Saturday, 29th June: Loch Spelve and Loch Aline
We had a lovely sail yesterday from Eileach an Naoimh across the Firth of Lorn. Have a look! Sailing to Mull
When we arrived at Mull we went deep into Loch Spelve, past numerous marine farms and anchored near Ardura.
After settling in we started to plan our stay on Mull. We quickly noticed that Duart Castle, the ancestral home of the MacLean Clan is nearby. So I worked out the bus route we could use, but then we had the brilliant idea that we could go there by yacht! So that’s what we did this morning. Unfortunately when we got there we decided the anchorage was not safe enough, so we had lunch on deck while wafting slowly along the Sound of Mull to Loch Aline instead.
Loch Aline is across the Sound on the Morvern peninsula, which is part of the Highlands. We found a lovely spot in the south eastern corner and managed to squeeze ourselves in amongst all the mooring buoys. We took a very long walk to the end of the loch along a small road with wonderful grass meadows full of flowers on the loch side.
On the other side of the road the becks run down the steeply wooded mountainside. Two castle-like houses are majestically situated by the end of the loch.
The houses are part of the 35,000 acre Ardtornish Estate, which spreads out around Loch Aline. That’s big even by Scottish standards!
When we got back we sat outside and enjoyed the evening’s low sunshine. Dominic pointed out a barn swallow sitting on one of the spreaders, and a heron fishing on the loch margin. What a lovely afternoon we had in this beautiful part of the world!
Sunday, 30th June: Loch Drambuie – Loch Na Droma Buidhe
We had planned to stay a couple of nights in Loch Spelve and take it easy, then our idea of visiting Duart Castle by yacht changed that. Then we said we’ll stay in Loch Aline two nights to enjoy the beautiful environs more. But the weather forecast and the winds made the decision for us to sail up the Sound of Mull today.
It was a vigorous sail with wide tacks up the sound. There were a fair few of us out there; some yachts sailing like we did, some motor sailing and some relying on engine alone. The waves were quite big, so it looked uncomfortable for those who chose to power on straight across the wave pattern. For part of the way the visibility was really quite poor, so we turned on the navigation lights. It rained on and off. Only two days ago we sailed in shorts and t-shirts, now it’s back to full sailing gear and in my case the thermals!
The strong winds meant lots of lovely household power and our wind turbines not only powered all the electric equipment needed for sailing, but ran the water maker for two hours, the bread maker and our hot water. And we still had a far healthier battery supply in the evening than we started out with!
We arrived in Loch Drambuie early afternoon. This is an anchorage that Dominic has talked about, one that he really enjoyed when he sailed around Britain a few years back. And it is absolutely lovely! As we sailed in through the gap in the mountains the wind just died down, and it felt like a bit of a miracle. It’s a small loch tucked in under Oronsay, off the much bigger Loch Sunart, and surrounded by green and craggy hills and majestic mountains. Unfortunately, the mist, rain and wind came back in force quite quickly but hopefully we’ll be able to enjoy this glorious anchorage a bit more tomorrow.
We are still on the Morvern peninsula here, but at its northern end. Something we’ve noticed is that our internet and phone reception is very variable. In places where you just didn’t expect any connection to the world you have no problems at all, and in other places like here in Loch Drambuie, we really struggled. We do have VHF coverage and could hear the Stornoway Coastguard weather forecast and I managed to send off a couple of short texts within a couple of hours, and another text in the evening. At other times we’ve managed to connect to either 02 or EE, as we have contracts with both between us, and hotspot, but not today. So we’re going to have to move on tomorrow. It’s the end of the month and Dominic needs to be contactable.
Stats: distance 19.9M, underway 2hrs 56m, average speed 6.8 knots, max speed 10.5 knots