I’m happy to report that the alarms were set, they did go off and all was well. I decided to change my alarm sound to make sure that Pete could rise with a smile (he’s not his best at 05:00, whereas I can be quite ‘Tigger’-like). He did laugh when he heard the ‘old fashioned car horn’ blasting out… We were treated to a wonderful sunrise. The first we’d seen of the trip! I’m sure it won’t be the last either….
44 NM (846 cumulative NM) but would have been 30 NM without the tacking…
This would be the day that we would head southwards, so we needed a wind without any ‘S’ in it… But what did we get? An unhelpful SWer! Argh. This, at least was the forecast in prospect, but we sometimes live in hope that the weather folks have it all wrong.
SSW (Force 4-5) with very lively seas, and much rain!
16 NM (802 cumulative NM)
We woke to the continuing story of rain, a lot of rain! We were heading southwards, back towards Ardnamurchan, and decided that we’d try Arisaig, which had come recommended by yachties that we’d met along the way. Of course, the wind was on the nose, so it was either motoring or facing a longish day in vile weather!
We had two options for Knoydart. Pete had read quite a lot about Britain’s most remote pub, one that could only be accessed by boat or by a 7 mile walk. It was on his list of ‘must visits’. However, some friends of Mum’s friend Jacki messaged (via Mum) to go to Doune for a ‘great anchorage and great food’. We decided to go with their recommendation.
Mostly WNW (Force 3) with a smidge of N for a while and smooth seas
20 NM (781 cumulative NM)
We thought we’d head for Mallaig and try out the new ‘marina’ facilities that were being built, due to open in May. I phoned the harbour master (who was surprised to hear ‘a lady’!!) and he said that they were late with the pontoons, another three weeks, but that we could come in and take a mooring buoy. We decided that we’d do that.
This would be a landmark day – the forecast was looking good for heading around the Ardnamurchan Peninsula, meaning that Pete could say that he had rounded the most westerly point of the Great Britain… The forecast was good in that there were no strong winds forecast, but it was all in the wrong direction!
After a couple of days at home, it was really odd to be back on the boat. I found it very disorientating to move from one ‘world’ to another, although I have to say it was very nice to sleep in our bed, stand under hot running water (without either switching on and off to conserve water, or wonder about whose feet have showered in the marina facilities before you….) In a very girly observation, another thing I struggled with, was the full choice of a bulging wardrobe – it’s an easy ‘uniform’ on the boat, which is polo shirt, fleece, trousers, socks (sometimes two pairs) and sailing boots. At home, well, it was all a bit overwhelming! Goodness knows what I’ll be like when I have to dress for a black-tie event next week… Anyway. Back to Whinchat…
After the miserable day of Friday, we had a ‘come what may’ day. Up early (06:30) to make the departure time of 08:00, to travel back along the Sound of Mull and into Dunstaffanage. It was a dry start, something, but rather chilly. Thankfully the visibility had returned. Pete said that we would just motor down, whatever the wind (and it was a bit fluky, and directly at us) so that we knew we’d make the deadlines!
Today was a truly miserable day at sea. The weather forecast which had promised such benign conditions – enough to have us head out to Coll – completely changed overnight. Back were the strong wind warnings, and it turns out, some of the poorest visibility that we’ve had over the entire trip… hour after hour of heavy, thick rain falling from very low clouds. It was a day when plans were shelved, and spirits fell.