Cruise 14 -21 July 2018
Mallaig to Oban
An awful lot had been promised about sailing around the west coast of Scotland by our skipper Stuart. I can happily report that there was no exaggeration. We had decent wind, various forms of weather and fantastic anchorage opportunities all week long.
Skippered by Stuart with his motley crew - Matt, Mike, Pascal, Geoff & Laura - we had a fantastic week together on Brighton Belle.
The only requirement was to be in Oban by the end of the week. This gave us time to take in a variety of places, from remote anchorages in simply stunning surroundings, to marinas with all the facilities and restaurants you would expect.
We joined Brighton Belle in Mallaig, a small fishing town on the west coast of mainland Scotland. The train ride there was a vista of scenery and crosses the Glenfinnan Viaduct made famous in the Harry Potter movies - Laura thought she was on her way to Hogwarts!
We were treated to a wonderful sunset and the following morning glorious sunshine and blue skies! We went ashore to pay our mooring fees and see if the cafe was open for breakfast. Canna isn't very big with a population of less than 100, but the people we met were fantastically welcoming. There was an honesty shop where we picked up a few supplies and had a short walk around the edge of the natural harbour before returning to set off.
Loch Scresort on the east coast of Rum was our destination for lunch, quite a few other yachts had the same idea and we almost had trouble finding a spot to anchor. We spent some time planning for our evening anchorage - Loch Scavaig on the southern coast of Skye. It was a challenging navigational exercise with several rocks just under the water. The safe channel was only a couple of cables wide and unmarked.
We were safely guided in by the Clyde Cruising Club's sailing directions. Once anchored the scenery was spectacular - see waterfall left for one example.
The next morning we went ashore to walk along Loch Coruisk, a freshwater loch that runs, via what must be a contender for Scotland's shortest river, into Loch Scavig. There was only a couple of meters height difference between the two.
We carefully navigated our way out of Loch Scavaig and set sail for Arisaig, via Muck. Skipper Stuart had promised afternoon tea at Mort Mor on Muck. The wind had other ideas and we had to call off the midday stop and go directly to Arisaig. Geoff was outraged and despite great efforts was unable to summon up sufficient wind to the make the plan workable.
We followed the markers into Arisaig, first making sure we had sufficient tide to clear the rock bank in the approach channel. There was a question if we would reach the pub in time for last orders. It is wonderful to see how precise and efficient a crew can be when properly motivated. Not more than two minutes after securing our mooring buoy were we in the tender making our way to the jetty. We arrived just in time to get the last food orders in at the pub, and Stuart introduced us to some of his favourite whiskeys - well, in his top 1000 list anyway!
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