After spectacular scenery on the West coasts of Scotland and Ireland, and many interesting harbours and anchorages, Spring Fever is back where she started last year, on the River Medina at Cowes. There was nothing heroic about it: the longest single cruise was only 24 days, from Ardoran near Oban to Truro in Cornwall this summer, taking in Iona in the southern Hebrides, Tory Island off Donegal, the Aran Islands off Galway, and the Scillies.
Altogether Spring Fever has logged 2,200 miles round Britain and Ireland over two years. It was planned as a series of quite short and leisurely cruises, to fit around our other commitments, with the boat wintered in Scotland, and in one sense was no more than a voyage round our homes, on a small island we already know well; but it is hard to beat the distance and perspective that comes from visiting familiar places by sea, and there were many others we would never have found if we had been travelling by land.
We went anticlockwise, exploring the Thames Estuary rivers in 2012, up the east coast, through the Caledonian Canal, spent time cruising the Hebrides, and wintered the boat at Ardoran on Loch Feochan, near Oban. This year we came home by the West Coast of Ireland.
Our route took in many places we missed on our previous two-season cruise round Britain via the Orkneys in 2007-8, in another boat, Pepper. Once was not enough: there’s something particularly appealing about a cruise that begins and ends in the same place and circumnavigates the land without ever having to cross its own track. There is nowhere else in Europe where you can do that over the satisfyingly long distance of a couple of thousand miles. We were never far from home, but it felt like a real voyage.
An account of the first stage of this two-year round Britain, from Cowes up the East Coast of England and Scotland and through the Caledonian Canal, can be reached through this link.