The theme of this trip so far has definitely been ‘find a weather window and go for it, before the next bloody gale’. After a lovely few days catching up with Graham's family, our next challenge was to round the Mull of Galloway (another headland with some big tidal races developing off its tip) to get round into the sheltered waters of the Firth of Clyde.
Days of adverse north-westerly winds lay ahead but we spotted an opportunity for Sunday – a brisk south to south-easterly, perfect for rounding the Mull, which would abruptly die mid-afternoon as a front passed over us. Different weather forecasting models all seemed to be in full agreement with each other, all promising average wind speeds at the Mull of 23-25 knots, so we decided that this would be a fast but potentially bumpy passage and Graham’s dad jumped at the chance to join us on the 100nm trip up to Troon.
There are, sadly, no photos of the rounding of the Mull of Galloway, mainly because we were fully occupied with the vital task of hanging on and trying to steer the bucking boat through some awesome seas. Forget 23-25 knots, we saw a peak gust of 44 (a full gale) and huge, confused waves as the favourable tide flushed us past the point. We made it safely through, if a little battered and bruised, but Graham said afterwards “I , for one, will not be doing that again!”.
As promised, almost as soon as we were through the maelstrom, the wind abruptly died so we motored northwards in calm seas and even flew the spinnaker for a short while.
|Hard to believe there was a full gale 4 hours earlier! Bravo motors past Arran|
3 nights in the fantastic Troon Yacht Haven gave us time to rinse the salt from the boat, our clothes and ourselves and to recover from the drama of the passage. Geoff got the train home and Colin, an old sailing friend from the boat Ithaka, joined us for an excellent if somewhat alcoholic night – drinks on Maunie and supper aboard Bravo.
We are now in the beginning of the spectacular Scottish cruising grounds. We motored, in almost flat calm, up to the Kyles of Bute, with a moment to alter course to avoid a US Navy supply ship (called, rather unimaginatively, ‘Supply’) coming out of the Clyde at 18 knots.
We’ve anchored in a beautiful natural harbour called An
Caladh and were treated to a magical rainbow as sudden rain-dumps punctuated an
otherwise beautiful evening.
|An Caladh, looking SW into West Kyle|
|Adam & Cindi enjoying an anchor beer on the back step|
Today we’ll head round to the yachties' Mecca of East Loch Tarbert before embarking on the mini adventure of the Crinan Canal over the weekend.