Speedwell of Rhu Ship's Log

26th to 29th of August 2010 - Across The Sound of Jura

Position Map
Crew : Helen and Andy
Destinations : Port Ellen, Islay.
Distance : 19 miles

We left Gigha around 1030. Again the sun was shining. We had our second mention on the radio, this time on the Ken Bruce show, Radio 2. We texted him to let him know we had sunshine, because we kept hearing on the radio that the weather was dreadful. We have now had 100% success rate in our seek for stardom! We decided that not many radio 2 listeners use text

We headed south around the bottom of Gigha and then west across the Sound of Jura to Islay wth good views of Ireland and The Mull of Kintyre. The wind was gentle, but we managed around 5 knots in 9 knots of wind. Andy was hopeful about getting the cruising chute up, but the wind was too far on our bow. I was hopeful about having mackerel for tea, unfortunately my fishing technique left something to be desired, so we had tuna (from a tin).

In Port Ellen we decided to anchor in Kilnaughton Bay, just north of the lighthouse as the weather was so good. We were the only boat anchored and the sea was beautifully clear. Again we debated swimming but decided watching the bay was more relaxing. One or two boats came in and went around to the pontoons behind the ferry terminal on the other side of the bay.


The next day we headed for a pontoon in Port Ellen and walked to the Laphroag Distillery, where we had a tour of the malting rooms and tasted the barley, as well as a having a couple of wee drams. We also treated ourselves to a bottle of 18 year old whisky for the boat.

The following day we took a bus to Loch Finlaggan to see the 'most important archeological site in Scotland'. This is where the Lords of the Isles may have lived and also many others before them. The weather gradually deteriorated and we found ourselves stuck in Bowmore in the rain. We found the local hotel for tea and then popped into the distillery for another complimentary wee dram, before getting the bus back to Port Ellen. The wind picked up and it was pretty clear we were staying in Islay for the next day.


Just as we got back to the boat a 44 foot single handed yacht arrived. We helped him with his lines. He had just sailed back alone from St Kilda and had taken a route rather close to the south coast of Islay which has big tidal streams and over-falls. As it was a spring tide he had a very hairy trip, losing a can of petrol, a navigation light and bending an aluminium oar. He thought he may have done serious damage to his rudder, but it turned out he had just left his autopilot on. (We've done this alot!)

We spent the night in the fore-cabin as the water slapping against the hull around the aft-cabin was too much for us. We also thought it was high time we tried out the visitors cabin and, we have to say, it was very comfortable.......if you are a gerbil. If we have guests we would remove the pipe cot immediately above the bunk where we store all our dinghy gear, to make for a less claustrophobic experience.

The following day the forecast looked set to improve, with a high pressure system heading our way. We made plans for a trip to Loch Tarbet on Jura, Deciding to go up the Sound of Islay, rather than around the south coast. But not before a takeaway curry.

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