The west coast of Scotland can't be beaten. It has some the finest seascapes on earth
You simply can’t beat sailing in Scotland when the weather is fine.
I’m an addict, so I’d argue that it’s unbeatable even when it is raining. But when you can see the tops of the hills – the profiles of the Small Isles, the jagged shapes of Skye’s Black Cuillins – there is nowhere better to sail in the world. Not that I’ve ever been to, anyway.
I was there sailing with friends last week. We didn’t get that far. We started from Ardfern and headed north. We made it round Ardnamurchan to Loch Moidart (surely one of the most beautiful spots on earth) despite light north-westerlies. We had to scoot back early before the wind, inevitably, swung into the south.
We had a fantastic light winds beat back down the west side of Mull. It was so calm we were able to get up close to the guillemot and puffin colonies on the Treshnish islands and go inside Fingal’s Cave on Staffa in the inflatable dinghy. That’s a rare day out on the west coast.
The photo above is of our first stop, the interesting limestone-ridged Garvellachs. This is view across the anchorage at Eileach an Naoimh across to Scarba, Lunga and Luing.
Naturally, we had to call in at Tobermory for a drink at the Mishnish (that’s the story in Balamory). As it was mid-afternoon we emerged in reasonable shape, which I believe is a rarity.
We also dropped in briefly at Kerrera to join the Malts Cruise, World Cruising Club’s successor to the defunct Diageo-sponsored Classic Malts Cruise.
The opening ceildh was held in the boatshed there.
It was a superb evening with just the right atmosphere: not too formal and extremely friendly. One crew I spoke to had sailed all the way from Argentina to take part.
The reeling was something else. I’m still recovering from a sore shoulder caused by a centrifugal Dutch sailor kitted out in kilt, sporran, brogues and sgian dubh who hurled me enthusiastically into a wall while dancing the Strip the Willow.
It proved the old adage that the real dangers of sailing are ashore.
Here are some of photos of the trip.
Our borrowed Arcona 400 at anchor in Loch na Droma Buidhe, Loch Sunart
Picking a bag of freshly harvested mussels from Douglas Wilson’s Inverlussa Shellfish in Loch Spelve, Mull
The Malts Cruise party in the boatshed at Oban Marina, Kerrera
A wee dram of Oban with crewmate Paul Jeffes
In the Mishnish, Tobermory. A town with bars, restaurants, water, groceries, showers and wifi can be very hard to leave!
A relaxing run round the Ardnamurchan peninsula under spinnaker. The distinctive profile of the Sgurr of Eigg is over our port quarter
Anchored off Eilean Shona, Loch Moidart
Reflections, Loch Moidart
An atmospheric whisky nosing with the Malts Cruise at Tioram Castle, Moidart
Ready to explore Fingal’s Cave
Fresh prawns landed an hour earlier at the Martyr’s Bay pub on Iona
At anchor in the Tinker’s Hole, a tight little spot between the island of Erraid and the Sound of Iona that’s noted for its pink granite