“But to enjoy the sights [of the Highlands] something must be suffered. Beauty like this is rarely shown except to those who are ready to dare much and endure more” -William Cowper, Sailing Tours, Vol 5, 1895.
Oh, how true! This was my retirement cruise. On 31st May I retired; on 3rd of June we were on our way! Down Channel via Salcombe, Falmouth and Newlyn, we made our way across the Bristol Channel to Milford Haven where we met our friends Nan and Bill. After a brief stay we motored in a flat calm all the way to Troon, 40 hours with the engine on - but it got us to our cruising ground. 10 years earlier, I had promised myself that we would sail past Ailsa Craig, that magnificent beacon at the mouth of the Clyde. Click here to see a far better picture of Ailsa Craig than I managed to get.
A trip into Glasgow to solve a mobile phone and computer problem, while a gale blew; then across the Firth of Clyde and through the Crinan canal. This was another long-held ambition achieved. Thereafter we crept tentatively through the Sound of Mull, and round Ardnamurchan. The excitement of rounding Ardnamurchan, and seeing Skye and the small Isles for the first time must be a unique experience. Thereafter, we went up the Sound of Sleat, through the Kyles and on to Acarseid Mor, which is likely to remain our favourite anchorage for a long time. The weather was not kind, so we sheltered in Badacro before returning south to Oban to pick up Iain and Clare who had returned from New Zealand to share the cruise with us.
Together we did the Oban and Talisker legs of the Classic Malts cruise, but omitted the last leg to Lagavulin as this would take us too far south too soon. Instead we made our way out to Loch Skiport and Loch Boisdale in South Uist. A blistering sail to Coll was followed by a grey passage past Staffa and the Sound of Iona to Tinkers Hole. We completed the circumnavigation of Mull before returning Iain and Clare to Oban.
We spent a few days in company with our friends Mike and Rosemary, parting company at Craighouse. Then we crept through the narrow Ardmore Islands to Lagavulin, before making our departure southward.
Bangor proved to be an excellent, but quite expensive, place to restock; and we had a wonderful welcome at the Strangford Lough Sailing Club where we sat out some rugged weather.
Our intention to go direct to Milford Haven was frustrated by a worsening f/c so we diverted to Holyhead. Once the weather settled, we made a 3-day run direct to Helford. The battery of ships lights that we saw as we rounded Lands End reminded us how few ships we had seen since leaving the Channel.
Thereafter it was an easy run home to the Solent.
One lesson from this cruise was that at £150 to develop the film, it would be cost effective to switch to digital photography, which we did for the following season.
2001 “Scotland” PDF
The Log of this trip is available in the following form to friends. Contact me if you would like to see one of the publications.
If agreed, it will normally be delivered via Dropbox.