Archive For The “Scotland” Category

Isle of Skye

Isle of Skye

The spectacular Isle of Skye scenery makes it one of Scotland’s top three tourist destinations, along with Edinburgh and Loch Ness. We had considered visiting Skye in Dirona, but instead opted to make a day trip by ferry from Loch Maddy. This gave us the added bonus riding one of the big CalMac ferries, something…

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Flodday Sound

Flodday Sound

The anchorage at Flodday Sound is below 475ft (145m) Beinn na h-Aire and 1,140ft (347m) Eaval, both accessible to climb. At high tide, the complex islet-strewn waterway can be explored beyond the causeway that connects Benbecula to North Uist. And fresh seafood is available from the nearby fishing community at Kallin Harbour to the south….

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Loch Skipport

Loch Skipport

Loch Skipport is a beautiful area, with several good anchorage choices, an excellent view hike, and a complex shoreline to explore by tender. We spent three nights there, partly enjoying the surroundings, but also replacing our 120-volt interver that failed shortly after we arrived. Trip highlights from Aug 29th through 31st at Loch Skipport in…

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Barra Island

Barra Island

The airport on Barra Island is reported to be the only one worldwide with scheduled beach landings. We anchored in aptly-named Castle Bay off 15-century Kisimul Castle for a few days and did a bicycle tour of the island, including taking in a beach landing. Trip highlights from August 25th through 28th, 2017 on Barra…

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Vatersay Island

Vatersay Island

Vatersay Island is known for its sweeping sand beaches, with a popular and roomy anchorage at Vatersay Bay. From our anchorage at Berneray Island, we took an indirect route north to Vatersay Bay to take in the seascape on the exposed sides of Berneray and Mingulay, among the most dramatic in the British Isles. Trip…

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Berneray Island

Berneray Island

For six months we had a goal to visit the lighthouse perched 630ft (192m) above the sea on Berneray Island, at the southernmost tip of the Outer Hebrides. Back in February, while we were in Daytona, Florida, we received our copy of the The Scottish Islands by Hamish Haswell-Smith. We immediately flipped to the Outer…

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The Small Isles

The Small Isles

The wreck of the Jack Abry II is a stark contrast to the spectacular Small Isles scenery and a sobering reminder that human error is one of the biggest risks we face when underway. According to the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) report “the skipper, who had been alone on watch in the wheelhouse, fell…

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Anchor Ensnarled

Anchor Ensnarled

Yesterday morning, we started up the main engine just past daybreak for a planned run from Widewall Bay along the west coast of Hoy and the Mainland in the Orkney Islands. But the anchor was locked down solidly on the bottom. That’s happened before and we have our tricks. Dropping another 100 feet and pulling…

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Loch Moidart

Loch Moidart

The ruins of 14-century Castle Tioram, the rapids at River Shiel and a tender tour around the Isle of Shona make the slightly tricky entrance to Loch Moidart worth taking on. Several scenic anchorage choices are inside, most with great views to the castle. We reached Loch Moidart after a 40-mile run from the Sound…

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Staffa and Iona

Staffa and Iona

The Isle of Staffa is composed of vertical, hexagonal basalt columns similar to those at the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. The cliffs themselves are a sight, but an additional attraction is cathedral-like Fingal’s Cave. From an anchorage in the Sound of Iona, we ran the tender over to Staffa, then spent the afternoon exploring…

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Isle of Mull

Isle of Mull

The Isle of Mull gave us our first taste of the dramatic Scottish coastal scenery we’d been hearing so much about. In just one morning we saw spectacular waterfalls, a striking sea arch and imposing cliffs. After exiting the Crinan Canal, we sped north in the high-current Sound of Jura and anchored at Loch Spelve…

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The Crinan Canal

The Crinan Canal

The Crinan Canal is a 9-mile, 15-lock passage between the Scottish villages of Ardrishaig and Crinan. The canal came online in 1801, largely serving commercial traffic and allowing them to avoid the longer run around Kintyre Peninsula and the exposed and current-swept Mull of Kintyre. Today the lock system is used by recreational boaters either…

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James Watt Dock Marina

James Watt Dock Marina

We had an excellent month-long stay at James Watt Dock Marina in Greenock, Scotland near Glasgow. The marina was convenient for making train trips to explore Glasgow, Edinburgh and the West Highlands, and was a secure place for Dirona while we returned to Seattle for a couple of weeks. We also took a few deliveries…

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Falkirk Wheel

Falkirk Wheel

The Falkirk Wheel was completed in 2002 to connect the restored Union and Forth & Clyde Canals, replacing 11 locks that once covered the 115-ft difference in level. The wheel is a unique rotating boat lift that raises and lowers vessels between the two canals. Falkirk is essentially on the route between Edinburgh and Greenock,…

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Edinburgh

Edinburgh

Edinburgh came into being beneath Castle Rock, a rocky crag overlooking the coastal route to central Scotland from northeast England. A fortification existed there since at least the 7th century, and a royal castle since the reign of King David I in the 12th century. Today Edinburgh Castle is one of Scotland’s most popular tourist…

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Return to Seattle

Return to Seattle

We left Dirona in Scotland, with Spitfire at “The Resort”, while we returned to Seattle for a couple of weeks. This mostly was a work trip for James, but we did find time to enjoy the city, make a day trip to Victoria, and receive and pack over 200 pounds of boat spares to bring…

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West Highland Line

West Highland Line

The West Highland Line was voted the world’s best train journey by Wanderlust Magazine. The trip runs through the scenic Scottish highlands and across the Glenfinnan Viaduct to Mallaig on the coast north of Oban. The Glenfinnan Viaduct is the dramatic span crossed by the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter movies. We had wonderfully…

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Glasgow

Glasgow

Impressive Glasgow Cathedral is one of the few cathedrals in Scotland to survive the 16th-century Protestant Reformation mobs nearly intact. The building is huge and seems to go on forever. On a day-trip to Glasgow from Greenock, we toured the cathedral, took in the city views from the adjacent Necropolis, and spent several hours walking…

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