A trip to Oban (to avoid West Highland Yachting Week).

Linda and I arrived at Misha on Thursday evening quite early-ish. The cake and things we had left on board a couple of weeks ago looked remarkably intact but went straight in the bin and we set up our bed then went over to Lord of the Isles for dinner. Funnily enough, I ordered the Crayfish Mac’n’Cheese which has become my firm favourite. We bumped into Barry and enjoyed the pleasure of his company before we ate. The main plan for this weekend’s sailing was to avoid West Highland Yachting Week wherever possible.

Although I am not drinking much at the moment I enjoyed a glass of Gavi with my meal and washed it down with some Diet Coke. The evening had a spectacular sunset not long after an outrageous but short-lived downpour. Good Scottish Weather, ‘if you don’t like it, wait 15 mins and it will change.

We went back to the boat feeling tired and satiated and slept very well. Overnight there were a couple of rain storms that passed over and we enjoyed that lovely feeling of being warm and dry, while outside it is horrible.

Friday was a working day for both of us, so after some tea and coffee we both went on separate Teams calls for most of the morning. At Lunchtime I popped through to Lucy’s in Ardfern. There I picked up some of their awesome sausage rolls. We prefer the scones at Ardfern Village Store. So I visited there too and picked up some scones and some fresh raspberries.

For lunch Linda and I split a sausage roll and crisps. Not the healthiest of options but it was yummy and kept us going. I then had another call from 13:00 that was scheduled for a couple of hours. It finished early allowing me to make up the guest cabins before our pals arrived later in the evening.

I ended up having to take another call about some WiFi challenges being faced by one of my favourite clients. Amusingly, they are actually my client’s, client’s client. But all the same a 45 minute call and some notes seemed to keep the wolf from their door and get them smiling again.

Somewhere around 7pm Gavin, Lucy and Angus popped by, bringing with them a lovely bottle of white wine. I had a lesser quality bottle pre-chilled and had I realised how good the one they had brought us was, I would have been embarrassed to serve them what I did. Gavin and his family are heading out on Merganser to keep one stop ahead of WHYW (West Highland Yachting Week). Our sail was also planned, as much as possible, to avoid the fleet. We all had a lovely natter and they headed off to watch the last edition of Neighbours.

At just the same time as Gavin’s family departed Misha, our guests for the weekend arrived. Andrea was in the Port Aft Cabin and James and Kasia were in the Starboard Aft Cabin. We got everyone settled and I served a supper of cold meats, cheeses and biscuits while briefing everyone on the boat and the plan for the weekend.

Now, I have been body swerving booze much of the time, and did so on Friday night. I drink non alcoholic Gin and Tonics or Non Alcoholic Rum and Coke. However, Linda and our guests enjoyed a glass or two of wine with the snacks and before long it was 1am and I was falling asleep at the table. It was an enjoyable catch up with our friends but by the end of the night I could barely find my way to the cabin I was so tired.

I awoke around 6am (half an hour later than I usually awake) quite refreshed. The rain was hammering down outside and XC Weather was telling me it wasn’t going to clear till nearly lunchtime. I had given everyone a breakfast time of 9am with a ‘ropes off’ of 10am. So, I lay in bed listening to a novel on my earphones until around 8am when I got up and started prepping breakfast. We had toast and bacon inside and filled up the water before we headed off, in full wet weather gear, at 10am.

We departed the marina and headed south passing to the east of Shuna and Luing down towards Port an Tiobairt. As we were approaching, Barry was bringing Jenny Wren into the Bay with a tour group to see the seal colony.

I anchored (badly) in the middle of the bay, and when the current died down and the wind picked up, I was only a couple of feet away from the west reef that sticks some way out into the wider Bay. I had to lift and reset further to the East and felt a right numpty in front of my guests but also in front of Barry and his group making a rookie mistake.

We stayed for about 45 minutes watching the seals, had tea and biscuits and enjoyed a rest before we lifted anchor (again) and headed north for the Gulf of the Corryvreckan. Barry and Jenny Wren had already departed when we hauled the hook and we hugged the Jura coast into the Corry before setting a bit more northbound. The weather was certainly improving, drying up and brightening up too.

We had to motor through the passage but we were able to sail again as soon as we turned more northerly and were making a very comfortable 5kn over most of the journey. Misha passed to the East of the Garvellachs then passed west of Insch Island and Kerrerra. There were loads of boats out on the water from sailing dingy, through pleasure sloops and other configurations all the way up to big fish farm vessels and the ferries. It was a busy day in the Sound of Lorne.

Our plan had us anchoring in Camas Nathais which is north of Oban, west of the airport, and south Eriska. Its a pleasant horseshoe bay protected from all but southerlies. The forecast was to be westerly backing northerly but there was still a tad of southerly swell entering the Bay and I did wonder how comfortable it was going to be. But anchored up we could see the swell reducing and by the time dinner was served on deck it was barely noticeable.

We sat in late afternoon sunlight on deck and enjoyed Lucys sausage rolls, boiled potatoes and ‘insalata caprese’. This time served with some lovely Moet James and Kasia had brought along everyone was more abstemious this evening. We had seals all around us, swimming and fishing, and popping by to check what we were up to. There were no sea eagles as there had been my previous time in the Bay but it was a very pleasant evening anchor and we listened to music for a good while outside before retiring inside and playing cards for a while. We ate some lovely snacks that Andrea had brought along but we never dipped into the pink gin; that will have to remain for her next visit.

Everyone seemed tired after a day sailing and in the sunshine. Although no one appeared as tired as me! And I called ‘Bed’ first around 10pm. I slept really well overnight. Awaking only once at 3am when a large ship sent a goodly wash into the bay.

The morning was blue and bright and already pleasantly warm for breakfast at 07:15 on deck. I cooked some bacon for sandwiches, but also there was muesli, yoghurt and berries and lashings of OJ, tea and coffee. We had a strict 0800 anchor up to ensure passage through Cuan so it was a quick breakfast, then up with he hook and southbound we went.

James was on the helm most of the day and we entered Oban Bay planning on skirting the island and popping across to the Kerrera side and tracking in. As there was a yacht coming towards us we crossed behind diagonally in the absence of any other traffic. The light winds and requirement to have engine running meant we motor sailed to Heather Island then bay on the flappy white things all the way down past East End and out towards Pullobraihn.

We travelled across from Kerrera to Insch Island in bright sunshine making 5kn under sail all the way but turning east, south of Easdale, the wind died away to nothing and we had to rely on the Iron Sails to get us into Sound of Cuan. It spat us through rather efficiently and we popped out the other end just in time to unfurl the Genoa and sail into Loch Shuna under foresail alone.

The loch was full of jostling racing yachts and we did our best to keep out of their way. Andrea was on the helm. We travelled east along the top of the loch as though we were going to Melford then only turning south for Craobh outside their course, and when there was a gap in the flow of racers.

It was beautifully warm with blue skies and it was a pleasant motor into the marina to tie up. Once berthed Linda provided a lunch and I started the cleaning. We had a cracking weekend!

67 Miles over two days. Getting home was rather less fun. Linda and I got stuck behind an accident at Taynuilt that ended up with a road closure and us having to backtrack to Connell, head to Ballahullish and then drive through Glen Coe on the way home. It was a beautiful road trip but the extra 90 mins meant we were both exhausted.

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