After Corinna and Philip made it to Oban where the new crew, Cathy, Dan, Ellen and Linda, came on board, the quite creative epoxy job on the diesel return line finally put an end to our engine problems. From Tobermory on we had quite nice weather and enjoyed the amazing landscapes of Western-Scotland. Highlights of this roughly 550nm long leg, include Loch Moidart (with the old castle ruin at the end of a tricky to navigate body of water), Loch Scavaig (impressive views at the southern shore of the Isle of Skye) and the Crinan Canal (where the locks are operated manually by the crew), as well as many beautiful towns, distilleries, breweries, Irish pubs etc.
All this combined with numerous overnight sails and weather changes when we needed them made this a very memorable trip.
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The day started at Isle of Skye. After a lovely overnight in Loch Scavaig, we awoke to another sunny day. A team of four left the boat at 8:30 am to hike our new surroundings. Two stayed behind to prepare breakfast. The terrain was mountainous and rocky, yet pleasantly not slippery. Almost immediately, we were a group of three and one, as Philip climbed to the top like a fast mountain goat with his camera around his neck, and thus, the three Nahant chicks headed out on an easier path. We climbed up and over rocks, walked through marshy grasses, found a fresh water river, and a beautiful rainbow! After returning from the hike (and 5 shower-less days), we decided to plunge off Tioga into the crisp, clean, icy waters of Scotland. The water was colder than Nahant, but all so refreshing, except for the placenta-like jellyfish we saw on our departure. Breakfast consisted of eggs, bacon, haggis, sausages, black pudding, some foreign square shaped meat (everyone’s least favorite), and coffee (mmmm). As dozens of seals bid us farewell, we laughed and realized how special this place is.
Next stop, Rhum Island (spelled Rum as well), located due South, to visit the Castle of Kinloch. Of course, there was competition to take the helm under pristine conditions. Once anchored at Rum, we went ashore, and learned that the castle is referred to as “a temple of personal indulgence.” Hmmmmm…. We saw Horses and colts, and learned that the horse ancestry is over a 1,000 years old, and was home to Scotland’s earliest settlers who dropped anchor some 8,500 years ago. The Isle of Rhum was owned by the same family until 1957. We skipped the hour long tour of indulgence, and decided the castle was reflective of one that could be found in Newport, RI. From here, we headed South again to Coll Island. Our plan is to rent bicycles to tour the island. Our sail was uneventful, yet once again, a perfectly beautiful sail with great conversation and peaceful reflection.
The skies started gunmetal gray, and Tioga was safely anchored just shy of the under water telephone cable. At 8am, we set out on Loch Moidart in search of internet access. We bid Castle Tioram goodbye for what we thought would be a brisk sail and a race against the tide to Arisaig. The crew readied the boat for sail, but we waited and waited for the wind. As no wind came, we motor sailed across the Sound of Arisaig into Loch Nan Ceall, a shallow and narrow channel, towards Arisaig Village. The crew heard the distant sounds of bagpipes, when the Hogwarts express steamed into view. A little investigation determined the steam locomotive was The Flying Scotsman. After a quick lunch and internet fix, we traveled onward toward the Isle of Skye with sun and blue skies.
Our new destination provided a welcomed close haul north west sail, where we all took the helm and enjoyed the wind and the company. The approach to the Isle of Skye reminds us of a scene from Jurassiac Park with tall peaks, lush landscape and cascading waterfalls. As we motored deep into the anchorage of Skye, we were welcomed by small seals. They truly looked happy to see us. We dropped the hook in the unspoiled Loch Scavaig which was surrounded by mountains and a picturesque 300 foot waterfall that sparkled on an adjacent mountain. We enjoyed a delicious dinner of salmon, green beans and Corinna’s spruced up rice. And just a wee bit a scotch ;), and hit our bunks as we were lulled asleep by the sounds of the falling water.