It was our second year of sailing with the Comerie's and, as usual, they brought their weather charm with them. We were prepared for chilly nights in late April but ended up with an unbroken spell of high pressure and wall to wall sunshine. A great week of sailing with excellent company and the perfect tonic after a stressful spring which had seen the death of my father and the inexorable decline of my mother's health as Alzheimer's ravaged her mind and body.
Our mooring had not been recommissioned so Shimshal was still in her winter berth in Craobh Haven when we loaded her up for a week long cruise to Knoydart. We left the marina in bright sunshine and light winds and had half the big Genoa hanked on when the gust hit us sending us scurrying for winch handles and desperately pulling on lines. Such was the chaos of the first sail of the season we managed to break two Spinlock jammers within a mile or two of Craobh. An inauspicious start.
Things were more ordered after that as we sped up the Sound of Luing and across the Firth of Lorne and into the Sound of Mull.
Dinner ashore was a rather curious experience. It was some kind of music festival on Mull and all of the restaurants were packed so we ended up in a rather down at heel Chinese run by Indians. Against all expectations the food was great.
The next day gave us a gentle sail north, around Ardnamurchan and into a mooring off the Old Forge at Inverie in Knoydart. This is supposed to be the remotest pub in the UK so we anticipated a quiet meal ashore. Instead flocks of people were perched on the grassy swathe in front of the village all soaking up the evening sun. It was the last night of the Knoydart Folk Music. Festival and so, after some intensive people watchin, we returned to Shimshal for dinner aboard.
The boats ferrying the festival goers arrived early the next day and continued to roar to and fro Mallaig for most of the day as, gradually Inverie waved off its 700 visitors. We went ashore with a mountain in Sally's sights. A track led north east through forestry and out into the moorland. We turned right off the track and plodded up through the heather and bog up towards a plateau at about 500m. Then, more steeply, we puffed up an elegant conical hill that led to a lovely ridge and then onto the summit of ___.
Excellent weather and wonderful views out too Skye, The Small Isles and Ben Nevis and Kintail. On the way back down we followed a steep gulley that brought us down to the track a little east of Inverie. Dinner that night was ashore in the Old Forge.
THe next morning we motored out of Loch Nevis until the wind picked up and pushed us south and west towards Ardnamurchan in delightful weather. Late that evening we dodged Drumbhuie on the southside of Loch Sunart where we anchored for the night.
THe next day we pottered down the Sound of Mull and onto Oban where we picked up a mooring off Kerrera. On out last day we moved onto the Cardingmell Moorings near the sailing club where North West Marine had negotiated us a mooring as they had failed to recommission out own mooring. Sally managed to hitch a lift down to Traighuaine with our neighbour, Neil, who works in the hospital in Oban. She returned with the car and we left Shimshal for the comforts of Traighuaine.