Saturday, 29 June 2013

Day 52  (26/6/13)  Loch Aline to Port Ellen (Islay)  (70/1090nm)
Depart 0600, Arrive 1830.
Wind NW F3/4. Sun and cloud.  All by engine.   As we entered the Sound of Islay we encountered a tide of up to 3.9 knots [against us], and had to manoeuvre in the channel with great care.  Saw Bunnahabhain distillery.  As we came along the south coast we saw 3 of the ‘great 12’ distilleries – Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig.
Day 53  (27/6/13) Port Ellen
Visited Laphroaig distillery for a tour.  Very good value at £5 – one free dram and a Laphroiag whisky glass.  Met Chris and Jan (holidaying on Islay) who kindly drove us around.  We saw several red deer and visited an ancient ruined church in the south-east of the island.  The evening was spent at the newly rebuilt Islay Hotel listening to traditional music and a fine female  soloist singing in Gallic. This was followed by a nightcap aboard Karla and Frank’s magnificent 55ft aluminium sailing boat from Kiel who were on a tour of the Western Isles.
Day 54  (28/6/13) Port Ellen
Wind NW F7 and rain. Decided to postpone the next move to Campbeltown (Mull of Kintyre) until tomorrow when the wind is forecasted to be less strong .  Excellent Fish & Chips at the Islay Hotel.  Barman Tom says the hotel may soon get a hand pump to dispense real ale from the Islay brewery.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Day 49 (23/6/13)  Stein to Canna  (36/979nm)
Depart 0740, Arrive1430.
Wind S F4. Cloud, rain and heavy swell. Motored.
Entertained by groups of Dolphins for over an hour.  Saw guillemots, puffins, shearwaters and gannets. Decided to inflate dinghy and row to the slipway for a walk around the loch. Saw many large rabbit warrens on steep peaty slopes.  On our return found it impossible to row against the increased wind and had to carry the dinghy half a mile to launch upwind of the boat.
Day 50  (23/6/13) Canna Harbour
Wind N F8 rain and cloud. Stayed on board and read.  No phone or internet connection.
Day 51  (24/6/13)  Canna to Tobermory (Mull)  (41/1020nm)
Wind NW F2/4 Sunny. Sailed and motorsailed.  Saw hundreds of guillemots. Met fellow circumnavigator Rob. Exellent dinner in the Fish Cafe. 
Day 52  (25/6/13) Tobermory to Loch Aline  (12/1032nm)
Depart 1745, Arrive 2000.
Wind W F3/4. Sun and cloud and slight rain.   Went for walk above Tobermory and found local fishmonger.  At Loch Aline fresh salmon in the evening, followed by magnificent Edradour single malt.  Off to Port Ellen (Islay) tomorrow.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Day 48  (21/6/13)  Stornoway to Stein (Skye)  (46/943nm)
Depart 0845, Arrive 1640.
Wind S F2. Motored. Saw Seals, Porpoise, Basking Shark, Puffins and Little Auks. Dinner with friends Pat and Cathy who live in Stein. Much reminiscing about the psychedelic lighting era of liquid displays. Off to Canna tomorrow.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Day 44 to 47  (17 to 20/6/13)  Stornoway Harbour
A fine place Stornoway. Bagpipes in the castle grounds on Tuesday, good beer in the Carlton and fantastic food in the Digby Chick Restaurant. Visited the Callanish neolithic stones - part of a thirty mile circular bus tour. John Eastwood joined as crew on Wednesday. Off south tomorrow to Stein (Skye) or Lochmaddy (North Uist).

Monday, 17 June 2013

Day 43 (16/6/13) Lochinver to Stornoway (Lewis) (39/897nm)
Depart 0800, Arrive 1430.
Wind NE F4/5.
Sunny and a perfect beam wind. Four porpoises appeared briefly.  Basking shark seen in Stornoway Bay.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Day 40 (13/6/13) Gairloch to Lochinver  (39/858nm)
Depart 0930, Arrive 1615.
Wind SW F6.
Lochinver Harbour was enlarged by a £7m EU grant and is now used by large Spanish fishing boat filling Spanish lorries with cod and coley.  The village is small with a famous pie shop (The Lochinver Larder), a fine real ale pub The Caberfeidh (The Stag's Antler) selling Hebridean Gold from Skye and a hotel owned by the Roux Bros.  Above the town is the striking cone shaped Mt Suilven.
Day 41 & 42  (14 to 15/6/13) Lochinver
Excellent ribeye in the Lochinver Larder and fiddle playing in the Caberfeidh...Lochinver is a good place to stop.  Off to Stornoway (Lewis) tomorrow.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Day 36 to 39  (9 to 12/6/13)  Gairloch Harbour
Met up with Rob Cowley (fellow solo circumnavigator) who had sailed via the Orkneys – enjoyed a few pints of Cairngorm ‘Trade Winds’ together and exchanged photos and tales. New dongle arrived for the computer.  Did the washing today.  Put up a washing line in the heads due to near continuous drizzle.  Excellent homemade Gairloch Crab Cakes in the Old Inn this evening. Will move on north tomorrow to Loch Inver before pontoon rot sets in (I will have been here six nights).

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Day 35  (8/6/13)  Gairloch Harbour
Sunny and warm.  Followed a sign to Gairloch Waterfall.  After one hour walking up a steep path through bluebell woods filled with cuckoos, there was still no sign of a waterfall so I returned to the Old Inn for a pint and a fine evening’s entertainment from a Gaelic trad group from Inverness called Ho-Ro. The Group was headed by a very beautiful girl called Rachael who sang and played the bagpipes and low whistle, Calum (accordion) who wrote many of the tunes and Sean on guitar. This is a good place to stay awhile.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Day 34  (7/6/13)  Portree (Skye) to Gairloch  (27/819nm)

Depart 0545, Arrive 1115.
Wind F4 N. Cold but sunny. Motored.
Pontoon mooring in Gairloch Harbour. Very quiet and beautiful.  Lunch at the Old Inn - Steak and Ale Pie and an excellent pint of home brewed ‘Mikes Mild’. Bought a Gairloch crab for tomorrow’s lunch.  Managed to drop my Wifi computer dongle into the Loch.  I will have to wait here several days for a replacement to be sent – no hardship!  Long walk tomorrow.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Day 33  (6/6/13)  Portree Harbour (Skye)
Sunny, cold and windy.  Spotted a loading pontoon with two hour mooring for £5.  Walked around the town (very pretty) and had smoked salmon lunch in the Lower Deck Restaurant.  Off to Gairloch or Loch Inver tomorrow.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Day 32  (5/6/13)  Mallaig to Portree (Skye)  (39/792nm)
Depart 0930, Arrive 1715.
Wind V F2 then N F4. Motored. Sunny.
Stunning mountainous entrance to Portree Harbour. Buoy mooring necessitates inflating dingy on cabin roof and rowing ½ mile to town - I will probably leave this until tomorrow.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Day 31  (4/6/13)  Tobermory to Mallaig  (37/753nm)
Depart 0800, Arrive 1430.
Wind NE F2. Sailed, motorsailed and motored. Warm and sunny.
Mallaig is a beautiful fishing harbour. Had dinner with two friends Cam and Audrey that I had met in Tobermory.  Off to Portree (Skye) tomorrow. 

Day 30  (3/6/13)  Tobermory Harbour
Warm, some sun and cloud. Cleaned the boat and repaired the Volvo engine panel.  Two instrument plastic mounting bezels fell apart (bad design) – fixed with silicone.  Met up with a friend (Eric) and two colleagues in his 880hp 25Kt motor boat.  They are off to Harris and St Kilda tomorrow.  Tomorrow I plan to sail to Mallaig at a leisurely speed of 6kts.
Day 29  (2/6/13)  Banavie to Tobermory (Mull)  (46/716nm)
Depart 0800, Arrive 1900.
Wind V F2/4.  Motored, sailed and motorsailed.  Sun and cloud and occasional rain.
Walked past the famous brightly coloured harbour front houses to the excellent Cafe Fish for a superb bowl of spiced seafood stew served with prawn crackers and wild rice.


Saturday, 1 June 2013

Day 28  (1/6/13)  Fort Ausustus to Banavie (Caledonian Canal)  (23/670nm)
Depart 0730, Arrive 1530.
Wind SW F4. Motored. Sunny with clouds and a few light showers 90C.  Stunning scenery in Loch Oich.  Everywhere is so beautifully kept and well maintained.  Off to Moorings Hotel in Banavie for a good dinner.  Tomorrow I plan to sail to Tobermory  on Mull.
5 Locks today going down.