July 2015 - West Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Ireland
July 31, 2015
Scotland | Canna Island |hiking
Northern Ireland | Giants Causeway
July 26, 2015
Dear Family and Friends, Facebook has certainly made remembering to write a log difficult. Most of this log appeared with pictures in facebook. I can't believe it's been a month since I last wrote July 4th and I apologize for it being such a long log. Sunday July 5th We sailed to Portree on Island of Skye in Scotland. Monday We had a nice bus ride to Dunvegan Castle in Loch Dunvegan on Skye. Nice castle and great garden walks.
Tuesday We sailed to Acairseid Mor anchorage on Rona Island. Beautiful anchorage but tricky entrance. The eddies tried to pull us straight onto the rocks. Two seals were playing or fighting on the rocks and in the water by the boat. One climbed up onto the rocks and had some blood on it's side. The other swam around below him slapping his flipper on the water. Not sure who won that battle... We went for a walk above the harbor and had a nice supper on the grill. Unfortunately around 10:00 PM the wind picked up and our anchor began to drag in the soft mud. We tried to reset but finally decided we didn't like the situation so we left. Once again the eddies grabbed the boat but we were ready for them this time. We had 10nm to return to Portree, 25-30kts of wind and 2-3meter seas. The seas set the boat rolling until we crossed the channel and could head more down wind to Portree. It was dark by the time we arrived so a bit difficult to find an empty mooring. We were so happy to crawl into bed at 1:30. After another cold, wet, windy day Wednesday in Skye we decided it was time to start heading back to Ireland and maybe some warmer weather.
Thursday July 9th we sailed through Kyle Lochalsh by Eilean Donnan Castle down into Lock Duich where we anchored below beautiful mountains known as the Five Sisters which still had snow on them! Quiet night at anchor and then sailed Friday down Kyle Rhea to Isleornsay for another quiet evening. Some more gale force wind in the forecast so we took a berth July 11 at Mallaig Marina for a few days. Jacobite Steam train arrives there once a day better known as the Hogswart Express used in the Harry Potter movies. We had a lovely seafood dinner at Steam Inn.
Monday we sailed to our most favorite spot all summer Canna Island. Lovely anchorage, cute cafe and beautiful hiking on hills above the anchorage. It just had a very warm welcoming feeling to it. Tuesday We sailed by the Isle of Straffa on our way to Coll Island but didn't go ashore. Staffa is called the Island of Pillars as like the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland Straffa was formed when molten basalt solidified into hexagonal crystals (pillars). We had hoped to go ashore and visit Fingal's Cave but seas made it impossible to land the dingy.
Wednesday We had a great spinnaker run along bottom of Skye to Luiing Sound. Then a fast sail down the sound with 5kts current running with us. We moored for the night at Crinan and then locked into the Crinan Canal the next day. The Crinan is only 9 miles long but your canal license allows you to spend 5 nights and 6 days in the canal. It provides a quick passage from Sound of Jura to Loch Fyne in the Clyde cruising area. Once again gale force winds were in the forecast for several days so the Crinan was a happy place to be.
We stayed in Crinan basin for two nights then began our beautiful narrow tree lined passage down the canal. Our first 6 locks were the most difficult. Locking up drives strong currents into the locks and needs a bit more muscle to keep the boat from banging against the walls. Th