Archive For The “Scotland” Category

Return to Norway

Return to Norway

It’s an unusual day when you get up in the morning to start a short coastal cruise, and end up making a 2.5-day crossing of the North Sea to an entirely different country. Given the current world situation, Norway was number one on our list of desired destinations, with its excellent hiking and abundance of…

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Loch Laxford

Loch Laxford

We very much enjoyed our month in Stornoway. It was wonderful to be fully fueled and provisioned again, with the bottom painted, the zincs replaced and the insurance survey complete, and we were looking forward to some relaxing cruising with our generator now back in full operating condition after replacing the cylinder head. Our first…

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Stornoway Haulout

Stornoway Haulout

The Stornoway slipway is a big commercial railway that can lift boats up to 50m long and weighing up to 850 tons. The railway cradle uses three pairs of hydraulic support arms to hold boats in place, making for an efficient lift process. Once the vessel is in the correct position, the arms are simply…

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Stornoway Projects

Stornoway Projects

The replacement parts for our failed generator arrived from the US into the UK two days after we reached Stornoway, but got stuck in the UPS system for another eight days. While we waited, we completed some other projects, including finishing off the wax job we’d started at the Isle of Gigha. We also arranged…

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Provisioning in Stornoway

Provisioning in Stornoway

We spent our first few days in Stornoway busily reprovisioning the boat. After six trips to the grocery store, sometimes twice in one day, we still had a few more items to purchase. But our list was down to a half page from three. We also topped up our propane and engine oil supplies, and…

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Stornoway Arrival

Stornoway Arrival

When we arrived in Stornoway, Scotland on June 9th, we stepped ashore for the first time since departing Portland, UK on March 22nd. While we were looking forward to revisiting Stornoway, surprisingly, neither of us was desperate to get ashore. The same versatility that made Dirona a comfortable and safe home for us over the…

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Isle of Skye

Isle of Skye

The Isle of Skye in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides is famous for spectacular, unworldy scenery. Hardly a boring vista exists, especially near the Trotternish Landslip on the northeastern shore. Several huge landslides took place during the post-glacial period, creating amazing formations such as the Old Man of Store and adjacent pinnacles, where the opening scenes for…

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Ardnamurchan Point

Ardnamurchan Point

Ardnamurchan Point, along the eastern shore of the Sea of the Hebrides, is the westernmost point on mainland Britain. The name derives from the Scottish Gaelic term Ard na Murchan, meaning “the hill of the great sea”. Rounding Ardnamurchan Point is considered a major milestone for cruising boaters. Currents can run 1.5kts around the point…

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Gometra Harbour

Gometra Harbour

More than two months after we dropped anchor off the Isle of Gigha, we departed north for Stornoway to refuel and replenish our deep stores. The anchorage had worked out well and the islanders had taken good care of us, but this was by far the longest we’d ever been at anchor in any one…

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Essentials at Gigha

Essentials at Gigha

After 8 weeks at Gigha, and 63 days since we’d last provisioned, we’d consumed all our fresh fruit, were almost out of fresh vegetables and our deep stores were dwindling. So when Joe Teale at Ardminish Stores on Gigha contacted us to ask if we needed anything, we gratefully accepted his offer. Duncan and the…

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Maintaining at Gigha

Maintaining at Gigha

While our cruising lifestyle may be on pause during the Scottish lockdown, our maintenance log isn’t. Several scheduled service items came due in mid-May, including annual testing, lubricating and changing the oil and filter in our gasoline engines, changing the hydraulic zincs, and charging our backup batteries. We also completed some unscheduled maintenance work, such…

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Seven Weeks at Gigha

Seven Weeks at Gigha

When we departed Amsterdam in February of this year, our plans were to spend the spring in Antwerp and the Atlantic coast of France and Spain, and the rest of the year in the Mediterranean. Since grocery shopping can be a hassle, we’d stocked up the boat planning not to need anything except produce and…

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Gigha Winds

Gigha Winds

Our anchorage at the Isle of Gigha has good protection in most directions, except from east to northeast. The winds generally haven’t been in that direction since we arrived, but high winds with gusts to 38 knots blew from the northeast for several days during the fourth week of our stay, sending large waves are…

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Baking at Gigha

Baking at Gigha

While in California back in 2013, we bought a Zojirushi Home Bakery Mini. We weren’t sure how available bread would be as we travelled around the world, and at certain stages of the trip we wanted to be able to devote more freezer space to meats. We’ve found good fresh bread readily available in most…

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Isle of Gigha, First Ten Days

Isle of Gigha, First Ten Days

With the UK in lockdown, we’re spending all our time on board Dirona. It’s a comfortable boat, we always have excellent internet connectivity, and there’s never a shortage of work to do. This has given us time to complete a few lower-priority projects that have been around for a while. Among the work we did…

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Portland to Gigha

Portland to Gigha

Our initial plan was to stop in Ireland to refuel on our way to Scotland from Portland. But the occupants of any boat arriving in Ireland are placed under a 14-day quarantine for COVID-19, and tax-free diesel is no longer available for pleasure craft. We also didn’t want to risk departing the UK and not…

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Isle of Gigha

Isle of Gigha

The Isle of Gigha, just north of the Mull of Kintyre, was our last stop in Scotland. After an early monrning run from Oban, we stopped at Gigha for two nights to wait for a storm system to pass through before continuing south to Ireland. While there we installed the new Rule 3700 bilge pump…

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Caledonian Canal Day 7: Banavie to Oban

Caledonian Canal Day 7: Banavie to Oban

The famous Neptune’s Staircase is the longest staircase lock in Britain—a series of eight locks carry boats up or down 64 feet over a distance of 180 feet. The typical time to pass through Neptune’s Staircase is about 90 minutes, but the Scottish Canal staff rushed us through in barely 70 minutes so we could…

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