Thursday, 12th September: Sailing South to Tobermory
The winds are ever changing and today is now the best day to go south so we headed off late morning after a cooked breakfast that set us up for the day. Kyle Rhea was a bit rougher than on our previous visits. Dominic took in the foresail and turned the engine on, to get good manoeuvrability of Idun as we tackled the narrows with 20 knots of winds against us.
We saw a few seals and lots of seabirds, and a continuous array of beautiful mountains with streams rushing down and tempting sandy beaches by the waterline.
We had a rigorous and quite sunny sail with south-westerly winds to start. We had to do a few tacks down the Sound of Sleat, but with a bit of north added to the wind we sped away from Armadale all the way to Ardnamurchan Point. Our average speed of 7.2 knots shows that we went quite fast!
In the lee of Eigg we had a bit of a lull, so decided to have lunch. It didn’t take long though before the Atlantic swells started up and we had slow but rather brutal 3m waves all the way to Ardnamurchan Point. It was definitely uncomfortable for Daniel, but I did surprisingly well. We got to Tobermory on the Isle of Mull just after 6pm, settled on a mooring buoy and went for a drink in town. The day had been a bit of a slog, and we all needed to feel solid ground beneath our feet!
Stats: distance 57.3NM, underway 8hrs, ave speed 7.2 knots, max speed 12.2 knots
Friday, 13th September: Tobermory or Tobar Mhoire – Mary’s Well
This morning we had a lovely walk, first out to the lighthouse looking out towards Ardnamurchan, where we came from yesterday. Then we found this unmarked, and rather muddy path which led us steeply up to the golf course up the cliff, and then to the part of Tobermory that lies up the rock. They have gorgeous views from up there! We had our packed lunch sitting on a bench, hearing water gushing down the mountain, watching the Sound of Mull and Tobermory harbour below. How lovely is that! I recently read a crime novel set here on Mull and Tobermory in particular. Walking here made me think of the book time and time again. I do love a novel that has a strong sense of place.
After a drink at the Mishnish pub we spent the afternoon on Idun. We’ve had quite a few broken nights lately, and Dominic needed a proper rest. I beat Daniel in Scrabble, which I’m quite proud of! We popped in to town in the evening, and got chips with mushy peas and curry sauce from the van on the Pier.
Saturday, 14th September: Tobermory – Spending time together on Idun
Today’s forecast was for heavy rain all day and strong southerlies gusting above 50 mph. Which is why we had gone into this very protected bay where we hardly had enough wind to power the turbines!
Daniel watched football and Dominic worked but we also played cards and Scrabble, talked and enjoyed being together!
Today there was a Mòd, a cultural feast of Gaelic music and song here at Tobermory. We had loosely planned to go along, but the weather put a stop to it. It also seemed to be very much a community affair.
Sunday, 15th September: Last sail of the season
So this was it, the last sail of the season. And we were very pleased that it turned out to be such a nice sail, and such an enjoyable day!
We set off from Tobermory in the morning, had good following winds and made good speed, without it being uncomfortable in any way for any of us! We anchored in Loch Aline for an early lunch, and it was very nice to have the gentle rocking of being on anchor after being on buoys for a few days. I do prefer being anchored.
We soon set off again, as we wanted to go past Lismore Point at slack tide. There was a bit of rush hour there, with several yachts, large Oban ferries, a military vessel and also to our surprise a tug, chugging along with a new-looking fish farm dragging behind it.
I thoroughly enjoyed this sail; seeing the seabirds, feeling the waves, watching castle after castle on the shore, and I just drank in all this north-western Scottish scenery that I have come to love.
We arrived in Oban early afternoon, in slow autumnal sunshine, and tied up on to the North Pier pontoons. We had a lovely evening meal at The Little Potting Shed, and all ate far too much! Tomorrow morning Daniel is going home, and Dominic and I are off to overwinter Idun.
Stats: distance 27.2NM, underway 4hrs 40m, ave speed 5.8 knots, max speed 9.5 knots