Scottish Isles Sailing Blog 2009

N 56° 10' W 05° 32'

Ardfern, Loch Craignish

August 06, 2009

Thursday 6th August.  Rest and recuperation plus washing and showers in Ardfern.  Sunny periods, the odd heavy shower, warm and overcast.  Midges yet to find us!!

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N 56° 10' W 05° 32'

Luing to Ardfern Marina

August 05, 2009

Wednesday 5th August  Left Ardinamir Bay for Ardfern 14.30

An expensive day

Had a morning walk on Luing rewarded with fine views over Mull (raining), Cullipool and the Garvellachs

We waited for 2 hours of flood before negotiating the bar.  No problem, minimum depth 3.2 M.  Would have been OK at low water.  Huge amount of kelp on anchor which could have accounted for our feeling that whilst the anchor wasn’t dragging, we were moving slowly backwards!!  Bent the boathook getting it off

Reefed sails only (of course) from 14.45. Southerly force 5 with gusts in excess of 30 knots. Fine, sunny weather but … windy. Beat north of Shuna and then into Loch Shuna.  Exciting sailing with Soay well heeled over with most of it’s contents, including the dog, shifting from one side to the other as we tacked

At about 1540 we noticed the dinghy had flipped over in a gust and that the seat was now missing.  Motor-sailed downwind to look for it.  No sign

1545 onwards motor-sailed (main only) south down Loch Shuna, east of Reisa Mhic Phaidean (doesn’t he play for Manchester City?) and into Dorus Mor.  Quite rough.  Overfalls, but at least I got the tides right.  Once in Loch Craignish sail only on a sparkling broad reach of 6.5/ 7 knots or so.  Ardfern Marina 1800.  Pub 2000

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N 56° 14' W 05° 37'

Loch Feochan to Ardinamir Bay, Isle of Luing.

August 04, 2009

Loch Feochan to Ardinamir Bay, Isle of Luing.  Left 1420 in order to exit the Loch and it’s shallow bits on a rising tide 2 hours after HW.  Made it with a metre to spare!!  Needed to ensure favourable tide in Cuan Sound too

The usual strongish S (Force 5 gusting 6) but we were able to sail well reefed along the Sound of Insh.  Engine only from 1600 as we turned into the wind to go through Easdale Sound and across to Cuan Sound.  Both of these negotiated with pilot book in one hand and rosary beads in the other.  Clait Rock in Cuan Sound features prominently in the pilot.  I missed it (that is, missed seeing it until Jan brought it to my attention).


Anchored Ardinamir Bay 1730.  Another rock dodging exercise and not a good choice in the wind conditions and strength.  We dragged but then held.  Dragging here is not a good idea as there is no room to recover.  Spent a disturbed night worrying about this but, happily, we were in the same place in the morning.  Effectively the rocks at the entrance seem to form a bar to getting out again at around LW.  This is not mentioned in the pilot but is the firmly held opinion of the Halberg Rassey that tried to leave at half ebb and came back when the depth dropped to 2 meters! 

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N 56° 21' W 05° 29'

Stayed put in Loch Feochan

August 03, 2009

Monday 3rd August.  Day off.  Gales forecast.  Taxi to Oban.  Shopping for essentials such as Tennants, wine and tonic water.  Bought some food too 

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N 56° 21' W 05° 29'

Loch Feochan

August 02, 2009

Sunday 2nd August.  Left Tobermory for Oban (Yahoo!) at 0840 in between rain showers.  Wind W, variable between 10 and 14 knots.  Reach up the Sound of Mull at 5.3 knots with a little tide.  Reach became a run with poled out genoa S of Lismore Island.  Note we still have 2 reefs in the main.  I am absolutely forbidden to remove these at present by Jan!!.  Wind dropped at 1300 but returned quickly as a strong S/SW

We had been listening to radio messages from Oban Marina.  Busy, very busy.  It turned out that today was the arrival day for the “West Highland Week” fleet of around 150 yachts who were all trying to get into the marina (it has 50 places).  Marina sounded to be in panic and were not that helpful.  West Highland week is the biggest collection of Duberry boots, wrap round sunglasses and long blond hair this side of the South Coast.  More expensive big yachts than you can shake a spinnaker pole at.

We had a go at picking up what we thought was a visitors mooring on the Oban side.  It wasn’t.  Moored yacht advised we abandon Oban and go south to Loch Feochan, about 5 miles down Kerrera Sound.  Kerrera Sound is narrow, scenic. Loch Feochan happens to be where Jan spent a number of childhood holidays. It also has the distinction of having a bar across the entrance, strong tidal flow of up to 5 knots and a channel that wends between rocks.  All buoyed but no room for error.  Minimum depth 3 metres.  We need 1.7.  We got in.

The single visitors mooring was occupied so we picked up another.  Good facilities ashore.  A sheltered and pretty place, not often visited by “strangers”.  Seals on an island near moorings


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N 56° 37' W 06° 04'

Tobermory, Isle of Mull still!

August 01, 2009

Saturday 1st August.  Weather ditto above so decided to stay put.  Wind F 5/6 SE so it would have been a beat or motor sail towards Oban. We have decided now to begin to go south.  We have abandoned the idea of going to Rum, Soay, Skye etc. in favour of a steady sail back.  The weather simply has not been good enough to venture past Ardnamurchan Point and we are not spending any more time in Tobermory waiting for it to get better and then having to rush back.

Took inflatable to Calve Island so Oscar could bag another island.  Persistent drizzle all day.  Anyone would think we’re in Scotland!!

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N 56° 37' W 06° 04'

Tobermory, Isle of Mull still!

July 31, 2009

It was windy which justified our stay.  Wet, cold. Saw Elvis the local sea otter in and round the pontoons and even eating a fish briefly on the pontoon in front of Soay.  Everytime Jan appeared with her camera, he disappeared

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N 56° 37' W 06° 04'

Back to Tobermory

July 30, 2009

Back to Tobermory to collect the bloody chart!  A beat from Loch Aline against bit of tide that seemed to take hours.  5 to be precise, covering 22 miles in the process in wind up to 25 knots in rough conditions.  Jan not keen.  Dog cheesed off.  Passed by 20 other yachts going the other way to Oban.  No other yachts going our way. Message there somewhere.  Gale warings for tomorrow so will have to stay there again

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N 56° 33' W 05° 45'

Drum buie to Loch Aline

July 29, 2009

Wednesday 29th July2009


Left Drumbuie late morning in a brisk breeze.  Fetch then reach then run up to Loch Aline.  Good sail, making up to 7 knots o.g.  20 nm. Anchored 1600 hrs. in splendid surroundings with few other visitors.  I made us corned beef hash!!  Good walking ashore.  Peaceful, quiet, windless night.


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N 56° 39' W 05° 55'

Tobermory to Loch Na Droma Buidhe

July 28, 2009

Tuesday 28th July, 2009

Finally cracked and left for Loch Na Droma Buidhe (know as Drumbuie).  Reach cum fetch across Sound of Mull in lively conditions.  A whole 6 nm.  An isolated and beautiful anchorage if you ignored the other 21 yachts in there!!  Still strong wind but a secure anchorage.  Oscar and I landed on the small Isle of Oronsay and climbed to it’s summit  (200 feet or so).  Great view over Loch Sunart and Ardnamurchan

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