Monday, 20 June 2011

Sailing to Arinagour

In July 1978 Peter and I were at the end of a wet fortnight aboard Stroma, much of which had been spent storm-bound in Mallaig. We had finally left and drifted South, more with the tide than the wind, in a dreich grey day of the sort that makes you wonder why you ever took up sailing. The intention was that if the weather picked up we would sail back to our mooring in Oban via the outside of Mull, such is the optimism of the young. In the event progress was so slow that by early afternoon we were only at the South end of Eigg. As the tide would now set against us it was an easy decision to stop there and spend the rest of the day trying to catch our supper.

We anchored in about two fathoms inside the island that protects the bay. Our efforts at fishing were just as pathetic as our day's sail had been. The fish that swam about under our keel were so small that they had no difficulty in nibbling the bait from our hooks without any risk to themselves. After a walk ashore, when we discovered that at that time there seemed to be no facilities whatsoever on Eigg we turned in for an early night.

At about five in the morning I was woken by Stroma rolling on an Atlantic swell which seemed to be setting in. I took a look out and noticed that there had been a definite change in the weather. We now had a very clear dry summer morning and there was a breeze. By this time Peter was also awake and after some discussion he agreed to assist with getting the anchor and setting sail, provided he could  then return to his bunk to complete his night's repose.

Thus at about 5.45 am Stroma was underway. We slipped out Southwards from the bay and were soon on a close reach in a sparkling fresh Northwesterly breeze. I was pleased that I was alone in the cockpit and could treat the beautiful morning as my very own. Actually I was sharing it with various seabirds and the occasional fishing boat could be spotted far off when we rose on the swell.
The Islanders are wonderful boats on a reach, when you really feel the power of the mainsail. Soon Coll started to appear on the horizon and then we were in flatter water as we sailed down the East side of the island to Arinagour.

If you are engineless it is always better to pick a safe spot to anchor where you won't require to get underway during the night. I was glad that Peter was now awake as we had some tight tacking to get into the chosen spot some distance from the steamer pier. By nine thirty we were anchored and ready to spend the rest of a lovely summer day ashore.

After a third of a century Peter is still willing to come sailing with me, but now his son Ken also comes along. You can read about more of our excursions here and here

1 comment:

  1. I've visited scotland quite alot since my childhood, it's such a beautiful place to visit, very quiet and tranqual


The Wherrymen

The Wherrymen
Two old friends on the water