There wasn’t a great deal of wind when we left Gigha and we ended up motoring all the way to Craobh. The passage past Coryvreckan was pretty uneventful and we arrived in Craobh and tied up at the pontoons. After a late night in Gigha we decided to give the pub a miss.
Gigha to Craobh
We left Craobh early on Sunday morning to catch the tide through the Sound of Luing to Dunstaffnage. We took a detour past Kerrera to go through Oban Bay so that we could have a quick look at Kerrera and try to see where the new transit pontoons were in Oban. We had covered the 25 miles in fairly quick time and arrived at Dunstaffnage just before 12. We ate in The Wide Mouthed Frog and stayed there most of the evening. The outboard engine needed some attention and so we stayed until Tuesday in the hope that we could get an engineer to fix it on Monday. On Monday morning I spoke to an engineer in the marina and he said that he could look at the engine for me. I left it with him and told me it would be a couple hours. We took the bus into Oban for a look around and to eat.
Craobh to Dunstaffnage
With the outboard fixed, a strip down and clean, along with fresh fuel, we left for Lochaline on Tuesday morning. We left the marina in a good breeze and soon we were beating toward Lismore. The wind picked up and changed direction and we soon found ourselves in gusts of 45 knots. It was a long slog across the Firth of Lorn and around the lighthouse at the southern end of Lismore. The weather picked up as we progress up the Sound of Mull. We arrived in Lochaline just after 1620. We had visited Lochaline the previous year and had spent a great night in The Lochaline Hotel in the company of the barman and couple of Welsh boys who were up here fishing and decided to make a return visit. It turns out that the hotel is up for sale and as a result was very poorly stocked.
Dunstaffnage to Lochaline
After a leisurely start, we left Lochaline for Salen on Loch Sunart at 1000. It was very showery when we left but it cleared slowly through the morning and by the time we reached the entrance to Loch Sunart a favourable Westerly wind allowed us to sail slowly up the loch only having to resort to the engine as we approached Salen Jetty. We had been followed by a boat all the way up the loch and it was obvious as we neared Salen that they were determined to get into the jetty in front of us so much so that they didn’t bother to turn into wind to lower their mainsail instead trying to haul it down – made quite a spectacle as it got caught around the mast and in the lazy-jacks. They clearly had not studied the pilot book, the entrance to Salen isn’t difficult, but there is a reef which is only visible at very low tides and marked with an easterly cardinal buoy. They completely ignored the buoy until it caught someone’s attention at the very last minute when they realised that they were in real danger of running aground and turned hard to starboard right across our bow. Little did they know that we had already phoned ahead and reserved a berth. They all looked rather sheepish when we saw them in the marina. We walked round to the Salen Hotel and spent part of the evening there chatting to the bar staff. I always look out for other Moody owners and we got talking to a couple whose boat I had seen in the marina earlier. It turns out that they keep their boat in Portavadie, I must keep an eye out for them the next time I pay it a visit. I took a couple of photographs of their boat on Loch Sunart and emailed it to them the next day.
Salen is a beautiful place the most picturesque of spots and one of the best welcomes you will get anywhere on the West Coast from Jan and Mark. It has great facilities and a well-stocked shop as well as a café that sells great coffee and bacon rolls. It is amongst my favourite marinas on the west coast.
Lochaline to Salen