Friday, 21 August 2015

Tuesday - Portavadie to Largs

Alice and I investigated the new Spa facilities at the marina - pretty amazing, have a look at their website here.

Found some great cards in the shop as well, including this one from Emma Ball

The day started with a good F4 steady breeze from the north west so we crossed Loch Fyne to the western shore close to this scallop dredger - a classic fishing boat shape.
Alice took the helm as we crossed then we ran down Loch Fyne to the Cock of Arran
Then headed east to the southern tip of the Isle of Bute, for a time escorted by a single porpoise which played around the boat, to Glencallum Bay where we anchored at the head of the bay and went for a swim.
As we left we had an argument with some rocks - my fault, I knew they were there, well not quite where they were. However we just touched the keels and then reversed off. No damage done but a salutary lesson not to get too cocky.

Great sail back to Largs and and a sunset to finish the day
All in all a great few days sailing, averaging 25 miles a day and a lot of it was sailing. We were blessed by the weather. Alice enjoyed her first 'big' boat sailing adventure and got in some wild swimming as well.
Alice headed off the next day and I spent a day doing inside jobs on the boat as the morning sun soon left us and the rain set in for the day.
I left the next day and had a long but easy drive home.
A great trip made better by a great boat to sail, thanks Dylan, and thank you Jane.
You can see Dylan's latest exploits here

Monday, 17 August 2015

Monday - Port Bannatyne to Portavadie

An amazing day weatherwise, lots of sun winds only F1or F2 or just calm.
Caught some mackerel as we started up the East Kyle and Alice learned to gut her first fish.

We anchored in Loch Riddon and ate the fish after Alice had another swim - avoiding the jelly fish, of which there are plenty.
The wind died away after lunch so we ended up motoring most of the way to Portavadie.
This place is as strange as ever, but I just had to show Alice. See their website here

Sunday - Loch Goil to Port Bannatyne

Alice got up before breakfast and went for another swim - she is a very hardy chap!
It did mean that we could have a cooked breakfast.

We headed out down Loch Goil and Loch Long on the engine and then round to Port Bannatyne. It was along days sail and motor but the weather was lovely. 
We saw a large piece of  aircraft carrier being towed down the Clyde by tug, headed for Rosyth.
As we arrived the boat next door had bagpipe music blasting out, so we were piped into our berth.
Port Bannatyne is still the same although they have taken away the old boats in the parking spaces and put up some lovely flower baskets.
I cooked a tasty stew for us, though I say so myself.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Saturday - Rhu Marina to Loch Goil

Rain again, and I'm sure they promised a fine day! There was sunshine too.
Sailed round from Rhu spotting a rather nice yacht called Drum out on the water,
and then up Loch Long past lots of mysterious buildings guarded by patrol boats. Alice and I were entranced by a family of Porpoises that played around the boat for five minutes or so as we turned from Loch Long into Loch Goil.
Then slowly sailed up to Lochgoilhead only to discover all the visitors moorings were full.
Turned back down the Loch to Carrick Castle but the two visitors moorings there were full so decided to anchor. A few minutes after dropping the anchor we were hailed from the shore. A very nice man, with a couple of GSDs said we could use his mooring for the night - for free. Thank you very much sir.
Alice swam that evening in the Loch. Both exhausted so in bed early- didn't wake up til 9 the next morning!
This was the view from the hatch that evening - magic.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Friday - a contrasting day weatherwise

The weather changed this morning but we have decided to head off on an adventure. First destination is Rhu Marina. Forecast F1/F2 with rain later.
So some sailing but having to work our way up the Firth as wind from the north. Eventually resort to the trusty engine and soon find the rain.
Passed by the Waverley as it did its rounds of the Clyde
Still there are lots or porpoises, birds and the odd seal. Arrived in Rhu about 7pm. 
Boys in the marina office very pleasant and they recommend the fish and chips from the cafe on site! Wow Alice and I got the last two portions and it was excellent. Fish delicious and full of flavour, chips light and crispy. Only on Friday nights and a limited number of portions available - worth a visit, definitely a treat. Cafe Rhu
Drying out now and looking forward to a good night's sleep.

August - back on the boat

Arrived today in blazing sunshine at midday. A couple of hours to get Harmony straight before Alice arrived.
Straight out on the water to drift and motor to Millport Bay on Cumbrae so that Alice could go for a swim.

Back in Largs for a quick supper then off to sleep

Thursday, 11 June 2015

A walk round Great Cumbrae

Having had such a great sailing trip we decided to have a change and go for a walk on the island of Great Cumbrae. A scorcher of a day, we caught the ferry and set off - it was magical........I am just going to post the pictures.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Three day trip around Bute

We have just completed a three day trip around Bute. Monday 8th June to Wednesday 10th June.
Winds about Force 2 or 3 and lots of sunshine. This is Scotland at its best!
Picture postcard blue skies, sparkling seas and very gentle sailing.
We sailed from Largs to Portavadie on Bute, via the Cumbrae Islands and the Cock of Arran, up Loch Fyne to Portavadie on the first day. The second day from Portavadie up the West Kyle of Bute and then past the Burnt Islands and down the East Kyle to Port Bannatyne on the other side of Bute. The third day took us back across the Firth of Clyde around Little Cumbrae into Largs.

This was ideal sailing conditions and warm days but cold nights. We had supper outside for the first time when we got back to Largs.

I can't believe we have had such a good trip so early on. Let's hope the summer will be good and we can do some more .I'll post some pictures later and I promise to learn some basic editing to tidy up the videos!!

Tomorrow we hope to go walking on Great Cumbrae island.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Glasgow - an urban experience

The weather forecast for today was foul - wind and rain all day

We opted to take the train to Glasgow -
where the weather was also foul but less critical.

What a place full of wonders! we saw some great wall art

A church with a cash machine and a neon flashing OPEN sign

We walked up to the cathedral and found the Glasgow Necropolis, with amazing monuments, mausoleums and headstones

 From where we got a great view of the Cathedral and shamelessly took a selfie

Inside the Cathedral were some beautiful stain glass windows - I particularly liked the fisherman hugging a fish.

Also everywhere in the Cathedral, founded by St Mungo, were images of a fish with a ring in its mouth - I looked it up and this is what it said on Wikipedia

In the 'Life of Saint Mungo', he performed four miracles in Glasgow. The following verse is used to remember Mungo's four miracles:
Here is the bird that never flew
Here is the tree that never grew
Here is the bell that never rang
Here is the fish that never swam
The verses refer to the following:
  • The Bird — Mungo restored life to a robin, that had been killed by some of his classmates.
  • The Tree — Mungo had been left in charge of a fire in Saint Serf's monastery. He fell asleep and the fire went out. Taking a hazel branch, he restarted the fire.
  • The Bell — the bell is thought to have been brought by Mungo from Rome. It was said to have been used in services and to mourn the deceased. The original bell no longer exists, and a replacement, created in the 1640s, is now on display in Glasgow.
  • The Fish — refers to the story about Queen Languoreth of Strathclyde who was suspected of infidelity by her husband. King Riderch demanded to see her ring, which he claimed she had given to her lover. In reality the King had thrown it into the River Clyde. Faced with execution she appealed for help to Mungo, who ordered a messenger to catch a fish in the river. On opening the fish, the ring was miraculously found inside, which allowed the Queen to clear her name.

After a lovely salad and copious amounts of coffee and hot chocolate we walked the mile or so to the Scotland Street School Museum a building designed by Charles Rennie Macintosh and now a museum to him and to early 20th century schooling. All those tiles and desks and blackboards brought memories flooding back for both Hilary and me. The building is a stunning bit of architecture both inside and out.

We arrived back tired but happy to a still windy and rainy Largs.
Bacon and eggs for supper!

Friday, 5 June 2015

Getting too cocky

On the strength of yesterdays great sail we decided to go out again today. The forecast in the morning was rain so I sat in and repaired the mainsail. We headed out after lunch it was forecast Force 5 or so and getting stronger through the afternoon. I thought the stronger winds would not come until 6pm or 7pm. However they came quite a bit earlier! The wind was from the south east blowing up the channel between Largs and Great Cumbrae.
I put a double reef in the main before we set out. It was a bit too windy for our comfort. In the end we used the genoa only and only two thirds of it at most . We tried a bit of beating across the channel then decided to run up the channel before the wind. We cracked along at about 5 knots. After about an hour the wind was getting stronger and the sea rougher so we furled the genoa and motored south back to Largs. It was very rough. Again Hilary coped wonderfully, so we think we are ready to attempt a trip to visit some of the other marinas in the area. Watch this space!

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Round the Island

We did are first serious sail today round the island of Great Cumbrae. The forecast was for a gentle Force 3 at most from the south. We had some rain but it was generally a lovely sail. We sailed round clockwise

We saw a porpoise which swam round the boat, it announced itself with a rather watery cough and then kept appearing for the next half an hour or so. Gannets were diving, the Eider ducks were just floating around and of course were were inspected by the odd seal.

Hilary did really well and coped with everything that went on, she had to put up with some wallowing around in calm conditions off Sheanawally Point and found that drinking lemon and ginger tea helped to deal with the queasiness.
The highlight of the trip was seeing a submarine, I presume nuclear , heading out to sea as we headed towards the Portachur mark. It was surrounded by guard boats that kept a continuous ring around it as it steamed down the channel.
The trip was 14.5 nautical miles, took 5 1/2 hours and our average speed was 2.4 knots.
No pictures I'm afraid as we were too taken up with enjoying the sail!
When we got back to the Marina I was treated to pair of very smart sailing boots as an early birthday present - thank you!!

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Hilary's first sail on Harmony

The wind was forecast F4 and no rain forecast. So we ventured out for our first sail together.
I think Hilary enjoyed it!
She coped well with helming whilst I played around with sails etc and even making the tea.
The weather was kind as we tootled about in Largs Bay and tried out various combinations of sails.

The day finished with a very good sunset

Tomorrow the winds are light from the south and south east so we will have a go at circumnavigating the island of Great Cumbrae.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

A walk on the Hill

As the day didn't look very promising with wild and windy weather we walked to Fairlie Castle and over the Hill back to the Marina.