Monday, 23 June 2014

The Crinnan Canal

The Crinnan Canal was quite an experience not to be missed. As we arrived at the Ardrishaig sea lock the heavens opened with the first heavy rain of our time in Scotland.

In the sea lock at Ardrishaig.

With money paid, we were shown the ropes through the first couple of locks by the extremely helpful lock keepers. Sue was on the helm, and I was ashore working the locks.

Rob working the locks

This setup seemed quite odd to Sue, as she was manoeuvring the boat with no crew onboard, and also working the ropes . We soon got in to the swing of things, and by the evening closedown we were at the summit above lock 8 at Cairnbaan.

Moored up for the night at Cairnbaan

After a little rain first thing in the morning, the weather improved considerably, and the midges came out to play ( Arrrrrgh ! ). Once past the first lock on the descent we caught up with another yacht allowing us to share the lock work.

The descent team

As we exited the bottom of the main downward flight of locks a considerable queue of yachts had built up.

Yachts waiting to enter the lock flight up from the Crinnan end.

Nearly back to sea level

Arriving at Crinnan

We spent one more night in the canal before exiting to the sea.

Moored up for the night at Crinnan

Looking out to sea at our new cruising ground

Sue managing the ropes on her own for the last time in the penultimate lock before I joined her 
on board in the sea lock.

Goodbye to Crinnan

Friday, 13 June 2014

East Loch Tarbert

Our passage from Port Bannatyne started with a run down the East Kyle of Bute under a part reefed genoa. As expected we were headed after passing through the Burnt Isles so motored until we anchored for lunch in Black Farland Bay, opposite Tighnabruaich.

 Sailing between the Burnt Islands

Anchored in Black Farland Bay

Our peaceful lunch was interrupted by an unexpected bump followed by a hail, this turned out to be a visit from the Border Force, six black clad men in a fast RIB asking questions about where we had come from and our planned destination. This time it was a very cordial visit, thankfully without our visitors boarding and searching. A few minutes after departure their support vessel ‘Vigilant’ came into view.

Border Force cutter ‘Vigilant’

After lunch sails were raised for a good beat down the West Kyle with one reef in the mainsail and genoa.

Beating down the West Kyle of Bute

At 15:00 we rounded the red can lateral mark at the end of the West Kyle before turning North again towards East Loch Tarbert. The wind dropped briefly allowing us to shake the reefs out. Fifty minutes later it was gusting force 7 and with two reefs in the main and genoa, we were rushing towards Tarbert at up to 8.6 knots. By 16.30 we were moored in the marina.

Entrance to East Loch Tarbert

East Loch Tarbert Marina

We had two nights in Tarbert. A nice meal was had at the Cafe Barge moored on the town quay. In the afternoon we walked over to look at West Loch Tarbert.

The Cafe Barge

West Loch Tarbert

Bute - Rothesay and Port Bannatyne

The sun was shining for our return to the boat on June 5th. The following day we left Largs after an early lunch in the marina bistro, heading for Rothesay on the Isle of Bute. We motored over as there was very little wind. Our arrival coincided with that of the CalMac ferry, closing the port entrance for 20 minutes or so.


 CalMac ferry berthing

Once the ferry had left we were able to berth in the inner harbour.

NJ in Rothesay inner harbour.

Whilst at Rothesay we re-provisioned the boat and enjoyed the use of the rather splendid Victorian toilets!!

Inside the Victorian toilets

The next morning we left the harbour to move just up the coast to Port Bannatyne. We were expecting heavy rain in the afternoon so we didn’t want to go far.  This lengthy passage took all of 35 minutes, giving us time for a pleasant walk before the rain set in.

NJ in Port Bannatyne Marina

View of Port Bannatyne from the Marina