Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Saturday, 29 May 2021

It's just turned into a canal holiday!

 We're now in the Crinan Canal, a short-cut built in the early 1800's to save an 80-mile trip around the often stormy Mull of Kintyre.

We did an overnight at the little port of Tarbert in Loch Fyne. Tarbert means peninsula in Gaelic so there are lots of Tarbets around here; it's important to be clear which one you mean to avoid navigational embarrassment! The village has obviously been hit by the Covid lockdowns, since it relies on tourism to a big extent; the Anchor and Tarbert Hotels look pretty permanently closed but the yachting facilities have been improved with a big extension to the marina and very smart new loos and showers.

Bravo and Maunie at the outer end of the closest pontoon.

We celebrated Cindi's birthday with a really excellent seafood dinner at the Starfish Restaurant and had a great evening.

The Crinan Canal goes from Ardrishaig to Crinan and is only about 8 miles long. It does, however, have 14 locks and, once through the initial sea lock, the water is fresh and dark, peaty-brown. Major refurbishment works at Ardrishaig - new lock gates and repairs to the lock chambers - were supposed to have been completed in March  but are still far from finished so the engineering contractors had to lock us through, manually pushing the heavy lock gates and their, as yet non-functional, hydraulic rams.

It was a tight fit for Maunie and Bravo to share a lock and the water gets fairly turbulent when the sluices are opened up:

So far, it's been great fun, though slightly scary at times. Today we have 4 more uphill locks and 5 downhill locks ahead of us; without engineers in orange boiler suits to help us, the two crews will work together to operate the locks.

The next four locks await!

Finally, there's good news and bad news. The good news is that the forecast is for sunshine (yes, we remember that) for the next 4 or 5 days. The bad news is that there are midges here!

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