The Met Office forecast heavy rain showers from 1pm onwards. A glum start to our rest day after three back to back sailing days. However, Thursday began in sunshine and with blue skies….. and remained so until dusk. So no rain!
The morning was taken by the very nice “Full Scottish Breakfast” in a waterfront cafe… which turned out to be extremely popular and was full within half an hour of our entry. Made me smile… Scottish Breakfast… eggs, bacon, mushrooms and all the works….. plus a portion of haggis…. asking for mustard… our young waitress bought out English Mustard! Coffee was good too.
This was followed by a steep climb up the hills behind the village to pay a visit to Tarbert Castle which towers over the little fishing harbour like a huge, out of place rock. what distinguishes it from a rock is the national flag of Scotland flying in a very light breeze. Saint Andrew flying high on a blue sky background.
Mike heading for the castle. Strategically placed it guards all approaches from Loch Fyne and dominates the little settlement of Tarbert below. The Saltire flies high against a blue sky.
It is our very first Scottish Castle. In publicising sailing in Scotland you always find beautiful photos of sailing yachts moored immediately in front of more famous Scottish Castles… but ones built at near or at sea level. Well this is not one of them.
A photo of the tricky entrance and approach to the harbour at Tarbert… see the island left of centre and the outcrop jutting out right of centre…. tricky navigation here. Loch Fyne in the background.
The only alleged important occasion for Tarbert Castle was that Robert The Bruce passed this way once… on his way to Rathlin Island ( off Ballycastle ) where we had also passed through….. and the incident of Robert the Bruce and the spider’s web allegedly took place.
My attempt at a “pano” photo showing the western side of the village ( left ) and the peculiar church tower… to the eastern side ( right ) with Tarbert Castle dominating… and the loch and marina where Poli Poli is berthed in the centre.
East Loch Tarbert… the marina…. Poli Poli is in the centre pontoon…. somewhere!
After doing the shopping at the Co-Op, we had inquired as to hosepipe bans in Scotland…and received a puzzled look and “what are you talking about?”type response. When we explained that by law, drought orders in Eire and in Ulster ( where we had come from ), had forbidden the washing of boats due to lack of rain…. much Scottish laughter. Guffaws…. “you can wash it twice here”…. but no rain today.
So Poli Poli was duly washed this afternoon… the last time was Conwy in North Wales ( where they have a lot of rain ) on 9th July. You could run the palm of your hand along Poli Poli’s topsides ( no giggling ) and capture a handful of sea salt… at least a cupful.
Then discussions and preparations for the morrow and the Crinan Canal adventure… two special 20m mooring lines… fore and aft were got ready, the nice new fender boards ( made specially by Richard, my brother in law ) were re-rigged ready to be hung outside the fenders… so as to protect Poli Poli’s topsides ( topsides are the highly polished upper part of the hull from the waterline to the toe rail … at deck level ). Again the gel coat highly polished by the elbow grease provided by Richard back in the winter months in the boatyard. Our topsides are Oxford Blue and we guard them fiercely… no scuffs or scratches please.
We set off on Friday… tomorrow to sail further up Long Fyne to a little port called Ardrishaig where the Crinan Canal begins. We are taking a short cut straight across the Mull of Kintyre out into Western Scotland.
A final thought on Tarbert….
On our arrival we both almost simultaneously pointed out a smallish but very obvious “gin palace” white motor cruiser with the name “Sorry Kids” writ large on her stern …. puzzled…. then guffawed with laughter. On paying my harbour dues to the very pleasant lady in the marina office ( she gave me a biro and a free note pad !)…. the lady had made the same observation…. and came to to the same conclusion as to the meaning of the boat’s name. Any offers…….
The photo above is for Dad in Rusthall, Tunbridge Wells. See Dad it is not only the Welsh who do this……
Next stop…. Crinan. A big thank you to all our followers… it makes us feel we are doing this Circumnavigation in company and with friends and family… and a big thank you to all those folk who post comments. Again …. we do not feel alone!! We are being watched!!! Thanks.