Firth of Clyde
After seven of slowest moving months I have personally passed we have finally returned to plan A and are back on Cadence. Not to complain, because who really cares, but after spending the past four years living outside the US and in a fashion where most every day is different, challenging and more exciting, coming home was a drain on the senses. Of course family and friends were great to see more of.
We bought a small home so we actually have a place to stay instead of being the constant guests of others. We know how old that can be for the hosts so we feel for their pain. And we got the ball rolling for a business expansion which could either mean longer cruising plans perhaps a bigger boat, or financial ruin. We shall see.
I returned to Clyde Marina in Ardrossan a week before the Admiral to get our mighty ship put back together and ready for the season. I also had the yard perform a bunch of small jobs in my absence, which in all honesty was a mixed bag. Of course nothing was really done on time. All my jobs got pushed back for whatever reason so when I arrived it was a mad dash to the finish line to complete most of the jobs. Some finished, some not. In the end I think the only way to ensure a proper job and completion is to do it yourself. I forgot how much work recommissioning a boat is. I think the best way to avoid this in the future will be to not move off but I don't think the Admiral will have that, so I will have to cross the same bridge next spring when we hopefully finish up the season in the Caribbean. I did thoroughly enjoy getting to know all the yard dogs that came to lounge about during the work day. I also made some good friends that were local to Ardrossan and hope to get to see these folks again down the way.
Now, back to the blog.
We left Ardrossan and made our way to the north end of Aaran and took a mooring in Lochranza. The beautiful harbor is flanked by high mountains which create a funnel effect down into the bay. Unfortunately this brought alot of wind but the scenery was stunning. The moorings are free and a suggested donation box for their upkeep was at the head of the floating dinghy pontoon which led to avery small village. One hotel with over 100 whiskeys on the shelf, a few houses, a nine hole golf course and the Aaran whiskey distillery. Kind of good synopsis of many towns we will be visiting I suppose.
From local knowledge, we were informed the best island hiking trek is “Sleeping Warrior”. A six hour there and back hike was in order to get our legs moving again and back into some sort of shape. We were not disappointed at all as the scenery was breathtaking. The track was non existent for a good portion so we ended up making up alot of it as we went. We saw a lot of red deer and even a few stags in the group. We were on the lookout for the golden eagles that are supposed to be numerous but have yet to have a siting. We hitch hiked our way back from the trail head and went straight to the bar for a few Aaran Blondes and a wee whiskey.
The next morning took the bus to Brodick to taste the goods from the brewery of Aaran and walk the town. Great beer, another lovely castle and some nice walking and then back to the inn in Lochranza for dinner.
We left Aaran to head further up Loch Fyne and stopped in Tarbert for a night. A nice little town with a small fishing fleet and bunch of sailing yachts. One night was all we needed here and left the next afternoon for the Kyles of Bute.
We had a nice sail the entire way to the top tacking our way through head winds for the first 15 miles but were rewarded with a head sail only downwind run once we turned the corner heading up the west Kyle. Beautiful wooded mountains on both sides dotted with purple flowering bushes, few to no homes along the entire west Kyle. At the very top we were rewarded first by the wind going from 25 knots to zero and second by a very small protected anchorage, Caladh Harbor, with great hiking trails leading from the beach. The next night we would make the 1 mile journey over to the top of the east Kyle. Here we took a free mooring and rowed ashore to have dinner at the small hotel. A nice stop and a great meal in an old small hotel bar. So far so good.
The next morning we took off early to make our way to Largs marina for some major food provisioning, some chandlery items and then back to Aaran in Lamlash bay anchoring up in the same place I did last year with my two buddies, Chris and Rich. Lamlash held our interest for a night and we left the next windlass blue sky day to make our way around the Mull of Kintyre. We stopped the night at little Sanda Island, just outside of the ferocious current driven passage between island and headland. Jess was planning a whole morning of painting the island the next day as the we needed to wait until the tide went in our favor and that was mid day. Unfortunatley the next morning we sat in a cloud the entire time and could not see land in any direction even though we were only a 100 yards from shore. So after 5 hours of blinding fog we set off on the windless trek to Islay where we would meet our first summer guests my sister Joan and brother in law Kirk.
Port Ellen is the main harbor in Islay and we stayed on the municipal pontoons in town. When we arrived the small town was littered with drunk people from all over the world celebrating the last day of the Islay Whiskey Festival. We spent a fun night mingling with locals and tourist all very inebriated from the days whiskey drinking. The next morning we decided a bike ride to Lagavulin was in order and enjoyed some sites along the way. The scotch Lagavulin has always been a favorite so it was nice to stop in to see how they make this fine whiskey. The next afternoon was arrival day for Joan and Kirk so we got Cadence ship shape for their arrival.