Slowboat round Britain and Ireland

We did it!
A toast to a great cruise!

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. Continue reading “Slowboat round Britain and Ireland”

Back to the Solent

Monday 17 September: Tony picked the boat up at Malpas and took it down to Falmouth Yacht Haven, mooring singlehanded in 35 knot gusts. Dinner at the Ghurka restaurant. Forecast 5-7 from the Southwest, occasionally 8, so decided to wait till Wednesday. Falmouth has the depressed look it always assumes in rain and chilly wind, with glum holidaymakers patrolling the long narrow shopping street. Continue reading “Back to the Solent”

St Mary’s and Tresco

Ashore for a walk, and lunch in a pub. Beautiful day, sun shining, children swimming on the golden beaches; what an extraordinary contrast with the day before.

Hugh Town, St Mary's
Hugh Town, St Mary’s

Went to the vicarage’s annual garden fete, a feast of nostalgia, Continue reading “St Mary’s and Tresco”

Quiet after the storm – the Scillies

The less said about today the better. One for those who enjoy surfing down the face of very large waves at 14 knots! You wouldn’t believe it from the photo of Hugh Town Harbour in the Scillies, as the sun set. The bad weather started clearing the moment we arrived there in the evening. Continue reading “Quiet after the storm – the Scillies”

Kinsale – leaving Ireland

Ashore for brunch, shopping and a walk up Compass Hill. Pretty views, stone-walled gardens and the imposing Officers Club above the bowling green. There is one large, empty, austere looking building left, which might just have been part of the 23 acre site, but it could equally have been a school, a hospital or a convent. Something to check out another day.

Empty building on Compass Hill, near where the Military Barracks was demolished in1922
Empty building on Compass Hill, near where the Military Barracks was demolished in1922
Round Britain 2013 053
The skipper of the day looking pensively at the weather as we head out from Kinsale

Fuelled at the other marina across the river (which ran out of diesel for the next boat) and set off for the Scillies at 1600. A bit of a risk, Continue reading “Kinsale – leaving Ireland”


Round Britain 2013 029
Chris at the helm on the way to Kinsale

Up early at Castletownshend, perfect morning, still water, the sound of water falling in the woods, birdsong, a heron on the rocks: made tea and slowly to sea, admiring the pretty sunlit village. Fast reach in sun all the way to Kinsale, past the Old Head, with the wind gradually rising. Continue reading “Kinsale”

Castletownshend – an English village in Ireland

To pontoon and ashore again in Baltimore. Forecast 6 or 7 south west. Nervous. Don’t want more heavy swells and wind for a while. But outside harbour, which we left early afternoon, was sun and a force 4 all the way to Castletownshend, a pretty wooded estuary and village, reminiscent of Cornwall, with an English-influenced history to it. Picked up buoy on wooded bend of the river, beautifully quiet and sheltered, near trees. Ashore by dingy to Mary Ann’s, a gourmet pub, rather expensive, though nice. There was a children’s band marching up and down in the evening, part of the regatta celebrations.  A very smart holiday village.

Passage notes: 14 miles, 3 hours, max SW 4 (forecast 6-7), min SW 3, long 2 metre swell, sunny and good visibility

Chris as we get ready to leave for dinner ashore
Chris as we get ready to leave for dinner ashore

Continue reading “Castletownshend – an English village in Ireland”

Swiss National Day!

Swiss National Day fondue dinner

Jean-Jacques has offered fondue and white wine for supper because it is Swiss National Day. So lots of discussion over breakfast of how to construct a table-top heater for the fondue without setting the cabin alight! Continue reading “Swiss National Day!”

To Baltimore by the Postman’s Entrance

Left Schull as the rain closed in and the southerly wind built up, aiming for the inside passage to Baltimore, which John said was called the Postman’s Entrance.

Leaving Schull it was worse outside than it looks from this picture.
Leaving Schull it was worse outside than it looks from this picture.

There are two ways to reach it, one outside the islands in the bay and the other more tortuous rote on the inside. Continue reading “To Baltimore by the Postman’s Entrance”

To Schull past the Skellig monastery

As we left Dingle, its celebrated Dolphin came out to play, not with us but with some canoeists near the channel out. But we had a good look as Fungie surged past – a Dolphin on the large side, like a small whale, who has been living at Dingle since 1983.

Continue reading “To Schull past the Skellig monastery”



Chores, various adjustments and repairs, shopping, laundry, fuel – one of those days. Welcomed our third crew member, Jean-Jacques Botteron, who flew from Switzerland to Dublin and got a bus to Tralee and another one to Dingle. Took him to a very superior fish and chip shop, which had fresh mussel chowder as a starter and then lightly battered fish.

Dingle is very pretty, full of tourists, a suprising proportion of them American, probably on the famous Ring of Kerry tour. Looks like a nice place for a family holiday. More than 50 pubs for desperate parents! Lovely warm day.

Midnight sail to Dingle

We decided to leave Inishmore at midnight to make sure of getting through the inside channel at the Blaskett Islands before the tide turned, and also to beat a forecast veer in the wind from south east to south west, which would be almost ahead. It meant running the gauntlet of the lobster pot buoys and ropes, because we could not see them in the swell, even with the bright moonlight. But none of them caught us, though we spent the hours of darkness in fear of the shudder, swish and gurgle that meant we had caught one. The wind was light, so we motorsailed to make sure we did not miss that tide.

Mountains of Kerry
Mountains of Kerry

Continue reading “Midnight sail to Dingle”