Heading south

We’ve now reluctantly left beautiful Scotland in our wake and are heading south.

In the past week we have covered about 200 miles from Oban, through the Crinan Canal, around the Kyles of Bute to the Isle of Arran, and then after a night at anchor in Loch Ryan across the North Channel to Bangor in North Ireland. Today we left there and crossed the Irish Sea to Peel in the Isle of Man.

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The trip through the canal was pretty and, unlike any other canal we’ve been in, the locks all needed to be operated manually. Our friends Brian and Jayne were still on board so there were plenty of crew to share the work.

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Brian and Jayne left us to return home just after Crinan and Helena and I proceeded on to the stunning Kyles of Bute. I’d initially imagined that seeing all this scenery every day would dumb the senses to it, but the variety of colours and textures found in the Highlands meant that this never happened:

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The weather forecasts have been a bit hit and miss recently. We got caught in a quite viscous blow between Arran and Loch Ryan, and then the opposite problem today when the 15 knots that was forecast amounted to nothing much more than a gnats fart. With this in mind, and given the fact that we’re not in a hurry, we’ve decided to be conservative with our route planning until the series of low pressure systems that’s been causing the havoc passes over. Our aim this week is just to make it back across the Irish Sea to Dublin to meet up with an old Uni friend for the weekend.

Running at a slow pace has also meant that we’ve had a chance to get a few odd jobs done, including giving the boat a good clean. Yesterday I spent the entire afternoon applying a little TLC to the topsides which had started to look a little tired. Here’s the result, I’m quite proud of it:

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So now, we’ve finished our dinner and are sat in a nice pub with free wifi just a short walk from the boat. Just time to write this blog entry before checking the weather forecast.

If you’d like to see more photos and movies from this part of our journey, then take a look at our Facebook page.

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