Saturday, 3 September 2011

....but it's not yet over

If you have ever seen the Where's Wally books and pictures (or Where's Waldo if you are in the States) you may appreciate this photo. Take a look carefully; can you see both Ruach and me hidden in this photo? It is a shot of the pontoon at Campbeltown taken from a webcam, For a clue - I'm waving at the cam.

While I was on the pontoon at Campbeltown I met two brothers, both in their late 70's who were sailing their Folkboat from Ardrishaig, Loch Fyne to Ireland for a holiday. I hope when I'm in my 70's I'll still have the dream, desire and vitality to carry out such trips. I shared a brew and a 'blether' aboard their boat before they set off for the South. Does this count as another boat visited on this trip?
I also met a nice couple and their three lively boys who had sailed up from the Isle of Man in their Westerly Centaur.
These 'exotic' places now seem all the nearer since I have begun this journey.

Although I'm now back in the Clyde the trip isn't quite over. I'm about 40 miles South of the line level with where where I started this trip from and I'm dragging these last few miles out as long as I can :-)

A good while ago I'd promised one of my friends at Otter Ferry in Loch Fyne that some day I would pay him an aquatic visit. It's just over a year since we based Ruach in the marina at Largs and in this time I have not managed to fulfil this promise so, as I had a few days to spare before needed to get back to my employment, I thought I would take the opportunity. I had a further reason for heading up Loch Fyne, this was an invite from the owners of a Cornish Shrimper to come and have sail in company. So it was settled, I would head North.

Campbeltown to Tarbert with views of the Isle of Arran

I left it to the weather to decide which route I would take to get there. If the wind outside Campbeltown Loch was direct from the North I would head East round the bottom of Arran and up the Clyde, or if the wind was from any other direction I'd head North up the Kilbrannan Sound. As it turns out the wind was almost non-existent so I headed North towards Loch Ranza. During the early part of this passage the winds came from just about any direction they could think of, but finally decided to settle on being mainly from the North West. So after a faltering start I made good progress up the Sound, so much so that I decided to extend my passage beyond Loch Ranza and instead headed for Tarbert.

Tarbert Marina

Tarbert North Shore

Tarbert South Shore

Restored, rebuild traditional boats at Tarbert

 When I left Tarbert I had to manoeuvre around an in-bound inflatable boat. When I looked back I saw I was being chased by the same boat. Oops, what had I done now?
It turns out nothing! The occupants of the boat had seen the graphics emblazoned on Ruach's hull and one of the occupants of the inflatable turned out to be one of the regional managers of Alzscot, one of the two charities I'm raising funds for on this trip.

The wind was quite strong, gusting force five, but coming directly from the stern again, so I was able to carry full mainsail and jib for this down hill thrash towards Otter Ferry. The wind being so strong I decided it was safer to tack through around 340 degrees rather than gybe the mainsail.

As I approached Otter Ferry I was careful to keep to the buoyed channel rather than taking the risky short-cut across the tip of Otter spit.

As I turned towards the moorings I spied Cornish Shrimper 377 ELSKA heading my way. After pirouetting around each other for a short while I was invited by Jim & Ann to share a meal later that evening at the Oystercatcher.....
        ....and very nice it was too. 

The Oystercatcher at Otter Ferry

The following morning I sauntered up the hill to meet my mate & fellow engineer Bob in the old School house before setting off back down Loch Fyne to another of my favorite anchorages in Asgog Bay. But more of that next time.

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Catch you next time.

David H.