Posted by: Ray | June 1, 2009

Oban to Largs (Firth of Clyde)

Passage: 200M, 12 new harbours visited, Max wind F6

Rainbow at Oban

Rainbow at Oban

 

Steve joined the yacht on the May Bank Holiday Sunday, but we were confined to the yacht and visits to Oban by strong, gusty winds and rain for most of the  weekend holiday.

Tues 26 May: A better day with brisk SW wind. Steve and I decided to get a short sail in before Liz joined us later in the day for our passage south to Largs Marina on the Firth of Clyde.

Dunstaffnage Bay

Dunstaffnage Bay

 

 

We had an enjoyable sail to Dunstaffnage Bay, a short passage north from Oban, where we moored on a buoy for refreshments before returning to meet Liz off the train. A welcome sail in a fresh SW reaching F6 at times.

 

 

Wed 27 May: We left Oban after lunch to make the short passage South to anchor overnight in the delightful Puilladobhrain (Pool of the Otter). With no time pressure, we enjoyed the sail, tacking towards our destination against the SW wind. I had visited the anchorage before for a brief stay, but wanted to spend more time here.

Ashore on Seil Island lloking across Puilledobrhain anchorage

Ashore on Seil Island looking across Puilladobrhain anchorage

 

In the evening we inflated the tender and made the short trip across to Seil Island to visit Clachan Bridge ‘Bridge over the Atlantic’. We had difficulty finding the footpath across the Island to the bridge …. for others who might visit, take the tender down to the end of the pool where the signpost is visible close to the shore.

Bridge over the Atlantic

Bridge over the Atlantic

 

 

We eventually found it and made the short walk to take photos of the bridge and to have a drink in the historic ‘Tigh an Truish  Inn’  (Inn of the trousers’).

  

 

Tish An Truish Inn

Tish An Truish Inn

 

Back on board we had our evening meal and crew retired for the night. I took the opportunity to make some contacts on amateur radio, although I was unable to say my location except by spelling phonetically. 🙂  Lots of stations were calling me and it was 1 am before I closed the station and retired to bed!  🙂

  

Thurs 28 May:  In the morning we  left Puillodobhrain to make the passage down to Adfern at the top of Loch Craignish. The 25M passage via the Sound of Luing passes the gulf of Corryvreckan that lies between the islands of Scarba and Jura and where the worlds 3rd largest Whirlpool exists. The passage also passes through Dorus Mor to enter Loch Craignish, where strong tides can produce rough seas at spring tides. I had planned an alternative passage south and back up to Craignish Loch if the conditions there were dangerous. 

Rounding the North and down the west coast of Seil we were exposed to the Atlantic Swell and met rough seas until we reached the shelter of the Sound of Luing. The Sound, with Fladda,Lunga and Scarba on its west side and Luing and Dubh Sgeir to the east, has two dangerous rocks south of the Fladda Light.  On the charts and GPS the most westerly of these was marked by a red buoy, the one to the east unmarked.  I had a WP that took us safely between the two, leaving the red buoy to our starboard.

Passing Fladda Lighthouse

Passing Fladda Lighthouse

We passed the Fladda light and I kept a close eye on the GPS and plotted our position on the chart as we approached the rocks. We soon had sight of the red buoy, but it was not in the position expected and our course was taking us west of it, the wrong side! 

I asked Steve who was on the helm to make a rapid change to port to leave the buoy on our starbourd side. Further to our west we could see a cardinal marker and we can only assume the buoyage has been changed with the red buoy marking the rock to the east and the cardinal the one to the west.  My charts, GPS and pilot book were all recently purchased , so the changes must have been recent. 

Passing Corryvreckan at Spring tide on a calm day.

Passing Corryvreckan at Spring tide on a calm day.

 

By the time we passed  Corryvreckan the wind had eased, the sea was slight and the sun was shining. Photos show Corryvreckan as we saw it and from a scanned postcard when wind and tide make it a dangerous place.

  

 

Corryvreckan Whirlpool from a postcard.

Corryvreckan Whirlpool from a postcard.

Seal seen passing through Doris Mor

Seal seen passing through Dorus Mor

 

We passed through Dorus Mor at slack water with little problem other than light winds that slowed our speed. But we enjoyed the scenery up loch Crainish to moor at Adfern Marina for the night.

 

 

Loch Craignish

Loch Craignish

 

The next morning we set sail from Adfern for the short passage to Crinan where we planned to navigate the Crinan Canal to the Firth of Clyde. Winds were forecast S or SE F4/5 occasionally 6, but were very light as we set sail up Loch Craignish towards Dorus Mor.    

 

 

We enjoyed the sail as we tacked backwards and forwards across the loch towards our destination.  We noted that many yachts ahead of us were motoring and before long the reason was clear!  Squally winds were funneling from the hills surrounding the loch and we were soon hurtling along needing to reef the main sail.  The wind was changing rapidly from a gentle breeze to F6 making it very difficult to get the reefs in. First 2 reefs went in, then the 3rd before Christine Marie was under control and handling the squally gusts with ease. 

Entrance to sea lock, Crinan Canal

Entrance to sea lock, Crinan Canal

 

Once clear of Loch Craignish the wind settled and we enjoyed the short sail across to Crinan, where the squally winds returned as we made our approach to enter the sea lock into the Crinan Canal.

                                                                                                                                                                       

Crinan Canal near Bellanoch

Crinan Canal near Bellanoch

 

By evenig we had reached Dunardy where we moored for the night close to lock 13.  Crinan Canal is very different to the Caledonian Canal, it is narrower and shallower, more like other inland waterways, but passes through some lovely countryside.

 

 

Swing Bridge, Crinan Canal.

Swing Bridge, Crinan Canal.

 

We took three days in lovely weather to pass through the 9M Crinan Canal with its 15 locks and  7 bridges. All but the sea locks at Crinan and Ardrishaig are self-operated, but we soon had the ‘hang of it’ … Steve did a great job ashore with the heavy work of opening the gates and sluices.

 

Christine Marie moored off the Oyster Bar, Otter Bay, Upper Loch Fyne.

Christine Marie moored off the Oystercatcher Bar and restaurant, Otter Bay, Upper Loch Fyne.

 

Sun 31 May:  We passed through the sea lock at Ardrishaig and in sun and light winds made passage to Upper Loch Fyne, where we visited the Oystercatcher Bar and restaurant at Otter Bay for lunch.  

 

 

 

Tarbert

Tarbert

 

 

In the afternoon, we had a sail in sunshine down Loch Fyne to Tarbert. A lovely harbour.

 

 

 

Loch Ranza and Castle, Arran.

Loch Ranza and Castle, Arran.

 

Mon 1 June: Sailed to Loch Ranza, Arran, where we enjoyed an afternoon relaxing in the sun and moored for the night. Weather and scenery glorious. 🙂  In the evening after our evening meal on board I operated on 8om, working 16 stations before retiring at 1 am. Apparently the crew were not disturbed! 🙂

Campbeltown

Campbeltown

 

Tuesday 2 June: We continued our passage south enjoying some relaxed sailing in the sun. I attempted to catch dinner on several occasions, trawling  for Sea Bass, Mackerel or Sea Trout that were very elusive! 🙂  In light winds we sailed into Carradale Bay for lunch before resuming passage down Kilbrannan Sound to Campbeltown. The wind increased as we made our approach down the long channel in Campbeltown Loch to the harbour. Good sailing practice as we  enjoyed making short, fast tacks, keeping in safe water to our destination. It was fun, although I lost the £25 pilot book overboard as Christine Marie heeled whilst tacking sharply!!  🙂

Weds 3 June:  We visited Campbeltown for supplies on Wednesday morning, sailing at noon to round the south of Arran and up Arran’s east coast to our destination at Lamlash.  Winds were very light and we relaxed in the sun as Christine Marie eased along at barely 2Kn.   

Liz and Steve get to grips with the cruising chute.  :-)

Liz and Steve get to grips with the cruising chute. 🙂

 

Having enjoyed the sun, we decided we needed some activity and that we would experiment with my cruising chute.  Soon we had the large colourful ‘kite’ flying in front of us and we managed to continue sailing with little wind. 

 

 

Passing Ailsa Craig

Passing Ailsa Craig

 

Ever the optimist, I continued to trawl for fish with little joy!!  🙂  We passed in sight of Ailsa Craig, rising sharply from the sea, rounding Pladda Island with it’s lighthouse before sailing up the E coast of Arran.

 

 

Pladda Island, south of Arran.

Pladda Island, south of Arran.

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

Approaching Lamlash Harbour, Arran.

Approaching Holy Island and the entrance to Lamlash Harbour, Arran.

 

By early evening we were approaching Holy Island and the entrance into the large natural harbour at Lamlash on the east coast of Arran, where we picked up a visitors buoy for the night.  During the night the wind picked up and Christine Marie was pitching on the mooring, making it very uncomfortable on board.  We just had to get dressed and go on deck in the dark to adjust the anchor lines and secure the rudder firmly amidships. Job completed it was a more gentle rocking to sleep!  🙂

Thurs 4 June:  We left early in the morning for a leisurely sail northwards up the coast of Arran and across to anchor for lunch off the island of Inchmarnock, off the SW coast of Bute.  The weather continued to be great, although little wind and we rarely made more than 3kn.  We just relaxed and enjoyed the scenery as we sailed slowly up west Kyle towards our evening anchorage.  Towards Loch Riddon the scenery is beautiful. 

At anchor Eilean Dubh

At anchor Eilean Dubh

 

We made our final approach carefully through the narrow channel between Eilean Dubh and rocks into Caldagh Harbour, to anchor in a small 5m pool just 30m off the attractive island with its rhododendrons, mature trees and rocks. 

 

 

 

Firth of Clyde

Firth of Clyde

 

Fri 5 June:  My birthday!  🙂  We sailed in light winds down E Kyle and had a lively sail in brisk winds as we approached Kames Bay, Bute,  where we stopped for lunch moored to a buoy off the harbour.

After lunch we continued our passage to Largs Marina, where our 10 day cruise from Oban ended. 

 

 

Ray, Liz and Steve enjoy a meal at Fins Fish Restaurant.

Ray, Liz and Steve enjoy a meal at Fins Fish Restaurant.

 

In the evening, we went ashore and visited Fins Seafood Restaurant, a lovely birthday treat by Steve and Liz.

My thanks to Steve and Liz for their help on this passage.  They left the yacht on Sat 6 June) to return home. 

Henry joins me at Largs on the 21 June when we will set sail across to N Ireland and down the E coast to Dublin.

Advertisements

Categories

%d bloggers like this: