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Scotland Sailing
Insights into Sailing in Scotland

The great “Dileas” adventure… (Part 4)

October 29th, 2009 alison

Read Part 3

Time for reflection - Loch Drumbuie

Loch Drumbuie

At half 11 we upped anchor and left Loch Aline. We were headed for Loch Drumbuie (Loch na Droma Buidhe), and as we entered the Sound of Mull we put up the mainsail and drifted downwind towards our destination, enjoying a cuppa enroute. At half 1 we were off the entrance to Loch Sunart and being careful to avoid both Little and Big Stirk we turned to see the entrance of Loch Drumbuie ahead of us. We dropped the sail, motored through the gap, wary of the underwater rock just inside the entrance. After deciding on the traditional spot just to the right of the entrance where only 2 other yachts were anchored, we dropped the hook in 6 metres. With the anchor holding first time we settled to a leisurely lunch and kept an eye on whether or not we were going to drag, as the wind was funnelling through the loch and making us swing about quite a bit. There are numerous options for places to anchor in Loch Drumbuie and as the afternoon progressed more boats arrived with another couple anchoring close to us, many up the head of the loch, and the Glen Massan anchoring on the opposite side (near where the fish farm used to be). The weather was warm despite the funnelling wind, and some children off one of the other boats had gone in swimming, but wetsuits were required!

The next morning we were up early and travelling the 5 miles to Tobermory. We thought we would try to meet up with the West Higland Week fleet and enjoy some of the fun of the regatta. At 10.15 we raised the anchor and headed out into a southeasterly 20kt breeze. However, we had no plans to sail for this short hop as the main aim was to get into Tobermory before the race boats and hopefully get a pontoon berth before they were filled.

As the forecasts had been for windy weather we found Tobermory a little busier than expected, with many cruising boats sitting out the worst of the weather, and only one space left on the pontoons. We made use of the new facilties at the harbour and then sat and waited for the pandemonium to begin. As the racing fleet arrived numerous boats came over to try and get a space on the pontoon, only to be turned away by the harbourmaster after a lucky few had been allowed to raft off. The rest had to go and use the moorings, or anchor around the edges of Tobermory Bay, but it didn’t stop them making it to dry land for the evenings entertainment and the Mishnish and Macgochans were bursting at the seams.

A busy Tobermory about to get busier when the West Highland Week fleet arrives         Tobermory about to get busier

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The great “Dileas” adventure… (Part 3)

October 26th, 2009 alison

Read Part 2

The next day we had planned to head to Oban and try to sneak into Kerrera to berth while all the West Highland Week fleet was out racing. However, we had a change of plan and decided to head for Loch Aline instead where we could spend the night at anchor. Having spent the first part of our holidays in marinas and canals we were looking forward to the change.

We left Craobh and headed for the Cuan Sound, a picturesque narrow channel between the islands of Seil and Luing. We passed by Easdale and headed up the Sound of Luing aiming for the Sound of Mull. There was quite a breeze once we got into the open water and having started with one reef in the main and a well reefed genoa we decided we’d be more comfortable with a second reef and further tested our single line reefing (a pleasant change from the  slab reefing which we were used to!).  Feeling more under control we headed again towards the Sound of Mull passing Insh Island to  starboard, and the entrance of Loch Spelve to port. Just as we were reaching Lady Rock we saw the lead boats in the West Highland Week fleet heading past Lismore Light in the Round Lismore Race. This year they had gone anti-clockwise around Lismore Island. Following close on their heels was the rest of the fleet. Being used to being part of the fleet I hadn’t realised how spectacular it could look, and seeing all the yachts reaching along the island side by side was really fantastic.

West Highland Week fleet off Lismore Light

West Highland Week passes Lismore Light

We carried on up the Sound of Mull passing Glas Eilean to port and as we got closer to Loch Aline’s entrance rolled away the genoa, sailing through the entrance under the power of the main. You need to keep an eye on the ferry leaving Loch Aline as the entrance is quite narrow and meeting the ferry on its way out would have made it feel very tight for space. We dropped the main once inside the loch, decided where to anchor, and tested the windlass for the first time this trip. Anchored in 9m just into south of the entrance we found ourselves nicely sheltered from the southerly winds forecast, and although another 5 or 6 boats joined us throughout the rest of the day it remained peaceful. The plan for the next part was to head for Loch Drumbuie, and then to make the short hop to Tobermory to join in some of the shoreside festivities that accompany West Highland Week.

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The great “Dileas” adventure… (Part 2)

October 23rd, 2009 alison

Read Part 1.

The rain from the previous day had gone when we got up, but it didn’t seem far away. We decided to stay above the canal basin and watch all the boats head through the locks - and as the fleet was heading through for West Highland Week there was almost guaranteed to be some entertainment…

As we had our morning coffee the bottleneck began and we were glad to be tucked in out the way against the wall.

A busier Crinan Canal

Crinan bottleneck

As most of the yachts were heading North through the Dorus Mor most had to be away by lunchtime, and with the bottleneck over we enjoyed a peaceful afternoon and evening with coffee and cake outside the Crinan coffee shop, and later some drinks in the Crinan Hotel bar.

Sunday started a bit sunnier, but with strong winds forecast we decided just to head to Craobh marina, which gave us the option of heading to Oban the next day if the forecast was still for strong winds. We thought we might have seen some of the West Highland Week fleet racing from Craobh to Oban, but we were just a bit too late and just caught the tail end of the fleet rounding the bottom of Shuna, heading up the Sound of Luing and past Fladda Light.

As the weather was nice we extended our sail and went past Craobh, into Loch Melfort to investigate the anchorages and moorings there. Then it was back to Craobh to settle for the evening and enjoy the fabulous sunset.

Berthed at Craobh Marina

"Dileas", and the Craobh sunset

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Updates to Photo Album page

October 20th, 2009 alison

Puilladobhrain's entrance

Check out our updated Cruising Scotland 2009 photo album, and our album of a daytrip on the PS Waverley.

Part 2 of The Great “Dileas” adventure coming soon

Read Part 1 here

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The recipe for Langoustines « a la Tara » (best in the world)

October 7th, 2009 alison

Large langoustines

Large langoustines

Go to Coll. Moor in the Arinagour sound, as close as possible from the jetty (less swell and less rowing, please don’t use the engine on your tender…) Have a walk on this beautiful island. Get fresh bread. Get back to your boat and start boiling a large quantity of sea water. By 3 pm if the sea is rough, and by 4 pm if the sea is fair, look for a blue fishing boat. When it’s heading for the jetty, call him and ask for large size langoustine (they are the biggest we have ever see…). Plunge them into boiling water (yes, it’s the tough part of it, especially for them…). Count 2 minutes when water boils again. Remove from water and let cool for half an hour. It’s time for drinks. Then eat with bread and butter with salt, and a bottle of muscadet, while looking at the sunset over the mooring.

There is no restaurant in the world that can serve you a better meal.



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