The Summer of the Good Ship Claymore

Well – this certainly shouldn’t take much writing!

 

Let’s see – ah yes, the Merry Month of May. Off we set – bright eyed and full of hope and the promise of a balmy cruise in Scottish waters, long days and light nights, destinations to discover and destinations to revisit.

With antifouling complete and hours of spitting, polishing and buffing, the Boat began to look in aspects, ready for sea by mid May. The weather was delightful whilst all this was going on in the yard at Ardfern. A revamp of the wheelhouse and long needed tidy up of the navigation area were completed and then we were afloat! Happy days. The original intention was to set sail on the first Summer Cruise during the last week of May, however – the Gremlins had stowed away over the winter and come the time to go – nothing would go! Anchor winch U/S is reported in the log along with wipers a dodgy gps connection, a fridge light not functioning, an issue with the shorepower unit which seemed to suggest it wasn’t powering (rigorous testing indicated it always probably had been but you have to trust the lights and when there are no lights – it’s a fairly logical assumption that the bally thing isn’t working.

 

The first entry for the 2017 log came on 2nd June when we (My friends, the Good Doctor Musgrave and the Hon. Douglas Smith) slipped quietly from the pontoon at Ardfern at around 10:30 hrs – all three sporting the most dreadful headaches after a wee promenade along the Top Shelf in the Galley of Lorne on the previous evening.

 

We scooshed along on the tide down to the McCormaig Islands where coffee was taken, as was lunch and indeed an afternoon snooze meaning that we eventually arrived alongside the Pier in Craighouse on the lovely island of Jura at around 17:30 having covered 23miles.

Our intention was to wander around to Port Ellen on the morrow and sample the Craic – we Sampled it in Craighouse and felt it couldn’t be bettered but you never know…..

 

The road to Hell is, as we know, paved with good intentions – On Saturday 3rd June the fairway to Port Ellen was paved with wind, rain and hail. We tried – oh how we tried – but try as we might – the prospect of another hour or two of the same proved to much for the noble Skipper and Crew and so we turned tail and headed back into Craighouse – the Craic was mighty and who know – probably better than the previous evening and far and away superior to anything we may have found in Port Ellen. The Log recorded 20 miles travelled so clearly we had done half the distance – anyway we drank to that achievement – several times if I remember correctly.

 

Listening to the forecast that evening it was clear that strong winds and rain were to adorn the West Coast for the foreseeable future (probably up to November) so we sailed back to Craobh Haven, then around to Ardfern the following day, got on our ferret suits and legged it home the following day – stopping only so that the Hon Douglas could make a record Bacon Butty eating attempt at the top of Rest and be Thankful. He pitched in with a Personal Best of 4 but believes that 5 is achievable if he doesn’t have breakfast first.

 

I returned North on Wednesday 14th June for a second Sun-Kissed adventure. This time with my ageing former Colleagues Professor Stancliffe and The Boy Roger Skelton – both loose acquaintances from my time working at Knott End Sea Centre

 

The picture paints a thousand words as we saw the sun for about 10 minutes – which in 10 days is not a high average really!

We didn’t let this get us down (much) We met up with two Danes in Tobermory. One is  a lifelong friend of my Son-In Law and the other sailed for Denmark in the Montreal Olympics – great company – I unblocked their bog – they tried to get me the worse for drink in return. I think I won. We parted after a couple of days – they bound for Mallaig whilst we wandered over to Salen in Loch Sunart. The picture above is of the new pontoon there. Can recommend the pub!

 

After that we looked into Port Mor on Muck before heading back into the Sound of Mull in thick mist and over to Tobermory for Milk before heading down to Loch Aline – where again we went alongside a pontoon – but this time in glorious sunshine - Whooppee!

 

From there we wandered slowly back through Oban bay, inside Easdale Sound, through Cuan and back to Croabh leaving a short day on the morrow to get through Dorus Mor and back to Ardfern – again – in Sunshine – by now we were thinking this was all getting a bit much and wasn’t it time for a spot of rain?  

 

Our final sortie has been a very sober and brief trip – Just Liz and myself – where we had a lovely potter around the Islands for a couple of days – again, the sun - whilst not quite shining – made its presence felt as it was warm – Have any of you taken coffee at the café in Crinan – The scones are to die for!

 

So – that’s us home for a week or two – I said the final trip was a sober one – well, not quite!

Here’s to an Indian Summer and a few decent weeks in September and October before we call it a day for another year.

 

John Swannie

September 2017

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