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)
- 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.
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 !
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.
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.
- 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
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.
- 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.
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.
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 !
- 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
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.
- 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.
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
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
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
- 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
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!
The trip down the Tyne was full of big things.
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
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.
- July 8,2006
A lazy start to the day with pancakes,strawberries and maple syrup. Then a walk
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.
- 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
- 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
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
- 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.
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.
We also walked along the coast, and back in the sunset with some great views
- July 16, 2006
Matt, took the helm, and we left Arbroath to Stonehaven.
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
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.
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
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.
- 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.
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?
- 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.
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.
- July 26, 2006
A day of sorting out keys for the boat and a trip to the Glen Moray Distillery in
- July 27 until August 2, 2006
Away from the boat, for a trip to Damme, in Belgium.
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.
- 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
- 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.
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
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
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 !
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
- 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.
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.
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
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
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.
- August 14, 2006
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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!
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.
- 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