Sunny Scotland !

With high pressure sitting just to the W of Ireland , we were faced with the prospect of a week with no wind , perfect weather for pottering, but far from ideal if you want to make any distance. Ideally we wanted to be back near mainland Britain , and close perusal of  the weather charts showed 24 hours of W to NW wind on the top right hand corner of the high. My last posting had us dribbling to windward in light airs to try and get North  into this narrow band of wind and  towards midnight  occasional little puffs of wind started to come out of the NW . To our delight, by dawn we were bowling along in a very pleasant moderate NW giving  us maximum speed for minimal effort .

The question was , where to go. If we headed too far North  we would lose the breeze. Too far South would be downwind and therefore too slow , so we would be unlikely to arrive anywhere before the wind ran out. Just like baby bears porridge , a broad reach would give us maximum speed and be “just right” – and we might just reach an anchorage near  Iona off the SW corner of Mull before the breeze died.  

The wind  was in a playful mood. Sometimes it came astern and up went the kite , only to come ahead 30 minutes later causing us to drop it. Then it would die down  so that we were only just moving , and just when we were reaching for the engine starter  and resigning ourselves to a long dreary motor  , it  would pipe up again and have us racing along.  Finally, just before midnight it dropped away to nothing, but we were just 4 miles short and felt our way in through the rocks under engine into the tiny confines of David Balfour’s Bay in the Northern summer twilight.

We awoke to grey skies and drizzle , stereotypical Scottish weather, so that even this perfect little anchorage looked a bit drear. By midday however we were in shorts and  basking in warm sunshine as we ran down to Staffa  accompanied by a family of bottle nosed dolphin, anchored off  and went ashore to explore Fingal’s cave with its gold tinted ceiling twinkling in the reflected light. Deep inside we sang an echoing version of the Hebridean overture  at the tops of our voices, a tradition since  I first visited with Mike 20 years ago.  

We have been enthralled by the magnificent scenery of the Irish West coast, and now were equally impressed by the extraordinary  geology of Staffa backed by the imposing cliffs of nearby Mull and the soft pink rocks around Iona . It’s a reminder that we don’t have to travel to far flung places to see wonderful sights; they are here on our doorstep.

So far this summer, the weather has been so good I have only had to wear boots at sea once. That “once“ was yesterday . We wanted to take the forecast SE wind to sail to Oban and arrange a flight home in July, but the wind decided to disobey the forecast and flew into the East, so we beat to windward  all the way in rain so continuous that it filled up the leach panels of the genoa. Lynda stayed in her bunk , and I sailed from within the bubble , but when we reached our destination , the skies cleared and the sun came out to reveal the magnificent scenery of the NW coast of Scotland.

I think we are going to love it here.

One Comments

  1. Always a pleasure to journey with you. Here, it is a cool mid-winter morning, we are in bed. The sea outside is glassy and the moored yachts are picked out in watery sunshine. Nice to see from one’s bed. Happy sailing

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