What Asha wrote yesterday was spot on. We loved that old shower at the back of an old wooden boat shed! I know it doesn’t sound luxurious but it was! It makes me realise how we get carried away with must haves in this world. I must have a brand spanking new top notch 15 grand luxury bathroom. No, no, no! Give me a sailing life, a wooden shed, one cubicle to share and hot, hot water and I couldn't be more content!
We revisited the shower yesterday morning just for good measure and also so Asha could post her blog as this involved a walk along the canal to find 4G. Such a strange thing! Who puts it there? I couldn't see it but it popped up on the phone and then life returned to the strange technological norm. Scary!
We went back to Altor and moved her around the corner and in front of the Crinan Hotel because it seems that someone put 4G there too so we anchored there which enabled Asha to log on and go to work!
We have been blessed with perfect tide times for the last few trips. It is also to do with the blessing that is sailing in Scotland because once in the beautiful arena that is the west coast, you can hop around with lovely, short, easy to manage trips. There is no planning of long sea voyages. Instead the day starts at a civilised time with breakfast followed by normal work for Asha and normal boat work for me. At 4pm Asha turns her computer off and I turn the anchor winch on and we’re off? Hang on. Off, on, off! Yes, that’s right. Twenty miles here, 18 miles there and we have now made it to Oban. To get here we had to run the gauntlet through a gap in the rocks off Crinan called Dorus Mor. This is a tidal race and you can’t fight against the tide, you have to go with it. The pilot books and internet tales are enough to scare me towards the nearest bottle of single malt which happens to be under my pillow. Once there I can hide and calm down! Fortunately the Crinan boatyard website contains local knowledge about what time to leave Crinan to ensure a safe passage through Durus Mor. By 4pm I was hyped up, psyched up and ready to go! On heading for the gap my pulse was racing. There was a boat ahead of us and I assumed he was heading for the gap too. That was a relief because it made me feel that my timing must be right but at the same time I was disappointed because I wanted to be brave and for it to be solely my decision to forge ahead and go. You know, be a leader not a follower! However, he then turned hard to starboard and headed somewhere else so I got my wish about being a leader along with doubts as to why he suddenly went somewhere else. Blimey, us men can be fickle! Oh well, I had checked, checked and checked again so we forged ahead!
As with so many passages in Scotland, the books almost scare you out of doing it but the reality, assuming you have read the books and heeded the warning, is usually different. We cruised through the gap totally unmolested and without any turbulence, whirlpools or brown trouser moments. The local knowledge was so spot on that it was a completely benign experience, and that, is perfect!
We had another lovely cruise north. The wind has been on our side since clearing out of Stranraer and Asha is delighting in this magical, fairytale part of the word as much as I am!
I decided yesterday that the creator must have ‘dropped some acid’ when he made this place. The scenery is turbo charged, exaggerated and almost cartoon like. It’s totally mind blowing.
We proceeded north with a decreasing wind but a building tide that swept us up and into the Kerrera Sound, passed the TAT 1 (Transatlantic No.1) site that was home to the first submarine transatlantic telephone cable informally known as ‘The Hotline’. It’s now decommissioned and the building is in a state of dereliction but it’s still an intriguing sight. We anchored in Horseshoe Bay for the night and earlier today we headed up to Oban so we could make landfall and get some supplies from the town.
In truth, I am writing this out of order! We haven't actually left our anchorage for Oban yet but if I don’t type this now, when we get back to Altor after going to town I will have some special cargo that will prevent me from posting this! I’ll give you a clue. It’s 14 years old but perfectly legal as long as you are over 18 and I am one of thousands of people who fall helplessly at this beauty’s single malted feet!
I am aware that my constant reference to whisky might give the impression that I am an alcoholic but I can assure you that I am not. At this stage it’s simply a work in progress and we all know that you don’t get anywhere in this life unless you try very very hard indeed.....
This place is too beautiful not to post one more photo of it!
She left me on a rock, somewhere near Crinan!
Sailing up the Sound of Luing
Just another cloud on another grassy hill....
The lighthouse on Fladda on the way to Oban
The derelict TAT 1 building in Kerrera Sound