Thursday, 5th September: Sailing the Inner Sound
Today we had a weird sail. We set out as soon as the rain stopped after listening to the 10am maritime safety broadcast, to double check on the winds. I’d already ascertained that there was no weapons exercises today, just submarine activity. But we were sailing close to the coast all the way so weren’t too concerned about that.
We started motoring out of the loch, but the sea was rough with 2m waves and Idun crashed into each of them. So we got the sails out and tacked out towards The Minch. The rough sea and strong winds continued until we got into the Inner Sound. First it was quite nice with calmer winds, but after Applecross the wind disappeared altogether; we had expected F5-7 winds all day, possibly F8. So we sat around for a bit, then motored, then got a bit of wind, then motored, and so it went on. Once we got into Loch Carron we actually had enough wind to sail in to Plockton, today’s goal.
We managed to find enough space to anchor, which was no mean feat amongst all the visitor and owner moorings. The wind really picked up as soon as we arrived, so instead of a vigorous sail and a calm evening, we had a vigorous evening of wind and rain!
Today’s highlights were dolphins, another skua, some amazing high wind flying by a group of shags, and an eider duck braving the waves.
Stats: distance 35.9NM, underway 6hrs 48mins, ave speed 5.3 kts, max speed 8.7 kts
Friday, 6th September: Plockton
Plockton is the perfect place to visit for anyone who’s read the Hamish Macbeth books by MC Beaton, (ok these aren’t literary masterpieces, but they’re a relaxing read!) I spent all day imagining where this or that might have taken place. They used Plockton for the television series of the books, but I never saw that. We did a bit of walking and enjoyed the spectacular environs. I’m going to really miss the Highlands when we go home.
Saturday, 7th September: Kyle of Lochalsh
We left Plockton early, heading for Kyle of Lochalsh. We know they have pontoons there near the town, so we tied up and got on with laundry, food shopping and cleaning the topsides. We also had a lovely breakfast at Hector’s Bothy – much recommended! What we hadn’t known, is that today is Kyle’s Maritime Day and it was buzzing with waterside activities such as kayak races and the chance to have a go yourself. RNLI were there in force, both with the local crew and their RIB, but also two larger lifeboats. The helicopter also made an appearance, until it was called off for an emergency. We were entertained by a band of young pipers which local families and tourists were all enjoying. We chatted quite a bit to the life boat crews and Dominic got a private tour of the Kyle facilities. Idun was the only boat on the pontoon which was not part of the display, but lots of people came and talked to us as well and showed great interest in our summer lifestyle. And we had lots of comments on the laundry drying on the guard rails ha ha! What a lovely event and made even nicer by sunshine!
We left Kyle mid-afternoon to go through Kyle Rhea just after high tide. We ended up motoring most of the way to Isleornsay where we anchored in our usual spot.
Stats: distance 19.9NM, underway 3hrs 49mins, ave speed 5.2 kts, max speed 7.9 kts
Sunday, 8th September: to Mallaig
I cleaned and got our guest cabin ready as our son Daniel is coming for a visit! We rang Mallaig and were happy to hear they have a space on the pontoon for us.
We tacked almost all the way to Mallaig, and didn’t get much rain on us, so a successful passage! There was a huge RoRo ferry that seemed to take its time before it headed off so we had to wait quite a while for the red lights to come off before we entered the harbour.
Stats: distance 11.7NM, underway 2hrs 21mins, ave speed 5.0 kts, max speed 8.0 kts