Kerrera back to Craobh

Sunday saw us returning to Craobh after a three day weekend visiting firstly Tobermory and then Kerrera Marina. Throughout the weather has been chilly but crisp and frosty adding to the whole experience. Truly Linda hasn’t done much in the way of Winter sailing often preferring to send me off on my own to enjoy the experience. However on this occasion it was me who debated it and Linda who urged me to jump at the last minute opportunity that availed itself to get away from a few days.

After yesterday’s Christmas Craft Faire at Kerrera Marine, we awoke early and made coffee and tea before casting off at the first light of dawn. There was barely a puff of wind and I had to realise that I would be spending the morning on motor and with not much time to spare to get to Cuan before the current turned against us.

Motoring down the Sound the vistas were stunning. Thick frosts gripped the land and the sun rose slowly in the East. There were sleepy seabirds sitting on posts and buoys and we travelled down at 6 knots keeping as quiet as a diesel allows to avoid breaking the peace of the Sunday morning.

There was only the Kerrera ferry moving around us and the odd car driving on the mainland shore. As the sun peeked over the hills and lit the place up, it was very beautiful and the scale of the horizon as we came out from the Sound into the Lynne of Lorne took our breaths away. As did the cold, air temps of -3C.

A fishing boat was heading north from Easdale as we headed south and the lens effect was causing the Garbhellachs to float on the horizon. We could see for miles, right over the horizon! We could see Colonsay and the west end of Mull, the Torran Rocks. The Sound of Mull was crystal clear as were the lighthouses. That crisp clear ‘CAVOK’ visibility, plus lens effect at the surface gave us that unique high pressure winter experience.

Turning towards Cuan and heading in we ended up with some current urging us on and we managed 9 knots through the narrows with plenty of seabirds around to keep us company. Turning into Seil Sound there were two White Tailed Sea Eagles who were initially disturbed by our proximity before settling on an outcrop and posing for photos as we passed.

Arriving in Craobh it was even colder than it had been at Kerrera with an air temp on Misha showing -4C as we arrived at the Marina. The other yachts on our pontoon still had thick frost on their decks but it dispersed quickly as the sun hit.

We had an amazing winter weekend, I think the bester ever for the two of us. Misha is safely tied up now and we hope to be back on board not long after Christmas for the last and first sails of 2022 and 2023 respectively!

19.6 miles, 2.8 hours all under motor.

Kerrera for the Christmas Craft Faire

Our plan for Saturday was to sail to Kerrera for the Christmas Craft Faire. However before that we needed to head our on Friday night for a Pub Crawl in Tobermory. We had a great dinner in MacGochans, enjoying a chat with Kirsty. Following which we wandered along to the Mish for a couple and met a lovely chap; Leon who tried to buy us Pizza. It was very much appreciated but we were full.

I started there with a 17yr old Tobermory then had a Rum & Coke before we moved on to the Tobermory Hotel. There Linda had cocktail and I had a Diet Coke (so I could keep going a while). 

After that we headed back to MacGochans bar and enjoyed a couple of nice whiskys including a 17 yr old and a 23 yr old. We had a great night and really enjoyed the Pub Crawl meeting lots of great folks as we did.

Saturday morning we awoke before dawn and headed out leaving the marina around 08:50 heading 00south down the Sound. The wind was a bit fickle and it was 50/50 motor sailing and sailing but we got a brilliant sail from Duart across to Oban Bay in 20+ knots of wind. 

It didn’t feel as cold as Friday but it must have been. At 9am I poured myself a cup of Diet Coke and by 09:10 the drink was frozen!

We arrived into Kerrera Marina at 13:00. Of course at that moment the gusts were around 25 knots and there was no way I could get Misha to stern tie so we ended up being bow in and were very grateful to one of the chaps from the Marina who came to catch lines.

Kerrera were hosting a Christmas Craft Faire so we had Stollen Donuts followed by Roast Meet with Pepper Sauce rolls and chips. The craft faire had loads of interesting things and I had to work hard not to buy lots of shiny things for Misha. There was an enamel painting of a marine scene with ducks legs at the top, sharks, then fish, then octopus tentacles at the bottom that would certainly have been coming home with us were it not already sold.

An early night followed and it was very comfortable and Gill and Tim are always the best hosts.

34 miles, 4.2hours, top speed of 8.2 knots (under sail at the Narrows).

Tobermory to Kerrera
Tobermory to Kerrera

Icebreaker up to Tobermory

We arrived at Craobh Haven late Thursday evening. The plan was just to use the boat as an office this weekend and at least have a change of scenery. However as we drove up the road on Thursday afternoon I received a call to let me know the testing I was due to oversee had been put back to next year now so I have a free weekend.

The air temperature was around -4C when we arrived at the marina and the temperature inside Misha was 7C we slammed on the heaters and set about getting ourselves comfortable.

With the diesel and electric heater on and a steak pie in the oven it wasn’t long till the jackets came off, the wine was opened and we could relax in warmth and comfort.

There was a beautiful full winter moon sitting over the marina and with the frost on the pontoons it was great to be snuggled up safe and warm inside.

Full moon in Craobh
Full moon in Craobh

We slept like logs and I had to extract Linda from her duvet at 08:15 through bribery of bed-tea. We decided against breakfast but did what we needed to prepare Misha to head out; topped up water, stowed everything securely, etc.

The morning was bright and crisp and warmer than the night before. The moon was sitting clear in the west and the sunrise was brilliant. 

Out through Cuan, I had forgotten to take off ‘British Summertime’ setting on the tide app, so Linda could have had an extra hour in bed. As it was we managed to navigate through Cuan against a knot of tide and head out towards Easdale.

It was beautifully crisp and blue and winter sailing at its best. At Insh Island we saw another yacht heading south under full sail but that was the only other pleasure boat we saw all day. We had a mid-morning snack of bacon butties, and coffee and tea on the hour every hour.

As we approached the Sound of Mull we had two ferries, two workboats, and two cargo ships all congregating together around Duart Bay. Then two sets of two Eurofighters Typhoons flew down the Sound at about 300ft. It was thrilling.

There were a few flakes of snow just around Lochaline so I changed from my warmth outers to my waterproofs but it came to nothing and I was warm enough in my waterproofs. 

We had the usual debate about going in via Aros Bay or going round Calve Island and we went around Calve island. I started rigging the mooring lines and setting the fenders as we entered the Bay and we radioed Tobermory Harbour to confirm permissions receiving a lovely welcome in reply from Joe.

With our navigation light on, as it was already getting dark we motored in through the new fairway and got Misha settled snugly into a berth for the night. Next bit was warm up the boat. She was down at 7C as we had sailed up the Sound but she quickly warmed up and we headed out for dinner in Tobermory.

42 miles, 6.3 hours, average speed 5.3 knots.

Craobh to Tobermory
Craobh to Tobermory