Archive For The “Scotland” Category

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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Caledonian Canal Days 5 & 6: Laggan to Banavie

Caledonian Canal Days 5 & 6: Laggan to Banavie

On our fifth day along the Caledonian Canal, we travelled 15 miles from Laggan through Loch Lochy, passing through two bridges and only one lock. We stopped for two nights at Banavie Top Basin above the famous Neptune’s Staircase and within two miles of the southern terminus of the canal. Banavie Basin is only four…

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Caledonian Canal Day 4: Fort Augustus to Laggan

Caledonian Canal Day 4: Fort Augustus to Laggan

One of the most beautiful sections of the Caledonian Canal is near Laggan, where the trees grow right up to the water’s edge and extend over the water. The fall colours made the scene even more impressive. We liked this section of the canal so much that we later walked from Laggan all the way…

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Caledonian Canal Day 3: Dochgarroch to Fort Augustus via Loch Ness

Caledonian Canal Day 3: Dochgarroch to Fort Augustus via Loch Ness

Loch Ness is one of the top three tourist destinations in Scotland, along with Edinburgh and the Isle of Skye. Second to Nessie, a major draw of Loch Ness is 13th-century Urquhart Castle. One of the largest castles in Scotland, Urquhart attracted some 400,000 visitors in 2016. On our third day in the Caledonian Canal,…

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Caledonian Canal Day 2: Muirtown Basin to Dochgarroch

Caledonian Canal Day 2: Muirtown Basin to Dochgarroch

We passed through the four-lock Muirtown flight at the start of our second day in the Caledonian Canal, then cruised the scenic waterway alongside, but above, the River Ness en route to Dochgarroch. Our total travel distance was five miles in three hours for an average speed of just over 1.5kts. The locks take up…

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Caledonian Canal Day 1: Clachnaharry Sea Lock to Muirtown Basin

Caledonian Canal Day 1: Clachnaharry Sea Lock to Muirtown Basin

The Caledonian Canal extends 50 nautical miles southwest from Beauly Firth near Inverness to Loch Linnhe by Fort William. Only 19 miles of the canal are man-made and the rest extends through four natural freshwater lochs, including the famous Loch Ness. Along the way are 10 swing bridges and 29 locks, achieving a maximum elevation…

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Inverness

Inverness

Inverness was a great stop before our trip down the Caledonian Canal. In our last few days there we toured the beautiful Ness Islands and more of the canal by bike, stocked up on provisions, and got some local knowledge on cruising the canal from Paisley residents Pamela and Neil White. Below are trip highlights…

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Kyle of Lochalsh

Kyle of Lochalsh

Picturesque Eilean Donan Castle, linked to the mainland with an elegant stone bridge, is one of Scotland’s most photographed castles. The castle was built in the 13th century and restored in the 19th after it was destroyed during the 18th-century Jacobite rebellions. We took the scenic train ride from Inverness to the Kyle of Lochalsh,…

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