Findhorn to Isle of Skye on a 23 foot sailboat Summer of 1997
In late May of 1997 Matthew Galaher and Steven Davis set out to sail from Findhorn on the East Coast of Scotland, West through the Caledonian Canal and up the West coast to Isle of Skye. What follows is Matthew's journal.
To view an animated map of the voyage, click here.
The weather has been so nice here, we keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. On our first day we got up at five thirty (the sun sets at about eleven and rises three hours later) and left Findhorn Bay with the tide. We motored across a huge bay and then went up the locks at Inverness, along the canal from where we sailed half way up Loch Ness to Urquart Castle, where we moored for the night. Loch Ness is very beautiful. It is also the longest of the lakes along the Caledonian Canal. The next day we only made it to the end of Loch Ness to a place called Fort Augustus, a town with a series of Locks, surrounded by large heather covered mountains. The next day we motored up Loch Oich and had lunch at the ruins of another castle, before moving on through more canals and locks and reaching Loch Lochy. So far the evenings have brought us an East wind and so we waited until a bit later when sure enough we got our East wind and sailed quite quickly the length of the rather large Loch Lochy. We spent last night tied up to a beautiful old sailing boat with a nice couple on board. This morning we're just a bit further past Loch Lochy and right next to Scotland's highest mountain, Ben Nevis. The landscape is quite majestic and seems to get more so as we approach the West Coast.
May 31. Today we finished the Caledonian Canal and are on the West coast. We woke up at eight o'clock and it was foggy, but that soon burned off. Today was a real scorcher, and we put plenty of doses of sun screen on. We had to go through eight locks and we ended up with the same nice couple (Carl & Debbie) that we tide up to the night before. They have a beautiful tall wooden sail boat. They were sailing to Ireland and had just had a relative from Eugene over to visit for the first time. The weather and the wind continues to be in our favor, and today we sailed what is for this boat quite a ways.
The food decidedly reflects Steven's pallette. Tonight we had baked beans, noodles and bacon. The night before was spaghetti and before that, noodles with white sauce.
Now that we are in the Atlantic (the Sound of Mull really) we have a spectacular view of tall mountains and many, many islands.
We just listened to the weather forecast on the coast guard channel and tomorrow promises to be another nice day. The days seem to have distinct parts to them. It starts out cold and then gets warm only to get a chill again. Then late in the day there is a very warm breeze before it gets really cold at night. My green polartech jacket and matching pants are perfect.
June 1st we sailed into Oban. It's very beautiful. It was the most amazing clear blue sky today and there was a wonderful sunset. I was only sorry I didn't have a little more time ashore. There were many beautiful old sailing ships, and turn of the century racing sloops. There was a neat castle at the entrance of the bay, the third or fourth we've seen.
The Caledonian Canal was beautiful, and a good place to learn a bit about sailing, but it pales in comparison to the stunning landscape here. The second and third nights out of the canal and on the west coast we spent at Oban and Tobermorry (which translates as 'big well'). Oban is called the Edinburgh of the North, and as we sailed in the mouth of the bay we passed a large very old ivy covered castle. The bay is lined with beautiful stone and slate Victorian buildings nestled below forested hills. It has a bit of the feel of Victoria B.C. since it is so beautiful and it's large enough to have many pubs, hotels, and shops (none too common out here). There are many beautiful wooden sail boats in the bay as well. With such a nice view, our fish and chips never tasted so good.
After our night at Oban, we sailed North to Tobermorry which was a kind of smaller Oban, only it had just one street that followed the edge of the bay, and each building was painted a different color. Very Scandinavian. Very cute. Upon leaving Tobermorry we sailed to Sanna bay. There wasn't a cloud to be seen and the white sand was blinding and the water extremely clear. This is not briny water. The shallows in front of the beach were pale sky blue and very strangely tropical. After negotiating the reef and anchoring we paddled the dingy over to the beach. Steven whipped his clothes off, handed me the oars, and I wished I had thought to jump in first, because someone had to finish paddling the dingy ashore. We spent our first day off here and met a retired couple working on their mooring. We told him we had just come from Tobermorry and he said having sailed around the point of Ardnamurchan (pronounced ard-namur-can) we could now wear white heather in our tunics. I thought that was a fun bit of local knowledge. This area is full of history, most of it decidedly violent.
After a day of hiking and reading at Sanna Bay, we sailed to Loch Moidart, without a doubt "the most picturesque of all the west coast lochs with sandy beaches between rocky headlands and, further in, a ruined castle on a tidal islet with thickly wooded shore on either side". Wow, who ever wrote the pilot's guide wasn't kidding. With an incredibly preserved thirteenth century castle, Castle Tioram. Rowing the dingy ashore at the almost tropical Sanna bay, I suddenly felt like a pirate. As Steve and I slowly worked our way past many Boghamor and Sgeirmor, he at the helm, me at the pulpit, I felt like we had just sailed into Narnia on the Dawn treader. Every where the water is quite clear and as I sit on the bow railing (the pulpit) looking out for the Boghamor (maybe that should be Boghaman...) as we slowly enter the loch, bay or harbour a multitude of jelly fish (some quite huge) pass by as if underwater someone is blowing giant soap bubbles. We anchored right off the castle, which seems a well kept secret as it is without any guardrails or other tourist paraphernalia, with the exception of a plaque telling of the history, and this is hundreds of yards away. Steve and I scaled the inner walls and walked the upper ramparts lined with wild flowers, ivy and moss. Steven had to make a phone call so we walked into Acharacle which was about three miles up Loch Shiel. There is a big estate on Loch Shiel and it was fun to walk on the one lane road with all it's old stone bridges.
We often sail for ten or twelve hours including all the provisioning of water, chasing down a place to buy propane, pumping the bilge, deflating the dingy, drying clothes when possible, studying charts, and making meals. I must say it's only the past few days on Eigg that I've had enough time and energy to write a bit more.
It's June 8th and we have dusk from midnight to two a.m. and the rest is daylight. We have been at the isle of Eigg (pronounced Egg) since the night of the sixth and since it is a double keel boat, the tide can go out leaving it high and dry without it falling over. Since this is a very exposed island we have the boat in a small harbor that dries out. We tied up at the only available spot and it unfortunately is right next to where some Oyster Catchers have decided to put their two large brown spotted eggs. I say put, because they can't be said to have built a nest. I think they're first time parents, because they picked the most exposed spot possible. A seagull has already gotten one of the eggs and the other must have froze to embryonic death by now. However the two poor birds are not giving up and we've had two plus days of "piss off you sods!" in high pitched bird speak.
We've had a few rainy days, but when the sun comes out the subdued shades blossom into deep rich and vibrant colors, and that's when it's stunning. Eigg is a mountainous isle draped in lush grass fields and heather cloaked hillsides splashed with large patches of very light green ferns. Groves of Scot's Pine grow out of purple Rhododendrons, while the fields here are accented with yellow tulips, purple thistle and all sorts of yellow, white, and blue wild flowers (not multi colored). This Harbor is home to a few very frolicsome seals that have their heads poking out most of the time, giving us a good curious twice over.
Steve's friend, Katrina, joined us at Arisaig (pronounced heiress-egg) harbour on the sixth and is here until the tenth or eleventh. This has been nice because, although to my great surprise, we have not been going crazy living with each other on the boat, it has been nice to hike for hours by my self, and also to have another person who eats normal food. Steve eats copious amounts of any combination of: eggs, ham, cheese, milk, and noodles. No salt, no pepper, no herbs, spices, or flavoring. Katrina brought some yogi tea, delicious spaghetti sauce, herbed cream cheese etc. A welcome change of diet. Yes I could have bought some of that but it's much easier to do as the Romans do, only in this case it's what people at Findhorn jokingly refer to as Davis-ville. Also they have been sleeping in a tent these last three nights, and I've had the boat to myself, which is nice.
The nautical maps are filled with Gaelic names and the spelling usually bares little or no resemblance to the pronunciation. Case in point: Castle Tioram is pronounced as Cheerum. Urquart Castle = Ahkert Castle. But there is a glossary in the back of the Yachtsman's Pilot to the West Coast of Scotland of Gaelic words often used in place names, and although it candidly admits it wouldn't even try and explain how to pronounce any of it, it reminds me a bit of Icelandic and is fun to study. Sgeir = rock higher than high tide. Bogha = rock that is sometimes underwater. Mor = big. Dubh = black. The charts are chalk full with the likes of Sgeirmor, Boghadubh, and well, you get the picture. Every thing here sounds so Romantic, and it turns out to be " brown hill", "green lake", "white bay", etc.
After two full days on Eigg we sailed South West to the Isle of Muck. This was a smaller Island with a more austere feel. It was a rainy stay with a nice break in the clouds around sunset. The next day we all walked the approximately one mile to the other side of the island where a small ferry anchors off shore every other day and a small teahouse opens for a few hours. We all had tea. Steven and Katrina had scones, but I had to try the home made fudge. I don't think I've lost any weight lately...Later we visited a tiny cemetery, where upon Katrina returned to the boat (she bought a sheep skin; and I a book on Eigg) and Steve and I walked to the edge of a cliff and watched the seagulls hover a few arms lengths away, occasionally glancing over at us.
The days are getting longer but tomorrow is Summer solstice. June ? Its been quite cold and wet. After two nights on the Isle of Muck we sailed to the Isle of Rhum and Katrina took the ferry back to the mainland where she left her car. Rhum has fairly tall mountains but it's somewhat restricted because it's a nature preserve, so we didn't do any hiking. The tea house was closing as we pulled up, and I just managed to try their home made fudge before they closed. The general store was open from six to eight in the evening, so we waited until six o'clock and found that it was the local help's after hours club. It was just one small room and it was so raucous with chatter and laughter that we could barely hear the cashier.
From Rhum we sailed to the isle of Skye and about ten dolphins came by and swam off our bow for a surprisingly long time. Instead of just plain gray they were striped.
At the South end of Isle of Skye we sailed into Loch Scavaig which is hemmed in with tall craggy mountains. This is truly a majestic place and the pilots guide lists it as one of Europe's most beautiful anchorages. That evening we climbed just under 3000 feet up to the summit of the mountain that climbs out of Loch Scavaig. The weather was turning but the cloud ceiling was above the peak and we had an unobstructed view of the Cuillins, which is a famous local mountain range, at the base of which we were anchored.
The next day we hiked some more, but the weather worsened and we decided to stay put. This turned into a three day stay with wild squalls beating over the boat
In Loch Scavaig after two days of really horrible weather with unsettling, unnerving, and amazingly strong squalls that pulled our anchor out a number of times, we paddled our dingy over to a handsome sailboat named the Ikanoo, easily twice as long as ours and asked if we could borrow a spare anchor, as the squalls coming down the Cuillins where causing us a bit of distress. After hesitating (both our selfs and our boat are quite Bohemian) we were invited aboard and introduced to the owner, Lorans, and Marilyn, and their friends Frank and Wendy. I'm sure we looked like two cold, sopping cat's as we had to reset the anchor in the driving rain. when, after inquiring they found we had a stove but no heater, they sat us next to theirs, made us tea, put out ginger snaps, and insisted we stay until warm and dry. After minutes we set off and they helped us set the second anchor as well as insisting we take a care package of frozen entrees and cookies.
On the fourth day the weather changed and after spending the morning drying clothes and cleaning up the boat, we took a short hike and then sailed to Tarskavaig with a short stop in Elgol for eggs and milk at a store were you have to ring for the shop keeper to open up. As it turned out in our case, he was actually closed, but opened up for us anyway. After three days of rain, wind, and cold, holed up in our little boat it was absolutely wonderful to see the sun again and relax on deck practicing knots and watching yet more Dolphins swim our bow.
Tarskavaig was a very small village (to be more precise, like three or four houses small...), and Steve and I spent the morning walking North to Tokavaig, where we visited a castle ruin. From there we went to Mallaig, a fishing harbor, where we tied up to a fishing boat, tied up along side a fishing boat, tied up along side a trawler, tied up to the pier. It was fun to climb over all these industrial machines. After fish and chips, and a short walk we set off to Loch Nevis, a beautiful Fjord-like area where we had a beautiful and relaxed night. The next day we hiked to a point with a giant statue of the Virgin Mary, and with the tall green mountains it reminded me of a miniature version of the land mark above Rio de Janero. After our usual clowning around we tidied up the boat and because there was no wind, we motored up the Sound of Sleat to Loch Alsh. Since the tide must push much water through this bottle neck the seals like to swim in Kyle Rhea: the fish bottle neck there also! At the town of Kyle of Lochalsh we had a heavenly two hours in civilization. Long enough to get water, food, and gas, hopefully for the remainder of our trip. I mailed some letters and bought a few trinkets, like a map, and some postcards. Since our boat is slow and we tend to sail long days, we always seem to pull into port as the last store in town is closing, so it was our first relaxed stay in a decent sized town in a couple of weeks, it felt good to get all those loose ends tied up.
Because of the strong tidal flow that was going the wrong way, we motored a few miles further to a really cute town called Plockton. We got the boat anchored around nine that evening (remember its still quite light until eleven) and had a look around this cute small town, and as the mosquito like "midges" started to find us we ducked into our first pub of the trip, and I enjoyed my two pints thoroughly.
I had bought a beer and had the novel Coreli's Mandolin, and since Steve was off somewhere in the dinghy, I decided I'd walk around the bay to a castle used as a college. Not far out of town I spied an inviting trail leading up to a monument only to find a beautiful overlook. I followed the trail and found two giggly old ladies that seemed more like best friends in elementary school. It was a pretty isolated place so I asked if I would be intruding if I read my book there. One said she was sorry but that she had not seen a book. After more miscommunication, and more giggling, I understood that they were German and proceeded to have a lot of fun trying to converse in German. The skinny one was from Leipzig, but had moved back to Hamburg in 1953, the rounder one had stayed in Leipzig. they were very amused by my German and very fun to chat with. Only the skinny one spoke English, and she said upon our parting, "mast und schot bruch!". It took a minute to understand this meant "mast and halyard break!", which we agreed could be translated as Break A Leg!
Earlier back in Plockton while having tea, Steven pointed to an incoming dingy and said it looked like our friends from the Ikanoo (I canoe). Sure enough it was Lorans, Wendy, and Frank. We went down to the water and greeted them. It was fun to get some social interaction after so very little for so long. Now that I know a bit about sailing and the area it's a bit easier to make conversation.
Steve's friends, Phil and Molly, drove from the East coast and met us in Plockton. The weather was very drizzly and they almost opted out for a Bed & Breakfast, but fortunately it cleared up and we all sailed for Portree. It turned out to be perfect for sailing with a nice wind and smooth water. It was especially nice to have Phil at the helm so that Steve and I could stand outside the railing hanging on the shrouds. Earlier we had to start by motoring into the wind with the bow crashing into the waves. Steve and I let off a little energy pent up from hanging around Plockton by jumping up and down to exaggerate the amount of pitch. I was in my swim trunks Abbott gave me, playing in the waves that splashed over the front of the boat.
Having sailed from Plockton, out of Loch Carron, across the inner sound, threading between the islands Scalpay and Raasay (pronounced Rasay), Steven, Philip, Molly, and I made it into Portree on June 18th. It was ten pm by the time we made it ashore and we couldn't find any place to eat that was moderately priced and still open. We returned to the boat and I made a white sauce spaghetti dinner that turned out all right.
The next Morning we did our laundry in town and bumped into Marilyn and Lorans from the Ikanoo. Steven and I saw Phil and Molly off before we caught a bus North along the East coast of Skye to the Storr. This was the milk run and stopped at the local junior high school so we got to converse a bit with some local kids. At the Storr we deboarded and hiked up to the famous "Old Man of Storr" rock formations.This was a beautiful hike, but Steve was a bit tired so I continued on my own making a loop by going around over the top of the Storr into the fog and scrambling down a chute on the other side: this was an incredibly beautiful place of high secluded meadows boxed in by cliffs and rock pinnacles. It had a look that suggested magic and folk tales. It was exhilarating to run down through there. Half way down it started to rain very heavily, and I was drenched by the time I found Steve at the parking lot. We hitch hiked back to Portree eventually getting a ride with a couple who said they had spent the day hiking along the ridge up farther North.
The next day we decided to do some of the same hike they did at a place called Suiramach and the Quinrange (pronounced karang), just west above Staffin Bay. This was even more dramatic than the Storr, culminating in a place aptly called The Tables, one of which was a perfect soccer field sized patch of seemingly manicured lawn set amongst the jutting rock formations high above the coast line. Rumor has it that at one point someone organized a cricket match up there, but I can't imagine what they did when a play went out of bounds. This time the weather held out and we got a ride to Uig (pronounced oo-ig) with two retired genteel Scotsmen, who delivered us to the doorstep of their recommended fish and chips shop. After a bit of food we took a bus back to Portree where Steve went to the local Rave for Summer Solstice.
The next day we fell into a slump, not doing much, but it seemed too windy to go out into the Sound of Raasay. On Sunday we decided to take action, and since it was still too windy to sail anywhere we thought we would hitch a ride to Dunvegan Castle. When someone finally stopped to give us a lift, they were going to Uig. We looked at each other and said "change of plan: hitch hike to Uig". She had two twelve year old twins with her that kept unloading bread rolls on us, as if they knew all too well if they didn't, they would find them in their school sack lunch the next day.
As we pulled into Uig, so did the ferry, so we decided, "hey why not a day trip on the ferry?". So £8 later we were on a four hour ride. After two hours we docked in Loch Maddy (pronounced Moddy) in the Outer Hebridian Isle of North Uist (pronounced oo-ist). We thought it silly to only see this small town for a fleeting ten minutes so we let the ferry depart without us. It was Sunday and nothing was open, and all I had was a small bit of cheese, and Steven a rotten sausage roll that almost gave him food poisoning. We did manage to get a bunk at the Youth Hostel, and so with that taken care of, we tried our luck hitching and got a ride with the proprietor of the Loch Maddy Hotel. She was driving eight miles around one side of the island to pickup an employee and drove us twenty miles around the other side, taking the long way back to show us all the sites. Back in Loch Maddy Steve and I spent the evening winding through a maddening maze of lochs to get to a tall hill called North Lee. We still had no more food and were very hungry. Steve kept nibbling at his rotten sausage roll until even his hungry stomach told him to get ride of it. From the summit one could see how North Uist was equal parts bog and lochs. It was quite beautiful actually, with the low angle light of the sun reflecting on all the hundreds of lochs.
The next day we decided to hitch to the North end of North Uist so we could catch the ferry to the Isle of Harris. We got a ride with a young guy who could have been out of the movie Train Spotting who worked for the water bureau. He was late for his ferry and had six minutes. I put on my seat belt, but Steve was in the back, and every new corner sent Steven sliding across the floor of the station wagon along with two or three large boxes of tools. This was accented occasionally by the whole lot catching some fat air, upon which everything in the back including Steve would go crashing down. "so sorry, only have three minutes to catch the ferry!" When sheep were encountered on the road he tried intimidating them with acceleration and honking, but their peanut sized brains would win out.
He made the ferry and delivered us an hour and a half early to ours. However, in keeping with the whimsical nature of our trip to the outer Hebrides, we jumped off the ferry and spent an hour on Berneray, which is a small island about a mile and a half across just over a narrow shoals (the Sound of Berneray). On Berneray we hiked a half mile or so to it's Western shore, and after hiking over a line of grassy sand dunes we came upon a magnificent white sand beach. The clouds parted just long enough for us to have a decent bit of sunshine, and the surf was calling so I stripped off all my clothes and ran in before I could change my mind. I took this chance to scrub myself down a bit and back on the beach I felt exhilarated, and somewhat surprisingly warm. After putting my clothes back on and taking the ferry back to North Uist, we then caught the next ferry to Harris. This was an interesting ferry ride through a maze of reefs and shoals. There were so many low rocks islands and exposed reefs there was very little room for the ferry to maneuver, and we often seemed to make headway at top speed straight for an exposed reef, only to have the boat seemingly turn on a dime and veer off at a right angle.
On Harris we caught a bus across the island to Tarbert, in order to find a bank and grocery store. The beaches on the Southern part of the West coast were so beautiful we hitched back there once we had the a fore mentioned things taken care of. Once back on the Western shore we walked along the coast. The beaches had a sort of beige, ocher, peach color, with washes of navy mother of pearl from crushed muscle shells. This was abutted by a most vivid turquoise green shore break. Where the beach ran out we climbed up onto the grassy hills following the shore line and came across an interesting megalithic stone covered in lieken. This turned out to have recently been given the name of McCleods Stone, but only it seems, because everything around there is called McCleods.
After searching and walking a little too far in the wrong direction we found a kind of cross between a hostel and a bed and breakfast. It was getting late but the proprietor was kind enough to go into the "cafe" and sell us some eggs, cheese, tea, milk, and bread. Since we had only planed on a day excursion we had nothing with us, and so the food was quite welcome. So was the laundry machine and the shower for that matter. We shared a hallway and the bathroom with the other half of the hostel which some yuppy American couple form the east coast was renting. Their hallway door had a big window in it, and it was quite funny when, after showering and wrapped in his towel, Steven forgot to shut our door and got caught by the wife, when he thought he was alone, doing goofy muscle poses.
The next morning we continued our walk along the beaches until we crossed the last one and hiked up a hill called The Toe. While it was no surprise, the view was quite beautiful and we could see where we had come from North Uist the day before. We had gotten up rather late as usual and our luck hitch hiking was not holding out. After much walking we did get a lift back into Tarbert, but only to find the last ferry back to Skye had already left. We looked around for a bed and breakfast, as there was no hostels in Tarbert. The first one was really scary with an inbred 30 something live at home son, an incontinent old man that filled up the house with the smell of rank cigarettes and urine. Fortunately we found a very nice place for only slightly more. After settling in and having a cup of tea, we hiked East along the North side of the "bay" all the way to the uncompleted Scalpay bridge. This was a bit much of a hike, and certainly in keeping with our trend to do a lot of walking since mooring up in Portree, but I was rather committed to seeing this bridge close up. It was a high and very narrow metal bridge spanning a narrow channel without suspension and so the top of the bridge had no railing and was a bit unnerving in the wind. Steven found what must have been a joke among the construction workers: a life ring with a three hundred foot coil of rope attached. We also found lots of empty bottles of Iron Brew, Scotland's own wretched excuse for soda pop. But as it was an Iron Bridge perhaps appropriately; we imagined all the iron workers sitting around drinking this swill. It occurred to me half way across the bridge that not even having my passport with me, it was a bit cavalier for us to so casually trespass on this construction site. On our way back after splitting up only to be individually picked up hitch hiking by the same car, the driver told us there was a £200 fine for going out on the bridge...
Up early the next day to a home cooked "Scottish breakfast" (or as Steven calls it "ten kinds of snout [pork]"), we caught the ferry back to Uig and the bus back to Portree. Here we checked on the boat and hooked up with Julie Watkiss, who was nice enough to buy us a pint and during the next two days house and feed us, as it was much too windy to leave. The next day we lazed around, hiked up the hill just North of town, and had fun swimming at the local pool for £1.70, which was worth the shower alone.
The following day it was still too rough out and to fight growing boredom and lethargy, we hitched to Dunvagen Castle around five pm. After walking out of town a way we got a ride straight to Dunvagen with an interesting guy named Rob who was Skye's sole sword smith. He was in his station wagon getting parts for his "fat boy" Harley Davidson, He knew people in both Findhorn and in Kailua. He was able to recommend a nice hike once at Dunvegan and drove us to the trail head. This consisted of a hike to the top of the Northern of the two McCleods (pronounced McCloud) Tables. The weather was nice and the view of Loch Dunvegan to the North and many islands along the broken shoreline to the south made me especially glad to have made the journey out of Portree and out of lethargy even if we did face the possibility of having to walk the twenty miles back. Fortunately in the end we only had to walk about half that.
We slept on the boat that night having felt two nights at Julies' was enough of an imposition. We awoke to find "The Mistress Merlin" (two Scotsmen and a polish woman) seeming to have fouled their anchor and working to free it by use of a grappling hook. We had at this point been in Portree ten or eleven days and having found them a nice bunch over tea a few days earlier, we decided we would offer our help. In the end Steven put on his wet suit and free dove a few times, freeing their anchor and rigging a retrievable line so that they could moor to the bottom and not risk fouling their anchor again. After tea with a dram of whisky, we went ashore and later they had us over for a wonderful fish dinner. Unlike our tea on the Ikanoo (as nice as they were) this was a very relaxed atmosphere and a most welcome interaction.
The next morning we finally found the wind had died down and after buying a paper, and filling up with water, we sailed off to Loch Toscaig a few miles North of Plockton. Crossing the open water there was quite a lot of fetch and about as strong a wind as one would care for on the Osprey. I felt I should have been rather excited but found myself sleepy despite myself.
After setting the anchor I fell fast asleep and failed to stir even with Steven inflating the dingy on the roof. At around nine pm I awoke and paddled ashore and hiked around a few of the low hills. This was my last night on the boat and it was nice to be in an isolated and appropriately beautiful spot. I found a thick patch of heather on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Bay/Loch and had a very nice quite space. It would have been easy to fall asleep, but the dingy was not above the high tide line. Coming out of the woods near the boat I came across a hedge hog who rolled up. I'd never seen one before, and it seemed quite content to lead a very passive existence.
The next morning was my last of the sailing trip and the wind was perfect, and the water flat. We sailed, what was for a dog like the Osprey, quite briskly, and I had fun, somewhat unnecessarily hanging off the beam guide wires.
Back in Plockton we hurried off the boat and walked to the train station and caught the train to Kyle of Lochalsh. After tea in front the hotel and a bit of shopping and errands I jumped on the bus and Steven and I parted ways. This ride to Glasgow was absolutely beautiful. Something I had not expected.