Sugar 'n' Spice - Diary July 2006

Sat 1st July

am round tuits

pm stroll ashore & local shop - lovely cake!

Sun 2nd July

alongside fishing boat at pier for water

Depart Scalpay - several dolphin passing & in distance

Picked up visitors buoy in Loch Maddy - 25nm trip

Stroll ashore & ate in Loch Maddy Hotel - pleasant

Mon 3rd July

Depart Loch Maddy (pass a Dufour44 entering) for 7.5nm trip to Bagh a Bhiorain, off Loch Eport .

Very secluded anchorage - the only other vessel we saw was a rib trip boat that was obviously very surprised to see us there. He'd probably bet his passengers that they wouldn't see another boat! We did some rubber dinghy exploring & Doug fished & foraged mussels.

Tues 4th July

Left anchorage. Spinnaker up down up!

? Minke whale crossed ahead. Later shark fins & porpoises at a distance

Visitors mooring at Loch Boisdale, near ferry pier - 30.5nm

Wed 5th July

Ashore & stroll + local shop

Depart Boisdale. Shark fins patrolling mouth of bay.

23.5nm Castle Bay, Barra visitors buoy.

This is for Doug - should have been round Britain 1985

Ashore, stroll, shop.

Thur 6th July

Consider forecast - need to move

Depart Barra - reefed main, new small headsail in use for real

Radar watch as vis poor, 2 headsails set

Rain, vis better, but still radar watch, main genny furled away

Approaching Mull can smell the pines!

Anchored in Doirlinn Tobermory, Mull - a one boat only anchorage away from the madding crowd - very peaceful night!

Fri 7th July

Moved to Tobermory pontoon - not in almanack! - fueled & watered

pm nice walk along coast & Aros park. Nice watefalls then a mistake to use a 10yr old book for walk details as path had vanished so lots of retracing of steps! Did see a hedgehog - but it probably shouldn't have been out that time of day..

Lovely meal at Tobermory Hotel.

Sat 8th July

Round tuits

pm very wet walk to lighthouse & back - nice anyway

Sun 9th July

25.5nm trip to Oban (Kerrera)

Several sightings of porpoises

Ferry to Oban to sort trains & things

Mon 10th July

Early ferry to catch scenic train to Glasgow then on home - 12 hours!

Mon 17th July

Return trip -very crowded so seemed very long (12 hours again)

Tues 18th July

Chores (but I had taken the laundry up the night before which helped)

Doug changed the engine oil.

Ferry to Oban for supplies.

Afternoon hot but we walked south on Kerrera, passing some very peaceful (thankfully - large horns!) highland cattle & climbed a small hill for the views.

Wed 19th July

Short trip (16nm) with some interesting pilotage to Asknish Bay where we anchored close to Hotel & Gardens..

Both swam for first time this trip & Doug snorkled for some time. He thought he'd found clams for supper, but only ended up with a couple of good ones.

We had an amazing display in the evening of gannets diving incredibly close to the boat. They were certainly finding fish.

Thur 20th July

Ashore & round Arduaine Gardens. Very nice rhododenron woods & although a lot were over there were enough rarities to mean that there were still some (mostly the unusual colours) out. It showered while we were there but the woods were thick enough that we stayed dry!

Lots of kelp on the anchor when we left.

Mix of sail & motor to Craighouse, Jura (26nm) where we picked up a mooring. Another D40 on the next mooring - the first we have seen this trip (Pipedreamer Six reg Berwick).

Went ashore & strolled to old mostly deserted crofting village & quenched thirst at pub.

Fri 21st July

Misty start so left Jura with radar watch & again mix of sail & motor to Port Ellen, Islay (21nm).

Apparently we had just missed the Queen who was using a MacBraine's ferry for a cruise (now Brittania has gone), but there were still lots of police boats etc about.

Stroll through village & around headland.

Then out to supper in local Hotel - fairly Fawlty Towers. Imagine a Scottish Hotel with no smoked salmon!

Sat 22nd July

Cycled in mist to the Mull of Oa - supposedly the home of peregrines, eagles & choughs, but the only way we could have seen them for the fog was if they'd sat in the middle of the road. We should have listened to the guy who stopped his car to say 'it was thick up there' & saved ourselves some hills!

Then we carried on toBowmore - a fairly quick level cycle ride. Bowmore has an unusual Fround church at the top of a fairly steep main street. For the return we cycled along the Big Strand, a lovely golden sand beach running about 7 miles along Laggan Bay, much harder work but far more interesting.

I lost some glasses overboard watching a seal in the harbour. Doug tried diving to find them but there was too much weed so if anybody meets a seal wearing glasses.........

Sun 23rd July

Left Port Ellen on a beat to go round Mull of Kintyre, but stay out of North Channel shipping lane. Mind you we only saw 2 vessels in it all day. Did some weird tacks & gybes at one point to shake weed off rudder.

Anchored off the North of Sanda Island opposite the end of Kintyre after 52 nm. Looked lovely but rather too late to go ashore.

Mon 24th July

Early departure from Sanda anchorage to catch tide through channel.

Motor, sail, Doug fishing (ie very slow) then motor again to Troon Marina (32nm).

Tidy boat & wash decks then shop for supplies.

Tues 25th July

Di Statham, a sailing friend from Colchester, arrived to join us for a week (plane from Stanstead to Prestwick - 5mins on the train to Troon - so very convenient) at 10.30am, so midday we departed for a gentle sail, then motor when the wind died completely, to anchor in Lamlash Bay in Arran (15nm). Went ashore for a stroll around with Doug & myself trying to remember bits from our previous visit 10 years ago in Rainbow! A glorious sunset.

Wed 26th July

Ashore again, this time to walk from Lamlash over fields, then up through forest following a burn, & finally up some fairly steep heather slopes to Loch Urie at 420 metres. It was obviously pretty shallow & a very brown peat colour, but was a lovely place to sit on a hot day & survey the views (back to the Lamlash Bay anchorage & across to mainland Scotland. Then down again in half the time it took us to go up, with a lot of banter about tackling Goatfell, at twice the height, & from the sound of it a lot tougher all round! (We kept Di in order for the rest of her week with threats of 'The Goat'!)

The gannets obliged & did another diving/fishing display virtually alongside the boat that evening.

Thur 27th July

Left Lamlash & on past North Arran & Cumbrae to Rothesay in Bute where we used one of the harbour pontoons close to the ferry berths (19.6nm).

Had a walk along the Prom & the outside of the castle ruins.

Di treated us to a very nice meal at a Bistro on the front that evening. Lovely food - thank you Di.

Fri 28th July

A wet morning & we'd thought Di had brought nice weather with her from 'down south'.

Caught a bus to Ascog Hall Fernery. The bus driver forgot to give us a call at the stop so insisted on backing his bus for several hundred yards despite our protests - imagine that 'down south'?

The Fernery was a restored Victorian glass conservatory type building full of ferns from around the world. One was believed to be over 1000 years old. What we didn't realise untyil we walked round the outside was that it was a sunken building so that from outside it had a much lower & flatter aspect.

Returning to Rothesay we explored the Serpentine road - lots of hairpin bends - Up - & a woodland walk & the prom back to the boat, where the paddle steamer 'Waverley' was alongside the ferry berth.

Afternoon sail to Largs marina (9nm) as forecast suggests weather is deteriorating.

Sat 29th July

Walked along the coast path to Largs town, then on a path eastwards & upwards over moorland, roughly following the Gogo Glen. At one point we crossed a lovely side burn (Greeto Water) tumbling down the hill via a succession of rocky pools. We turned round when the path & visibility became less clear & scrambled up the Auchenmaid crags (about 250 metres) for a view over Largs (including RNLI helicopter display) before returning via the town to the boat. The rain arrived in earnest as we got back.

Sun 30th July

Left Largs for Ardrossan harbour further down the coast. A beat, one reef in main & later in genny. (15.6nm). A very good view of the Cumbrae islands. Millport, on Great Cumbrae, is home to the world's smallest cathedral

At Ardrossan we strolled along the beach to Saltcoats to hunt a Sunday roast at the supermarket - suceess - & another - we dodged the showers both ways.

Mon 31st July

Caught the bus to Irvine to see the Scottish Maritme Museum. Irvine itself had a huge shopping precinct (the Rivergate) that actually bridges the river & a pleasant harbourside that was one of the first regeneration projects of that kind. The river mouth looked far more East coast than Scottish coast - shallow, muddy & that day some very nasty currents & waves. The heavens opened as we walked from bus to boat


Saw porpoises in this area mosndays we sailed even if I haven't commented.

Mostly ones or twos, sometimes more, usually at a distance.

Sometimes they were 'huffing'