Day 78, Sunday 12th August, 2018…Fort Augustus back to Gairlochy on the Caledonian Canal..time to get back to the sea!

After a night of drizzly rain and a northerly wind, breakfast on the boat…then food shopping.. we prepped Poli Poli for departure from Fort Augustus.

We had now been on the Caledonian Canal for ten days..a prolonged stay due to unforeseen circumstances. We made the decision not to proceed any further north …as the lock Staircase at Fort Augustus going north and then returning…with the big boat queues we had witnessed …would have taken up a whole day just to descend and then ascend the staircase.

We need to get out of the canal and return to the sea so that we can make a start on recovering our schedule time wise. We had enjoyed for the most part the experience of one of the great Canal systems of the world. Time to call it a day and get back out to sea.

We departed Fort Augustus at 11.10am in breezy, cool, grey conditions. Before we left we had seen the huge big white super yacht Monaco ascending the Staircase of five locks. We even spied the owner aboard.

2200E92D-1CFB-41E2-9A9E-F5E7A0021136.jpegMonaco…the super yacht exiting the top of the Staircase at Fort Augustus and passing Poli Poli on her berth in the upper basin.

Monaco was to cause traffic jams behind her …at Cullochy Lock we had to hold Station in front of the lock whilst Monaco went through. …..for nearly an hour.

Every lock we passed through was busy…six boats all packed in together. Many of the boats were hired motor boats where there had not been a lot of pre-lock training. Yachts and motor boats all mixed up …and then also the occasional super yacht.

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Vasco standing on the helmsman’s seat to see over the top of the spray hood …up to keep Margaret dry!

We stopped for lunch in Loch Oich ..on a single pontoon by the side of the very busy A82 main road. Just round the corner from the so-called Monument …The Well of Seven Heads.

I mentioned this in the last blog…somewhat mystified as to its meaning. Well no sooner had I published yesterday’s blog …our lovely niece Sarah who lives with her family in Madrid popped up out the blue with the answer…the actual needle like monument is topped by a sculpture of a hand holding a dagger and another hand holding seven severed human male heads. Pretty gruesome by any stretch of the imagination.

This is allegedly all to do with 16/17th century Scottish clan history and the fierce rivalry between them. The seven severed heads belonged to Alexander McDonald and his six sons …and had been washed in the waters of Loch Oich …by the poet/bard name of Iain Lon or Bald Iain..from another clan. His family had been wronged by the Macdonald clan …and in particular by those seven men/boys so he just took the law into his own hands…hence “Well of the Seven Heads” monument on the shores of Loch Oich. Thanks Sarah…

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Margaret keeping out of the drizzle..on lookout for Monaco trying to overtake us!

Finally we motored down the big Loch Lochy to the place we first stayed at on Friday night …an excellent pontoon berth next to the   facilities block. After supper in the saloon that seemingly Scottish tradition …the rain came down !

Tomorrow Monday we will return to the start of the Caledonian Canal …where we first ascended Neptune’s Staircase at Banavie. Then hopefully the next day we will exit the sea lock at Corpach and then sail south down Loch Linnhe. …. en route to the Isle of Mull and Tobermory.

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