We arrived in Oban on the afternoon of Wednesday 25th July in bright, warm sunshine. Ever since then the weather has deteriorated to the extent that we keep having to pay the marina £29 for an extra night’s berthing fee. Four nights so far.
So down South, the heat wave has broken and here, the Scottish drought has ended. As the ferry man said to us all yesterday morning as we made the ten minute crossing from the marina on Kerrera Island to Oban town… “normal service is resumed… that is the Scottish weather.”
Kerrera Island , rain clouds over the marina. Today, Sunday has been a continual succession of bouts of heavy rain and strong winds. Margaret and Christine arrived from Sussex and Surrey on Friday by air and by train and have joined the boat. We have also welcomed Chris as crew… also arrived on Friday having caught five trains from Northamptonshire.
So no sailing. We monitor all the weather forecasts… we do not choose the one that we like best! Starting with the Met Office inshore waters forecast we consider wind strength and direction, sea state, weather and visibility. If the Met Office inshore waters ( 12 miles offshore ), begins with a “strong wind warning” a red line round the coast will appear…and we take a deep breath and read on. If Force 6, or 7 or 8 or more are mentioned for wind speed we do not sail. If the word “rough” or “very rough” appear in the forecast we do not sail.
As I write, the current Inshore Waters forecast for our area here in North West Scotland is as follows:
Wind: West backing southwest Force 7 to severe gale Force 9, decreasing 5 or 6 later.
Sea State: Rough or very rough, becoming moderate or rough.
Weather: Rain or thundery showers.
Visibility: Good, occasionally poor.
For the following 24 hours winds of Force 5, 6 and 7 are forecast for Sunday. Sea state is moderate or rough. Does anyone think that Margaret will get on a boat and actually sail in these conditions? So there will be a red line for Sunday. Very iffy and no sailing under these conditions.
So we have visited Oban town centre and waterfront again… and again.
ET has had a Scottish pensioners haircut for £8, M bought a travel diary and “Adrift in Caledonia”… boat hitching for the unenlightened. Chris had langoustines in garlic sauce with chips ( modest chips )…. Christine’s highlight… Oban was full of dog walkers and trekkers… Mike..the low point was getting on the ferry at 11am and the high point was getting back on the ferry at 2.10pm.
In order to shelter from the rain T and M went in the “free” Oban Town Museum. To quote from the “Rough Guide to the Scottish Highlands and Islands” …..”the charming War and Peace Exhibition is stuffed full of local ( and not so local ) memorabilia – bizarrely , even a chunk of the Berlin Wall has ended up here.” So what did we do…. well the obvious, ask to see the chunk of the Berlin Wall. That threw the volunteer staff….. who denied all knowledge of the Berlin Wall and cast serious aspersions on the credibility of the Rough Guide. We were not ejected.
From Oban, our plan is to sail to Fort William and Corpach to the start of the Caledonian Canal…. and complete a six day transit to Inverness and back again to Corpach. We wait for “safe” sailing conditions.