July 13, 2008
The July Cruise of Destino
I got off to a false start. The Saturday weather was not good for the canal, so I went home again. Sunday night found me bedding down on Destino for an early start. At 03.30 Monday I left Findochty towards Inverness.
It was a glorious dawn, with a light S.E. wind that I managed to use un-aided as far as Lossiemouth. From Lossiemouth onwards I motorsailed, entering Clachnaharry sea lock at 14.45.
This being by first time on the canal the plan was to go to Gairlochy and back on an 8 day passage ticket.
As I was in no hurry I spent the night at Seaport before climbing Muirtown Locks. I Locked up with George Runcie (ex Findochty now Lossiemouth) on Celerity. We agreed to keep going to Dochgarroch, to make it easier to get through the bridge and the Lock.
At Dochgarroch Celerity continued west while I stopped for a bit of lunch. I caught up with Celerity after a long motor into a F5, at Fort Augustus. Hire boats had taken all available pontoon space , so I rafted against Celerity.
About 20.30 there was a Knock on the cabin roof. It was George. "Would I like to come aboard for a wee nip?" "Thanks I’ll bring a Glenmorangie with me". A pleasnt few hours was spent chatting and comparing Glenmorangie with Tobermory and Tobermory with Glenmorangie (just to be sure). A draw was declared and a celebratory drink enjoyed.
Next morning the results of motoring into the chop for 20 miles was discovered. The milk for my cornflakes, stored in the forepeak, looked like cottage cheese. It tasted alright on cornflakes but was rubbish in tea.
The morning was spent climbing the Fort Augustus flight. In the afternoon I was joined by my wife and mother-in-law, who came down for a picnic from Newtonmore. After lunch we motored to Kytra and back before they left me to return to Newtonmore. I spent the night at Invergarry Castle, on Loch Oich and a very pleasant night it was too. The wind was still S.W so the next day, after stopping at the well of the seven heads, I motored all the way to Gairlochy. Or almost, as I ran out of fuel as I entered the channel. With the prospect of being blown all the way back to a fuel free Laggan Locks, I feverishly filled the tank from a spare can. After a tense few seconds the engine fired and I arrived at Gairlochy pontoons.
The return trip was more of the same. Squally weather kept me a day extra at Inverness. I passed Salker H at Clachnaharry sea lock, locking out at 14.30 with thunder threatening. I motored, sails down all the way to Findochty. Arriving at 01.30 on a foul night (morning?) Almost running into the rocks as I entered (big lesson learned). I could get to like this cruising lark. All I need is the time to do it.