The Joy of Cruising

Ardfern Parish Church

In the past few days we’ve been privileged to watch a Buzzard sitting on a sign close to the shore (Loch Spelve last Wednesday morning) and, on a walk into the countryside near Ardfern, Loch Craignish, seen a tiny bird (possibly a White Throat or a Reed Warbler according to our bird book) sitting on the back of her much larger and noisy offspring to drop food into its gape… it took us a few moments to realise we were watching a baby cuckoo being fed. There was a golden eagle wheeling over high open ground close by the shore as we left Loch Spelve. And we’ve also been bitten (drawing blood) by large dull brown flies apparently called Cleggs resulting in nasty wheals that itch for days. Finally we’ve scratched our heads too at some of the spots both sheep and cattle have managed to reach, green places at the bottom of steep cliffs.

Buzzard on a sign, Loch Spelve

Bird watching, tree and flower identification, plus amazing rock formations causing tidal eddies which in turn have added several knots to our speed, together with the stunning Highland scenery have turned the past four weeks into an unforgettable and varied cruise. Our list of lochs and islands enjoyed is lengthy – Loch Creran, Aline, Spelve, Miodart, Melfort and probably some I’ve forgotten. The islands of Mull, Tiree & Jura and others we’ve simply sailed round or past like Coll, both Shuna’s, Lismore and Easdale. The charts, almanac and pilot guide are well thumbed and a special mention must be given to Hamish Haswell-Smith’s “The Scottish Islands” which has enriched our experience with advice on where to anchor, history, geology and wildlife information. For now we are back in Oban at the island of Kerrara which is where the marina is. Time to recuperate for Susie’s back, and time to catch up on a few more boat jobs and the laundry (the latter we conveniently forgot whilst enjoying ourselves but now have several machine loads to contend with).

Pyramidal Orchid,
Loch Droma na Buiche

We can’t believe how fast the time has flown, it’ll soon be regatta time, West Highland Yacht Week. Oban to Croabh for the feeder race and some practise for the expanded crew of friends who have signed up for the fun on Saturday, Croabh back to Oban, Inshore racing off Oban then Round Lismore before a passage race to Tobermoray and yet more inshore racing there on Wednesday and Thursday and on Friday a final race back to Oban. There will be parties and prize givings enroute plus plenty of opportunities to socialise with other crews and to catch up with friends and acquaintances. Come August we’ll probably need our planned short trip across the sea to Ireland as time in which to recover!

Cup Stones, Ardfern

Jelly  Fish

Contented Gull

Tidal Race, Sound of Luing