June 2015 - Wales, Ireland, Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Scotland
Isle of Man | Laxey | Laxey Water Wheel
June 24, 2015
Dear Family and Friends, We had a wonderful 5 days in Peel Harbor on the Isle of Man. The Isle of Man is an independant state under the protectorate of Britian so technically not part of the UK. We arrived during the final days of TT (Tourist Trophy) motorbike races so the island was bustling with activities. We visited the Peel Castle which included an excellent audioguide. The relatively new House of Manannan Museum gave an interesting interactive history of the island. The Creek Inn was lively all day with bikers who came to watch the races. Most were our age and older so we had some interesting conversations over a few pints and enjoyed some nice meals there.
Friday we took a bus to Ramsey to "watch" the final TT race. We saw the first two laps whiz by before the race was called and delayed due to an accident on the track. Really the bikes raced by so fast you could barely see colors let alone numbers. We decided rather than wait another 2 hours to see the finish we'd take a bus to Laxey and visit the 1854 huge waterwheel used to pump water from a lead mine. The still operating great wheel measures 22 meters across and can draw 1140 liters of water per minute. We walked the trails back to visit the mine and cistern. Beautiful grounds and hiking trails.
Saturday we decided to buy an all day transportation ticket of the island. We took a bus to Castletown and visited Castle Rushen. We had hoped to visit the Nautical Museum but it hadn't reopened yet from it's winter makeover:-( Then we took an old steam train to Douglas. We caught a bus to the Electric Train which we rode to Laxey again. We took an electric train from there up to Snaefell mountaintop and back. Great views riding up but the top was in the clouds. Back in Douglas we missed the last horse drawn tram (included in our all day ticket)so we walked the 2 mile promenade back to the bus station.
Sunday we walked 5.5 miles above Peel along the coastal cliffs, through pastures to Glen Maye waterfall. Beautiful sunny day again. We took a taxi back to Peel where we had dinner at The Creek Inn. We shared our excellent meals of thai monkfish/prawns and hake/queenies.
Northern Ireland | Belfast | Belfast Harbor
Monday we motor sailed to Belfast Marina in downtown Belfast, Northern Ireland near the Titantic Museum.
Tuesday we walked about Belfast enjoying the political murals in rougher parts of town and the more modern city center. We met a man from New Mexico and his lady friend from Belfast who drove us up to Belfast Castle for tea. Tea was really supper for them but we had coffee and dessert:-) It's fun meeting people like this as we learn more about the local feelings about history and the future of their city. They dropped us off at a great new Lidl's supermarket not far from the boat.
Wednesday we did laundry as it was free at the marina. We spent at least 3 hours at the Titantic Museum. We thought it might be hokey but not at all. It was quite impressive with excellent interactive displays and movies. We got into a vehicle that took us through a simulation of the workers building the ship. Great fun and well worth the price of admission.
Scotland | Gigha Island | Ardminish Bay | Achamore Garden
Thursday we sailed from Belfast to Glenarm, Northern Ireland. We visited the beautiful Walled Garden and Tea Room in Glenarm on Friday. Then we had a nice walk through the forest along the Glenarm River to a waterfall.
Saturday we crossed the North Channel Irish Sea to the Isle of Gigha, Scotland where we picked up a mooring. It was rainy and windy Sunday so we did boat chores and changed the fuel filters on our main engine. We had skype so we were able to call home for Father's Day.
Monday we had problems with the dingy motor so we finally got a tow to shore. We walked to Achamore Garden and enjoyed the 40 acres of flowers, trees, and shrubs. Later we decided to walk to the old mill but after a lovely hour we only came to a bay across the island so we turned back. Handyman Al got the dingy motor fixed so we didn't have to row against wind back to the boat.
Yesterday we had an early tide motorsail to Loch Craignish and stayed on a pontoon in Ardfern, Scotland. We had a nice lunch at The Crafty Kitchen and took a short walk about town. We were a bit tired after our walk yesterday. Today we another early start calm seas no wind so we could see the many eddies (wild) as we traveled through some very tidal areas to Oban, Scotland. We are actually across the bay from Oban on Kerrera Island and we have a free ferry to the town. Nice town with lots of old buildings and winding streets. We did stocked up at Lidl's supermarket and made it back to the ferry in light mist before the rain began. I have a haircut appointment in the morning and we plan to explore Oban a bit more. Scotland has been colder and wetter than we expected. The highs barely reach 60 but we are hopeful that summer may still arrive. Hope all is well. Love and God Bless Sally and Al
Ireland | Irish Sea | Dolphins Alongside Artemis
June 11, 2015
Dear Family and Friends, We had a week stay in the Milford Haven, Wales area...2 nights at anchorage, 2 on a mooring and 3 in Milford Marina. We enjoyed our stay on River Carew Lewrenny Quay mooring. Had a nice lunch at the Quayside Restaurant then went for a two hour loop walk that took us through some woods, along the River Carew, a beach and a pasture before returning to Lewrenny.
Strong wind weather forecast forced us into Milford Haven Marina. Nice town with Lidl's supermarket and Tesco nearby. We took a bus to a lovely medieval town Tenby, Wales on the Bristol Channel. Then we stopped off in Pembroke for a quick look at the castle. The wind blew 35-45 for three days. Last Wednesday we left the marina and anchored overnight in the Dale anchorage again. No lobster traps this time:-)
We motored 84nm to Arklow, Ireland on Thursday. We had a pleasant surprise as we had heard some horror stories of difficult dockage and dirty water. The old fishing harbor "The Dock" on the port as you enter the river now has a new dock with finger pontoons for about 20 boats. Nice surprise after a long day.
Another forecast of a 3 day gale so we left right away Friday and went to Poolbeg Yacht Club marina in Dublin, Ireland. Friendly Yacht Club. It was about 20min. walk to the city center or a 10min walk and a tram ride from The Point. We walked around Dublin for 6 hours that first day just to orient ourselves with the city visiting O'Connell street and The Spire, Trinity College, Christ Church, St. Patricks Cathedral Saturday was windy cold and drizzly so we took the tram to the National Museum.
Sunday we went to mass at St. Mary's Cathedral Pro then caught a tram out to Kilmainham Gaol. Great guided tour and museum 14 of the leaders of the 1916 Rising were held and executed here. We also went to see The Book of Kells and the Long Room at Trinity College.
Monday we just motored 9nm to Howth Marina. This is a beautiful marina and would be a better place to have sat our a blow but it was a good thing we had gone to Poolbeg Marina as Howth was full for a Race Weekend that never happened because of the gale. We filled our diesel tanks for the first time since the Netherlands last fall. It was duty free so a little cheaper at 1.15 euro a liter. It was a sunny quiet day so Al did some sewing repairs on our jib.
After fighting with SW winds for weeks now when we can finally use them for a nice sail we get nothing but light northerly winds in forecast for all this week. So we motor-sailed to Ardglass, Northern Ireland today.
We had a fantastic sail to Peel Harbor on the Isle of Man today. We had to anchor in the outer harbor and wait for the tide so the flap to the cill could be opened. They opened late today because tide was slow to fill in due to neaps and pressure but we're snug for the next few days.
We're having a fun day today enjoying the sunshine and warm weather. We walked about Peel and then visited the wonderful Peel Castle (English Heritage/National Trust) with excellent audio guide. No internet aboard so had lunch here at the Creek Inn and catching up on our emails. Lots of things to do here in town plus elsewhere on the Island so we'll stay a few days. Tomorrow is the final race for the TT races (motorcycles going on the roads 190mph). Don't think we'll be renting a car tomorrow!! Planning to get some hiking in. Hope all is well and we look forward to hearing from you. Love and God Bless Sally and Al