Tuesday, 29 May 2018

SCOTLAND WESTERN ISLES AND WHISKY. 29th May 2018


Pulladobhraine

Returning to Taipan and with the load of provisions stowed away we enjoyed the meal at the Waypoint Restaurant at Oban Marina. This is a well run and friendly marina with a free ferry service to Oban. Very accommodating indeed. After filling with water and fuel at the dock we headed 7nm south to Pulladobhraine, a tiny tight little spot nestled amongst islets. Sentijn were there too so a reunion was in order. Birthday time. Davids. A celebration was held with the Sentijn crew aboard Taipan. In deference to his old age, he received a Winchrite. To be picked up on the south coast somewhere.


The Ocean Cruising Club Gathering was to commence on Saturday with a Dinner at the pub in Craobh Haven and as the Currin family had a mooring available we were invited to pick it up. However, the weather forecast was lousy so we decided to go into the marina. £37 per night! What a fun weekend we had though. Australian boats “Diomedea” with David and Andrea McKay and Jim and Paula Holland on “Freydis” whom we hadn’t met before, but did pass in the Caledonian Canal last season. There was approximately 30 members present and Simon and Sally Currin hosted a great Sunday BBQ at their home overlooking Asknish Bay. We also caught up with old friends Bill and Jane McLaren “Vagrant” who we met previously in Shetland and in the Caledonain Canal. Bob Shepland gave a wonderful talk in the afternoon about a recent ski and climbing trip to South Georgia. What a legend!!

Loch on Dura 
These stomes form the beaches!
Acharnarnich Bay provided anchorage for our first night on leaving Craohb Haven. Tucked into a nook at the bottom of the peninsular in lovely calm weather it was another delightful spot. On the morning of the 22nd a wind shift caused a change of plan and we followed Sentijn through the notorious Gulf of Corryvrecken, also called the Great Race. The water races through this narrow gap causing some pretty wild whirlpools and overfalls. Of course, we didn’t see any because we got the tide right!!


The west coast of Jura is very exposed to the Atlantic Ocean and the volcanic nature of the rock formations along with the long gone ice age. Allegedly the area was once under 2000 feet of ice. (not so sure about that though) give rise to some spectacular geological formations with numerous caves and raised beaches. There are vast areas of cobbles. Round stones of every size with absolutely zero vegetation. In Loch Tarbert, ashore from the anchorage, we found the Loch formed by a rock cill covered with the debris from a melted glacial event and forming a dam wall. A nesting area for several bird species and a very dramatic mountainous and absolutely remote setting. The area is reminiscent of Tasmania’s south-west wilderness and the Port Davy area, with less vegetation.

This is one of the peaks they climbed!!

Work had to resume next day. it being necessary to recommission the water maker. It has been pickled for 2 years but with ocean passages planned and some south coast chandlers en-route it was decided now was a good time to activate it in case we need any parts. After wrestling with leaks in tight places the water maker is back in business and making water to spec. 60lt per hour. 

Paps of Jura

From Loch Tarbert we sailed south and east again around to Craighouse Bay. The home of Jura Distillery. The little town was packed with runners as the Fells Race was due to start next morning. This annual run involves over 300 runners and the course includes the 7 Paps of Jura, a 28 kilometers run and a climb of 2378 meters. The Paps of Jura are mountains of shale. They require the runners to crawl up and skid and jump down. Grueling to say the least. The first runner completed the circuit in just 3 hours and 20 minutes. They were all looking a little battle scared on their return.

Theyre off.

The easterly wind picked up and the anchorage was looking a little dubious so we chose to sail south-east 10nm to the north-west corner of Gigia. This was an overnight stop only but a pretty location. Next day a 20 mile run in blissful conditions saw us anchored up for the day at Laphroaig Distillery on Isla. Isla is probably the whiskey distillery capital of Scotland. With its many famous distilleries attracting ferry loads of visitors daily. 

Jura Distillery
The very pretty anchorage at Craighouse.

Time marches on and it's nearing that time when we can go back into the Schengen Area so we need to be heading south. This fabulous weather won't last forever. Our next passages will take us east of Ireland and on to the south coast of the UK once again before crossing to France. So check back again soon.

Taipan at Laphroaig Whisky Distillery

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