Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Ullapool and beyond

First I must give you some fantastic news on the charity giving front.
Funds raised for Alzheimer Scotland has now reached over £1000 in donations, plus £500 matched giving through my employer, plus gift aid and for the Alzheimer's Society, not far behind at over £800 in donations plus gift aid. On behalf of the charities and myself a BIG THANK YOU to all who have donated so far.

Back to the plot.
I awoke in Ullapool to the sound of a boat bumping gently into the side of Ruach, it was the harbour launch/water taxi come to collect my mooring dues. It was something very late o'clock. I had slept a sound but exhausted sleep. The crossing from Stornoway had taken more out of me than I thought and my energy reserves were still depleted. I did very little but read and doze the whole day.
Next day I felt much better so time to go ashore and restock fresh provisions.

In the past Ullapool has not been a friendly place for 'yachties' as it was a busy commercial port. The pilot books still reflect this, but as fishing declines it is looking to diversify and as part of this diversification the harbour is trying hard to court visiting yacht crews. There are now a good number of visitors mooring buoys available and no need to pump up the inflatable for the trip ashore as there is a water taxi service which is included in the mooring fee. Brilliant service! Ashore there is also a new'ish Tesco's store an easy walk away. Put this together with the scenery of the Summer Isles and the head of Loch Broom Ullapool is certainly worth a visit if you are up in this neck of the woods.

I headed to the supermarket first then decided to celebrate my second Minch crossing with Fish & Chips served in the sunshine on an open deck above the restaurant with views over the loch and harbour.

Once back on the boat I chose to have a gentle sail further into the head of Loch Broom before returning to my mooring buoy for another evening. The wind was once again astern as I ran down the loch. On the way down I watched a guy flying a bird of prey on the shore.
I realised that running all the way to the head of the loch would mean that I would have to either beat all the way back out again against the wind or if that proved to be too much like hard work I could always use the motor. However the water was flat with no waves to impede my progress and Loch Broom is mainly steep sided which means you can tack to and fro across the loch only needing to go-about when you can reach out and touch the greenery on the banks thereby making the most of each tack. I rose to the challenge and thoroughly enjoyed the evenings exertion.
Narrows at Corry Point halfway down Loch Broom

The following day it was time to move on again, the forecast was changeable and so was my destination to reflect this. The winds started off very light and fluky, so my first possible objective was to go 'next door' to Little Loch Broom, but I knew I really wanted to get beyond that. Next possible place was in was Gruinard Bay, but I didn't really fancy this as Gruinard Bay is home to Anthrax Island, more properly called Gruinard Island.
Anthrax Island

Todays Factoid
Gruinard Island was the site where the Island was intentionally contaminated with the Anthrax bacterium in 1942 during tests of biological warfare weapons. The Island was not declared safe until a clean-up was carried out in 1986.
For peace of mind this was not my ideal stopping place!!

However next to Gruinard, to the West, is Loch Ewe. Upon reading my chart I just knew I had to go there as Loch Ewe contains the most romantic island in the whole of the UK. It's not specially pretty, it's not in anyway enchanted, but take a look at the chart extract below. Just say the name of the island out loud to someone you love, your significant other or even maybe your boss!

If anyone out there is having trouble donating at the justgiving sites (behind company firewalls, don't trust the internet with my card details or just don't want to give that way, etc) you can mail me a cheque direct. To do this just send me an email and I'll send you the details.

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If you came to this blog from the main website you will hopefully have had a look around the site and be aware of what I'm up to, both the adventure itself and the fact that I'm aiming to raise awareness of dementia in our society and to raise money for the Alzheimer's charities.
I'm doing this trip for fun and funding the trip myself, but while I'm on this venture you can do your bit to by supporting the Alzheimer's charities through either or

Catch you next time.

David H.