Stormy weather on way to Broad Haven

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Stag Rocks, on passage to Broad Haven

We refuelled from a road tanker and left mid-morning from Killybegs for Broad Haven, 60 miles away,  relieved to get away from the noisy, smelly diesel generator charging the batteries of the trawler beside us. Continue reading “Stormy weather on way to Broad Haven”

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. Continue reading “Bloody Foreland, Aranmore, Church Pool”

The Rodgers of Tory Island

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Hard to believe, from a distance, that 170 people live on Tory Island.

25 miles to Tory, Ireland’s remotest inhabited island, which has an unaccountably large number of Rodgers living there. I read that in an on-line search for possible Rodgers ancestry in Ireland, though the family evidence is for connections to County Cork, not Donegal. Continue reading “The Rodgers of Tory Island”

Islay in the fog

Woke to thick fog, but having found the chartplotter pretty accurate around the rocks we trusted it to take us out of Tinker’s Hole again, though the leading lines were obscured.

A few hundred metres visibility most of the way across to Colonsay, so radar on and constant monitoring of the AIT, which shows other vessels’ positions, and ours to them. Nothing but the occasional fishing boat showed up. Fog cleared completely for a while close to Islay. 10.5 knots with the tide down the Sound if Islay.

A day of distilleries – passed Bunahabhan and Caol Islay in the sound and then used Bob Bradfield’s ultra large scale charts to explore close inshore on the east coast of Islay. Continue reading “Islay in the fog”


Iona was founded by St Columba (or St Columcille as he is known in Ireland.) St Aidan then went from Iona to found the monastery on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne off Northumbria, which we visited on the way up the east coast (and on the way down in our 2007-8 round Britain cruise). So there was a sense of completeness in visiting Iona, after several attempts last year and one this year in May were thwarted by bad weather.

The restored cloister in the cathedral
The restored cloister in the cathedral

We went ashore by dinghy, spent an hour in the atmospheric little museum, Continue reading “Iona”

Leaving Ardoran

Loading the boat At Ardoran
Loading the boat At Ardoran

Rain and mist till late afternoon. Leaving Ardoran at midday, regretfully, as such a lovely, friendly place, and Colin and Helen at the boatyard such nice people. We’ll also miss the world’s best seafood stall, by the ferry terminal in Oban, so tempting I could not pass it without having mussels for breakfast several times when we were last here. The scallops cooked in wine, eaten from a disposable plastic dish, were just about the best and biggest ever, and as for the oysters and the massively filled crab sandwiches…. must go back. Continue reading “Leaving Ardoran”

Oban to Crinan

A fine day’s sail down the Sounds of Kerrera and Luing and across to Crinan, where we picked up a mooring close to the boatyard pontoon (for £15)  and went ashore for drinks and a walk round the village. Crinan Hotel has a traditional pub at the side, and good food.

Across the loch from Crinan
Across the loch from Crinan

The boatyard at Crinan is restoring one of the famous Clyde puffers, tiny ships that traded around the Hebrides and could be beached to land cargoes. Continue reading “Oban to Crinan”

Salen to Puilladobhrain and Oban

We had planned to go from Arisaig or perhaps Canna round the West of Mull to Iona, past Staff and Fingal’s Cave, but the weather was doubtful for the exposed anchorages on that side of the island so we decided to head back down the Sound of Mull again and maybe make a dash for Iona from the other direction the following day. However, half way down Tony had a call to go home to deal with a family emergency, so we diverted to Oban, first stopping at one of the best known anchorages on the Argyll coast, the tiny, tucked away Puilladobhrain.

This is the point to mention the excellent large scale charts produced of West of Scotland anchorages by Bill Bradfield using his own new surveys. Judging by a talk he gave to the Cruising Association in London in February, amateur surveying has become a passion with him, and he must now be very close to being a full professional judging by the quality of what he produces. His charts come with lots of health warnings, but we found them very accurate the dozen or so times we used them. They are available from Antares Charts.

Continue reading “Salen to Puilladobhrain and Oban”

Tobermory, Lochs Droma Buidhe & Suinart

Towards the head of Loch Suinart

Unpleasant weather was forecast so we decided to explore nearby lochs, and dropped the idea of going past Ardnamurchan to revisit Arisaig and Loch Moidart. For lunch, we went into the delightful Loch Droma Buidhe (or Drumbie), which is found through a narrow entrance, almost invisible until you reach it, but opening out into a very pretty anchorage. Continue reading “Tobermory, Lochs Droma Buidhe & Suinart”

Ardoran to Tobermory

David Fairhall and Tony Kennedy at Tobermory

David Fairhall joined Tony and Peter for a few days commissioning cruise, first to Tobermory in a brisk southwesterly up the Sound of Mull. This was after negotiating the interestingly shallow, narrow and winding exit from Loch Feochan (reminiscent of the east coast rivers of Suffolk and Essex where we used to be based.) We were retracing our steps from last year, when we went from Oban up past Ardnamurchan to Rhum, Arisaig and Loch Moidart among other places. Continue reading “Ardoran to Tobermory”

Fitting out at Ardoran, 4 -11 May

First launch….

We arrived at Ardoran Marine on 4 May to stay at one of the three chalets the boatyard owns, with a few days fitting out planned. (Peter, Christine, Tony, Elaine and Nigel). Ardoran stores boats in an old quarry behind the main workshop, and we found Spring Fever in excellent condition, dry inside and well cared for, with the anti-fouling done ( a present to ourselves because of the 500 mile drive to reach her.) Continue reading “Fitting out at Ardoran, 4 -11 May”