Miles logged: 31
Total miles logged: 1,505
Days since leaving Fleetwood: 55
Days at sea: 34
As the morning wore on at Craobh the weather seemed to settle so we decided to sail. We spent a relaxing morning at the marina looking at the yachts on the five pontoons and enjoying browsing the excellent chandlery which occupies part of the marina buildings. Well-stocked chandleries are thin on the ground nowadays because so many of us turn first to the Internet for our supplies. But there is nothing like poking around in a really good traditional chandlery. I bought several odds and ends that I have had on my list for a while and I also bought the pilot book for Ardnamurchan to Kintyre as for some reason I didn’t buy that one before we set off in April. As it happens the new book was to come in useful later today, when we approached Gigha.
It was to be a short leg, this one, from Craobh to Gigha, a distance of some thirty miles. The wind was expected to be westerly so we hoped to be able to sail, but given that the tide-times meant a departure time of 1500 we were aware that in order to arrive before dark we would have to maintain a good ground speed. So we expected to have to use our engines for at least some of the leg.
It turned out that the wind was a little more south-west than west so it was impossible to sail. I managed to motor-sail for much of the trip, the genoa adding an extra half-knot or so. Although the fierce wind had now faded it was still cold and a little misty, so the grandeur of our surroundings could not be fully appreciated. So the leg was more of a transit than a leisurely cruise but we were glad to be at sea because it was fully expected that today would be a day at Craobh with the weather precluding us putting to sea.
We expected to have the tide with us all the way down. As has become our frequent experience we didn’t have as much advantage from the tide as the tidal stream atlas led us to believe, having studied it with great care. We did at one point have a significant lift, of two knots or more, but only when passing between some rocky islets where the water was constrained and therefore accelerated. Nevertheless we maintained good ground speed overall and reached Gigha well before dark.
The main harbour at Gigha is Ardminish Bay. A proper landing pontoon has been installed and several mooring buoys are available. Looking at the AIS as we approached it was clear that Ardminish would be extremely busy with upwards of a dozen yachts spending the night there. This is very much the high season for sailing in these spectacular waters and yachts from all over the UK and beyond are here in numbers. All have the same pilot books and many have broadly the same cruising intentions so it is inevitable that many yachts will converge on the best anchorages. We felt that Ardminish was looking rather crowded so we decided to make for the second-best anchorage on Gigha, Druimyeon Bay. This had the advantage of being a little further north than Ardminish so we arrived and were settled a little earlier than had we pressed on.
The anchorage is perfect. It is quiet – there are no other yachts – the scenery is delightful and the silence is total. We expect to sleep well here.
We need to sleep well because in order to reach the Mull of Kintyre at the right time we need to leave here early. We plan to depart at 0500. The Mull of Kintyre and the Mull of Galloway are the two remaining major tidal gates of our trip. I have been around the latter twice but never the former, so I spent much time researching the timings for our passage. With light winds forecast it is to be hoped that we will enjoy a safe and pleasant leg tomorrow.