Day 58, Gigha Island to Craobh, rain and more rain… the drought in Scotland has ended? A few last words on the Crinan Canal.

Whilst tied up to an orange mooring buoy in Ardminish Bay, just off the east coast of Gigha… rained all through the night and into most of Monday. Rain, rain plus fog plus cool temperatures but of course, no wind! In fact during Sunday night into Monday morning, it hammered on the coach roof and deck of Poli Poli…. waking even the departed in the deep brown waters below.

We only saw Gigha Island for a glimpse the evening before…. we arrived at gone 6pm from Crinan… all the berths on the very short single pontoon had been taken both sides and we had no option but to take one of the outer spare orange mooring buoys. We looked at the tiny little settlement and hotel through our binoculars but did not go ashore. Our supper on board consisted of a Scottish beef pie and baked beans washed down by chilled Peroni.

After waking to the heavy rain, we departed Gigha Island at just gone 9am. A shame really, a beautiful little island off the mainstream of the Mull of Kintyre… well worth  a visit, but as we were too tired from all the exertions of escaping from the Crinan Canal and its 16 locks… were not in the mood to spend time preparing both the dinghy and its outboard engine to go ashore to the hotel and little village late into the evening. A sad miss.

The journey back northwards was one of very poor visibility,  a lot of rain then long bouts of drizzle, but a flat Sound of Jura and of course, no wind. The 34.8 n.miles were covered in 4 and a half hours… with a strong following tide we were able to average about 8 knots with a top speed at one point of over 10 knots. All of this was as a result of the northbound tide. We motored all the way with a full set of navigation lights on… and on a couple of occasions we nearly switched our automatic fog horn on. On one side we had the Mull of Kintyre with its three big lochs… West Loch Tarbert, Loch Caolisport      and Loch Sween and on our port side, the long huge island of Jura with its magnificent mountainous landscape…. but we saw very little of this… either in thick fog or long layers of cloud and rain.

Of course our route back northwards took us past the entrance to the Crinan Canal on the west side of the Mull of Kintyre…. to which both Mike and I have very mixed feelings. We were “seriously” glad to exit that canal system. In our musings on our waterway experience I came upon the following song………

“The Crinan Canal for me,

I don’t like the wild raging sea

Them big foamin breakers

Wad gie ye the shakers,

The Crinan Canal for me….”

Wriiten and sung by a guy named Dan MacPhall in the Vital something or other… makes you smile… but we could not agree with his sentiments. The wide open sea for us please!

We navigated our way northwards past a whole string of islands and avoided going anywhere near the infamous Gulf of Corryvreckan by finding a route along a channel shielded from the Gulf by a series of small islands.

The Gulf of Corryvrecken , between Scarba and the north end of  Jura “is one of the most notorious stretches of water anywhere around the British Isles.” ( Martin Lawrence, Pilot Guide “Kintyre to Ardnamurchan “). The strength of its tide can be ferocious, there are dangerous eddies and one very famous whirlpool. So we kept as far away as possible.


View out of the saloon window looking out towards the Craobh Marina entrance…not raining!!!

At about 1.30pm we entered the sheltered marina of Craobh … a marina site which was artificially formed by linking three offshore islands together which created a very sheltered haven on the west coast of Scotland. A very pleasant experience so far… especially after our travails in the Crinan Canal. We have a nice berth on a long pontoon at the seaward side of the marina… the toilets and showers are good although as yet, untested and the local pub “The Lord of the Isles” provided a tasty late lunch. So far so good.

We put up the spray hood and cockpit tent after our lunch… simply to create a wet room for all our wet “oilies”. It looks like a laundry room. We have had no rain now since 7.30pm!


The wet room …cockpit and wet oilies.

Distance sailed today: 34.8 n.miles. Duration : 4 hours 25 minutes.

Distance from Eastbourne: 1,422 n.miles.




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