Scotland – Alba: We’ve arrived!

Sunday 9th June: A long sail to Loch Ryan

Yay, we did it!  We have now arrived in Scotland!

We set off from Derbyhaven on Isle of Man by 6am, and had a bit of an unpleasant beat  along the south coast.  (And passed right by Mr Clarkson’s home with its neighbouring foot path!)  We got to Calf Sound in perfect time for slack water, and went easily through what can be a quagmire of opposite tidal streams and other nasties.

Going through Calf Sound

Once out of the Sound, we changed our bearing to 350 degrees, heading for Scotland!  We had a few lovely hours with very good speed and sunshine, which negated the freezing cold Atlantic winds.  The afternoon was long, grey and drizzly, which made us very glad of the thermal layers and full sailing gear.   In the Firth of Clyde, we had a near miss with a pot buoy.  Having carefully avoided a whole range of them, we suddenly saw that we were dragging one!  Dominic quickly turned round, and luckily it came loose.  Phew!

Soon we were motoring our way down Loch Ryan, keeping out of the way of the huge RoRo ferries.  Gannets were high-dive fishing all around us, and two dolphins escorted us into the loch, jumping right out of the water next to us for at least 10 minutes.  A lovely, welcoming sight!

We’ve anchored for the night by The Wig, the wind has calmed right down and it’s very peaceful here.  The further north we go, the lighter it gets.  It reminds me of  precious June evenings in Sweden!

Goodnight, Loch Ryan

Stats: distance 80.7M, underway 11h 44m, average speed 7.0 kts, max speed 11.3 kts.  Our longest trip so far.

Monday, 10th June: Loch Ryan

It’s a bright, sunny morning.  Looking up the loch towards the Firth of Clyde, I spy yet another huge ferry.  More interestingly I can see Ailsa Craig, a small island which provides nesting ground for 40,000 pairs of gannets.  The island is formed from a very hard type of granite, from which they make most of the world’s curling stones!

Ailsa Craig with Arran behind

I’ve put away the Irish Sea Pilot book.  Another one bites the dust!  Instead we unpack a new pilot book, charts, maps, guidebooks, walking books, brochures and lots of lovely research material that we’ve bought and that people have lent us (thanks Ann and Neil!).

We had a lovely and relaxing day, reading said guidebooks and pouring over charts and maps.  There are so many islands to visit, so many pre-historic sites to explore, and castles to admire, birds to gawp at, flowers to smell, miles and miles of coastlines to walk, museums to go to see; we’re not sure just the one summer will be enough!

Good luck rainbow over Stranraer


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