded and trussed up in lifejackets we made it a couple of miles along the canal and stopped off for the night overlooking "The Moss".

August 27, 2006
All the 'up' locks this morning and, unlike the Caledonian, not in one staircase, so the boat could not be pulled through from lock to lock, but we had to motor into each lock, throw, catch and control ropes for each individual lock, add to that another boat behind us so we had to sit at the front of each lock (a bad place to be) and we managed to look like complete amatures for the first three locks. A stop at the top for a well deserved breakfast before we carried on and started the 'down' locks - much easier and the boys could get off and 'help' operate the locks.

We stopped for the night at Cairnbaan, a very pleasant pub, a short but rather 'middle earth' walk to look at "cup and ring" prehistoric rock art and more rain.

August 28, 2006
The final streach of the canal down to the sea was finished in the most pleasant weather we'd had, still rain showers, but rain with the sun shining! The forcast was for force 6 winds later in the afternoon, but we thought we could make it the 9 nmiles from the end of the canal to East Loch Tarbert. Becky, Alex and Joshua elected to sail with us and Lesley went back to Crinan to pick up the car. We had an excellent if somewhat brisk sail down Loch Fyne (top speed 7kn), Joshua loved it, Becky got rather cold and Alex was very uncertain but bravely saw it through until both he and Josh went to sleep on deck just before we got into Tarbert. We moored up, Lesley and the car were waiting for us, dinner of local seafood for the grown ups who all felt like it must be 1am by the time it was actually 21:00, so an early night.
August 29, 2006
Becky, Lesley and the boys headed off home after breakfast and left us feeling very low and off kilter. Basically this is it, we're almost finished, and we found ourselves unable to decide what to do with ourselves. So we felt sad for a bit, did a HUGE load of laundry, explored Tarbert (East and West), had a excellent dinner and stayed another night.
August 30, 2006
A beautiful morning for our last sail of this trip, though they also issued a strong wind warning for the afternoon. Every stitch of sail out as we left Tarbert and just enough wind to move us, it took 2 hours to cover 5 miles- so we put the engin on for an hour, had lunch, dodged fishing boats and spotted porpoise.

By Arran we were sailing again and the wind was starting to pick up and by the last hour things were getting a little exciting. For the first time in ages we put reefs in the mainsail and furled away some of the genoa and were still doing nearly 7kn with the sea begining to build - a great way to finish. Even better was that we were safely moored up and munching on chips before the torrential downpour and 50kn gusts began. Now all we have to do is clean Knight and put her to bed for a time. We're going to miss her but are so greatful we have had the chance to spend so long getting to know our boat and look forward to all the other shorter adventures we're going to have.

Knight Vision