The long trick is (almost) over -Stornoway to Dunstaffnage in pictures

Scoresby Sund Expedition

Day 70 to 87.

While I was waiting for Grit to arrive in Stornoway, I was delighted to hear that Tim and Alex were going to sail across from Ullapool to say hello. I was quite surprised that they decided to go ahead as the wind was very strong and totally in the wrong direction! However they arrived a touch bedraggled but still smiling and in time to enjoy a brilliant Indian meal at the County Hotel (highly recommended for their Indian Meals).
In typical Tim/Alex style, after a short walk through the Lews Castle grounds they shot off back to Ullapool in Thembi, their Ed Burnett designed boat that Tim built himself, clever sod!
One of the many attractions of Stornoway is Lews Castle with its extensive grounds. The well tended paths make a great place for a morning run.
Grit arrived on the evening of the 25th August bringing with her some settled weather at long last. We set off at 06:00 GMT the following morning heading south towards Rona. Miss Tippy, a large Oyster yacht, followed us out of Stornoway harbour. We couldn’t make the course to begin with so we resigned ourselves to go to Loch Gairloch instead (no real hardship there). But by 15:00 the wind veered and we found ourselves able to make a good course for Rona with eased sheets. We saw no other vessels on the whole route except Miss Tippy who also headed towards Rona. At 16:45 we picked up a mooring buoy in the sheltered natural harbour. Nowadays Sumara looks very small against most of the other yachts which seem to grow in size every year. For the first time in 80 days I could spread the butter directly onto the bread instead of cutting it into slices and laying them on top – what a joy!
In the morning we went for a stroll over the island to Church Cave. This was the view back to the harbour which is called Arcairseid Mhor. There a a few submerged rocks that need some care to avoid.
The view from Church Cave across to the mainland. Apparently there have been a couple of weddings held in the cave. They would have enjoyed this wonderful view but it’s not exactly wheelchair accessible.
Tim had tipped us that we could buy good venison on the island, and he wasn’t wrong!
From Rona we headed across to Portree to buy some milk. My thoughts about Portree were described previously
We left Portree in dead calm to motor down to Kyle of Lochalsh where we moored for a while to wait for a quiet time to pass through the Kyle Rhea with its notorious strong tides. En route we were entertained by the local wildlife.
While moored in Kyle Rhea, for some onboard entertainment we watched the documentary about the Prince of Muck on my amazing little laptop.
… and so we decided to go there. After passing through Kyle Rhea with hardly a ripple of current we headed to the island for the evening. We were the only yacht anchored in the harbour until we saw Blue Yonder alter course and head in to say hello. David’s dog, called Harry, is trained to sniff out ambergris!
We had a stroll across the lovely island with its views across to Rum, Eigg, Canna and Skye.
The view from Muck
After our walk we enjoyed a coffee in the little cafĂ© and then……
..set off to round Ardnamurchan and headed towards Tobermory
The delights of Tobermory can not be resisted!
In the morning we set off towards Salen in Loch Sunart. The loch seems to be lined with millionaires houses sporting rather fine little boat houses. We had a fast sail over calm waters, a totally new experience for this year!
There are some very well run pontoons in Salen run by the Salen Jetty Company. We just made it in time for a beer at the local hotel (which closes at 19:00 LT!). This small place has everything you could need including a well stocked shop, diesel, showers, loos, water, wifi and a cafe. I suspect there would be some good walking in the area but we set off in the morning towards Loch Drumbuie
31st August. We anchored in our favourite spot in Loch Drumbuie. It was a bit tight for swinging room so when the wind changed during the night I could hear the wavelets slapping against the rocks. I got up with a torch to find that we were very only a few metres off. However with my massive Rocna anchor it was unlikely that we would would have actually dragged, so after checking the depth was OK I snoozed again.
In the afternoon we pumped up the dinghy and rowed ashore. It is times like this when you really appreciate the little Avon dinghies. The Hypalon fabric makes them bullet proof yet they are light enough to haul up the rocks. You wouldn’t want to try this with a RIB and outboard!
Early in the morning we set off to catch the tide in the Sound of Mull towards Oban. Although it was quite a strong wind over tide, it turned out to be flat calm just where the tide is meant to rip. We moored in the transit marina because we needed to return some equipment to Oban. Because you are only allowed to stay for three days in the marina it means there is an interesting flow of yachts coming and going. Sadly all the yachts up here seem to know what they are doing, so the fun of watching yachts crash into each other, as is common on the south coast, was denied to us. Several large charter and training vessels called in for FFV. (fresh fruit and vegetables)
Although I have been to Oban many times, I have never found the cycle path from Dunbeg, so we went off to find it. I had a quick dip at Ganavan Sands before setting off for our walk.
Phew! Back at Dunstaffnage with the boat in one piece.

Although Sumara never made it to Scoresby Sund, our arrivals and departures added up to an even number, so it wasn’t a complete disaster!

When does the trip come to an end? It’s when I am reunited with Tilman, our Parson Russell Terrier. I am hoping he still recognises me after so long away! Can’t wait to see him again!

3 responses to “The long trick is (almost) over -Stornoway to Dunstaffnage in pictures”

  1. I enjoyed your adventure! Thanks for bringing us all along!

    1. Thanks Judy!

  2. Many congratulations on making it back safely Alasdair. Best wishes, Mark

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