Wednesday, 28th August: Shieldaig, ‘Herring Bay’
We entered Loch Sheildaig, at the southern extremity of Loch Torridon late afternoon, and within an hour or so the rain stopped which was lovely. We anchored between Shieldaig Island and the village. The island is clad in Scotch pine and fern and is a very soothing backdrop. The village lies mainly along the waterfront, and considering its picturesque location is understandably highly reliant on tourism.
We went ashore using the community pontoons. Dominic chatted for a bit with the young, local fishermen who had just landed their catch to deliver to the local establishments. We walked along the seafront to get our bearings, then back to the bar we’d spotted for a drink and the most delicious pizza.
We needed to stretch our legs so walked along the sea front again, admiring the very impressive and new looking seawall. We went up to the War Memorial from where we had lovely views and spotted a new looking camper van site, then walked around the village along what looked like a newly laid road. We didn’t see the usual ‘funded by Heritage Scotland / Lottery / EU’ signs, so perhaps the area benefits from the MOD installations nearby? Or is it all the work of the Community Council who seem to be very active?
A very nice and quiet evening. I saw what could have been an otter exiting the island into the water. (I am a bit obsessed about this otter spotting!) I definitely saw seals, gulls, shags, heron and terns.
Thursday, 29th August: Wind, rain, gusts galore
This was not a pleasant day. The predicted strong winds turned into very strong winds gusting to gale force. The day’s wind speed average was 25 knots but it had been regularly well over 30 knots, gusting up to 40 knots. That’s 29mph, 35mph and 46mph, the latter being at the very top range of a fresh gale according to the Beaufort Scale. The boat swung round very fast and it was bumpy and uncomfortable to be on board. All day long. And it continued until past 3am in the morning. We stayed up, just in case, on anchor watch.
Dominic let out more chain in the afternoon to have less of an angle between the chain and anchor, but this would obviously mean a wider swinging circle so had to factor in where we could end up at low tide and we’re almost at springs. We had two ropes tied on to the RIB and two snubbers on the anchor chain. The boom was tied up, and every item that can be tightened or tied up, was just so. Everything inside was stowed away. Belts and braces. The wind turbines kept turning off due to too much wind and we had to keep the regulators uncovered to keep them cool. In the end we turned the turbines off when it got bad. I had to take Stugeron at lunchtime as I was feeling really queazy.
On the plus side we ended up with a huge power input, so Dominic made bread in the bread maker, and we powered up all devices. And we have tv reception here, a bit flaky during rain storms, but this kept us going into the night.
Although I cope much better now with the sort of ‘life adventures’ that we’ve had in the last few days, I don’t really want a repeat of today.
Friday, 30th August: Shieldaig
The forecast was for large amounts of rain, and there are flood alerts in the whole area. But that’s one thing we do not have to worry about as we’re sitting in the sea! Though we do have to bail out the RIB every now and then.
It cleared up and the sky brightened about 5pm so we went ashore for a lovely walk up the loch. We met lots of sheep! There are cattle grids across the road as you enter the village from either end; presumably they are in fact sheep grids.