Waiting for the Wind

As you sail North from the Arran islands the scenery just gets grander and grander. In the background the mountains of Connemara gather the clouds and somehow the coast and islands to the west escape the rain for which Ireland is infamous.

We called in at the island of Inishboffin for a days walking and exploring. Unlike many which have been long since abandoned , this island seems to have a thriving community, perhaps because of its secure natural harbour and regular ferry service. Nonetheless last winters storms have left plenty of evidence of the difficulties of living on this exposed coast , with roads and piers washed away and large changes in the seabed. We nearly came a cropper here as the depths in the harbour have hugely altered since the winter hurricane , and bear little relationship to what is depicted on the chart. Thus it was that we were rudely awakened by a gentle bump as we touched bottom at low water springs ( made lower still by the high pressure) and it was a nervous 40 minutes til we were free again. Thankfully there was little swell , although by the next tide the fresh SW wind had us rising and falling a good foot at times , but thankfully we had shifted our anchorage to deeper water .

Lynda now needed to go and help her brother , so we sailed to Clew Bay where I stayed for a week with our friends the Blackwells and Festina snuggled up to their lovely ketch Aleria deep behind the shelter of the 360 islands,whilst she flew back to England. I have written before about this marvellous area , but suffice to say that it is a paradise for sailors and naturalists, and probably my favourite place in the British Isles. Combine this with wonderfully generous and affable hosts and you can see that it was no hardship for me , although Lynda and especially her brother were having a hard time.

We are now back at sea . First stop was the Inishkea’s. These two islands lie to the West of stupendous Achill Island whose cliffs are the highest in the British Isles. The Inishkeas by contrast are mainly sand and resemble the Western fringes of the Hebrides with their sandy machair full of wild flowers. The islands are separated by a narrow sound only 100 feet apart and both have villages that were deserted in the 1930’s after a storm claimed the lives of most of their menfolk. At the time of the troubles, one island was Unionist in their sympathies and the other supported the Nationalists and the story goes that they fought by throwing stones at each other over the sound. Now, nothing could be more peaceful and our evening walk on a bright midsummer’s evening was one I shall remember for a long time.

So now we are dribbling to windward somewhere to the North of Erris Head ( the NW corner of Ireland) following plan A. Plan A can be summarised as “ there is no plan!” ie we will go wherever the wind blows us . It’s not blowing very much at all now but might come in from the West in the night.

So greetings from a very slow moving yacht and contented crew, curious as to where we will find ourselves in a couple of days time!

One Comments

  1. Hi
    Hope you get a sustained SW blow. We set sail from Stavanger on Friday destination Lerwick. See you on Sunday?
    Liv Jorunn and John

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