56˚ 25’ N
5º 30’ W
Content complete to – (Date | Place)
On the Sunday (30th) after some chores we took the bikes past Conwy castle where the harbour/beach was busy with Sunday crowds, & across the river to Llandudno Junction. Later we went west along the coast past the sand dunes & mudflats we had sailed past yesterday.
Then on Monday (1st July) we caught a train home for some appointments we had to keep. We had a very pleasant week at home & caught up with friends & neighbours, as well as the ‘must do’ chores. The following Monday we reversed the train route & returned to Conwy & the boat. Part of the plan to go round Conwy castle that afternoon was sabotaged by a late running train, but we returned by bike early evening, & walked the ramparts around the medieval Town instead. These gave lovely views over the castle & surrounding countryside, & we rounded off with a pub supper.
Tues 9th July.
A mid morning start, as although we planned a fairly long trip, we had
to wait for the tide to rise & cover the flap gate before we could leave
the marina & wend our way back out along the narrow channel over the
shallows. Initially there was a sailing
breeze, but that died early afternoon, so with distance to cover the motor went
on & off as bursts of wind came & went. There were a plenty of seabirds
around, a few fishing boats & in the shipping lane round
We were unhappy as the holding is unreliable here so after supper we moved to a mooring that another boat told us was available for the night. A much better option than a sleepless night.
Wed 10th July.
A relaxed start along the coast timed to catch
the tide right to pass through Calf Sound between the I.O.M. & the little
island (the Calf) off its SW corner.
Another ‘bird’ haven & a porpoise glimpsed at the entrance. Then N up the coast
past Port Erin & on to Peel where the flapgate
& bridge opened to allow us in to the
Having enjoyed the I.O.M on our previous visit in 2006 we decided to get a 3 day transport pass again. So thursday we bused to Ramsey, took the electric tram S to Dhoone Glen, for a walk down the lovely wooded valley to the coast, before continuing to Laxey & taking the rack railway up Snaefell.
The mountain was warm, sunny & clear of cloud, but there
was a haze over the sea so one could not see the foreign lands further
afield. Back in Laxey
we continued to
Saturday bus to
Then more buses, first to Ramsey for a walk round its drying harbour, then on to Kirk Michael where we walked a route on disused rail track to the lovely Glen Mooar & finally back along a length of sandy beach with sand cliff behind it, to the bus back to Peel.
Sun 14th July. Some chores & a provisioning run prior to departure then with an hour to spare Doug chose to walk up the hill opposite the marina for its excellent views, while I chose to briefly revisit the Castle.
At 2 pm a large number of boats (including us) were waiting
for the tide to make & cover the flap gate.
It was late, but finally the gate opened, the bridge lifted & we let
the scrum go before following the queue out, & through the outer harbour. Initially we could only motor sail, there
were rafts of birds, jellyfish & one could see
It was light til late & the evening cabaret was the locals paddle boarding around the bay. A very peaceful place.
Mon 15th July.
Departed the anchorage initially motorsailing,
mid morning nice sailing, around midday wind fitful so on off motoring as we
crossed the seaward end of
Overnight the wind increased, a katabatic effect we thought, so unusually we kept the anchor drag alarum on all night. Not needed!
Tues 16th July.
A prompt start to catch a helpful tide up the coast.
Mid morning arrived at
That afternoon we caught a bus to the bird observatory at the West Lighthouse end of the island. We were able to look across & down (& hear & smell) at hundreds of nesting birds – mostly guillemots, razorbills & lesser numbers of puffins.
We walked back & explored the little hamlet at the harbour.
Wed 17th July.
Departed Rathlin about 9am – more timely than we knew as the dredger man wanted to move
the bit of pontoon we were tied to that day! Round the headland we had stood on, this time
surrounded by rafts of swimming birds (the Auks as before but also Manx Shearwaters)
& a brief sighting of a Bonxie (Great Skua) – the pirate of the seas. Then a pleasant sail until we were across the
shipping lane & close to
A ‘reminder’ recce of the town.
Next morning (thur 18th) we awoke to find a wet mist enveloping the island, with non existent visibility. Our plan to cycle to the Oa – a chunk of moor & headland to the west of Port Ellen - went on hold (we know from our last visit here that we would see nothing). Finally mid afternoon the sun drove the mist away & we did cycle to the Oa – as steep as we remembered! We walked a circuit of the headland, the views were good but we failed to see the golden eagles for which it is famous.
Fri 19th July. A prompt departure for what turned out to be a nice light airs beat with very little motoring. Doug did try fishing occasionally, but with the usual result! Mid afternoon we entered Loch Tarbert on Jura & went on up through the narrows to the inner loch to anchor. 34.0 nm. There was only one other boat at anchor here – about 1 mile away, so it was very quiet, peaceful, & scenic with views across to the Paps of Jura.
On sat (20th Jul) we took the kayaks through Cumhann Beag (an even narrower narrows) followed by various doglegs interspersed by wider pools, all between rock cliffs to the Hole or Top Pool, about 1½ miles each way. As it very narrow the tides can be significant – we went in on the last of the ebb & had to sprint between pools. We then returned before the flood could get going.
N.B. Anyone thinking of entering should study the Pilot book exceedingly carefully.
We also had our first sea swim of the year that afternoon, & a third boat came in & anchored.
Sun 21st July.
A relaxed start retracing our route across the inner
loch & through the narrows to outer Loch Tarbet,
& watched by a seal, to the sea. Then started another very
nice sail with very little motoring all day. At around 1.30 pm we were off the gap between Jura
& Scarba that leads to the notorious
This is N of Seil island & close to
Mon 22nd July.
Our start was somewhat delayed by huge masses of weed wrapped round the
anchor. It took Doug between 10 & 15
mins to clear while I motored
the boat backwards so the 4 M long tendrils did not foul the prop. Then we motored to Oban Marina, on