Bloody Foreland, Aranmore, Church Pool

Brilliant, fast beam reach from Tory past Bloody Foreland, which is as undramatic as the name is gory (though it in fact refers to the colour of the rocks, not some great battle). Took inside passage round the islands, including Gola, which is being recolonised with holiday homes, by descendants of the original inhabitants.

Restored cottages on Gola
Restored cottages on Gola

So interested in the scenery that we snagged a lobster pot line, luckily on the keel, from which it pulled off without catching rudder or propellor.

Saw beautiful entrance to Gweedore Harbour, with its drying bar, pale yellow sands, lots of holidaymakers and holiday homes. Picked up a buoy to rest and have lunch off the island of Aranmore (or Arran or Aran, depending which map or book you consult – nothing to do with the famous Aran islands off Galway Bay). We were waiting for the tide to go up to the tiny harbour of Burtonport, which is through a tortuous channel. Checked with the harbourmaster – they lost their contract with a diesel supplier a few days ago, and it is 5 miles by taxi to the nearest garage, which is not much help when you need a hundred litres.

Anchorage at Aranmore
Anchorage at Aranmore

Decided we could get to Killybegs, so piloted across the near-drying flats on the south of Aranmore, with great care, using plotter and pilot book bearings, 10 miles to Church Pool, which was billed as a quiet anchorage. A couple of houses were shown on the chart. However, in the meantime, someone has built a holiday village there, but a nice one. As we came in, divers were playing with dolphins by the moorings, trying to ride one, it seems.

Quiet supper aboard, and then continued to catch up with The Killing, series I and II.

Passage notes: 31 miles, 4 hours by scenic inshore route to anchorage at Aranmore, south of Calf Island, 2.5 hours from anchorage to Church Pool, visibility good, weather fine. Passage over drying, rocky shoals southwards needs careful preparation and tide timing.  As strangers, we waited at the Aranmore anchorage until after half tide. Charts potentially inaccurate in area, so used compass bearings, but chartplotter track looked fine – with hindsight. Beware large numbers of pot buoys off Donegal coast.

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