Great Glen Sailaway........a Caledonian Canal Adventure
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Tiddly Winks.......We Think Not!!
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Tiddly Winks…….We Think Not!!
Cruise 1st to 4th May
I thought the first of May was meant to be the beginning of summer? Nobody told the weather! We joined Lizzie May on Friday at Barcaldine and listened to the inshore forecast predicting easterly force six to eight occasionally force nine! The outlook for Saturday into Sunday was the same. What do you do? Well we could stay where we were and play tiddly winks or go sailing, so we opted to go sailing.
The truth is that on the west coast of Scotland we are blessed with the finest sailing grounds in Europe and whatever the weather there are always safe options for sailing in sheltered waters. By keeping close to and in the lee of the land we were able to reach south past Kerrera, through the sound of Luing and into the sound of Jura, with a double reefed mainsail, staysail and a wee jib. Lizzie flew like a bird and at times we were sailing at a steady seven to eight knots. Being so close inshore the seas had no distance to build up and were never more than 1-1 ½ metres in height. We left our anchorage at Airds Bay very early on Saturday morning and by Lunchtime were anchored in Carsaig Bay at the north end of the sound of Jura. Thirty five miles of exciting sailing!
Given the overnight forecast of continuing gales we opted for the safety of Craobh Haven Marina and sailed north in the afternoon, through the Dorus Mhor, and tied up in Craobh just before dinner time. On Sunday the wind continued but with a promise in the forecast for it to ease and go to the southeast, so we set off in the early afternoon, heading back north through Cuan Sound, round the south end of Easdale and back up the west side of Kerrera, once again in the lee of the land. Cuan Sound was in full flow and the water being squeezed through the narrow gap was boiling. Exciting stuff!
Passing the south end of Kerrera we spotted a White Tailed Sea Eagle which had flown across in front of us from Mull, over the Firth of Lorne, to Kerrera. We were alerted to it by the seagulls which were mobbing it and making a bit of a fuss. As we sailed further north the wind slowly eased and by the time we were approaching the entrance to Loch Creran it had almost died completely. We hit the narrows bang on high tide at 1900 and completed an exciting weekend of hard exhilarating sailing despite an unfavourable forecast. At all times Lizzie performed impeccably and never once did we doubt her ability to cope with the conditions. She really is a wonderful little ship!
A big thank-you to Deirdre, Jane, Bruce & Paul for their great company and enthusiasm.