Portree, Plockton, Mallaig, Tobermory 

Apart from their being no dog, none of us were hypocondiacs, we were on a sailing boat not a rowing boat, we were on the sea rather than a river and, thankfully, no one threatened to play the banjo, Jerome K. Jerome’s story and ours are practically identical. 😆 

Thursday 6th July

Hamish only had a couple of days with us so we decided to head a bit further north under the Skye Bridge and making for Portree on Skye and Plockton before returning to Kyle of Lochalsh to drop him off and where we would continue to Mallaig.

It’s a fairly short sail of just under 20 NM from Mallaig to Portree and it was a fine morning, the wind in our favour and the only things we had to concern ourselves about was the slight current under the Skye Bridge.  A few years ago we were sailing with a friend in the area and we were stuck in Portree for three days letting a storm pass. On that occasion we were allowed to tie up at the pontoons to sit it out but, this time it would be a mooring. Hamish and I stayed up until the wee small hours and demolished a couple of bottles of whisky (they weren’t full though), listening to Teuchter music from Lewis.

Friday 7th July

It was a dull morning when we got ready to set out for Plockton. I love being on a mooring and anchoring, it’s just so easy in the morning not having to undo lines and collect fenders, just slip the mooring and off you go. 

It cleared up fairly quickly and we had a great sail across The Sound of Raasay to Loch Carron and then on to Plockton. Once again, it would be on a mooring and we planned to go ashore and eat in the Plockton Hotel. Hamish and I wrestled with the outboard to get it onto the dinghy and whilst it stated it would not run and the only option was to row. Fortunately, we had chosen a mooring fairly close to to the jetty and it was a calm evening. The hotel is lovely with a fine range of beer and great food. Alan and I have fond memories of Plockton with the same friend we were sailing with when stuck in Portree. On that occasion we too went to the hotel to eat. After our meal we heard music coming from the back bar and poked our heads in, it was a cèilidh and we were invited too join in. I have no idea when we left but, it was pitch black and I remember Ron our friend had an encounter with a hedge. We had great difficulty finding Ron’s boat and even greater difficulty heaving him into the cockpit where he spent the rest of the night.

Saturday 8th July

What a glorious warm morning for the very short trip to Kyle of Lochalsh where Hamish would be leaving us. We would then continue on to Mallaig for the night. The pontoons weren’t that busy when we arrived but skippers had left huge gaps and there was no where large enough for us to tie up. We eventually tied up alongside one of the sightseeing boats and Hamish clambered across the railings and seats.

Once again, we had to time our run down Kyle Rhea and whislt we had managed a great sail from Plockton, the wind in the strait was blowing everywhere so we used tide and engine to get to the Sound of Sleat. We had phoned ahead and the HM at Mallaig said we would most likely have to raft up, it was a bit later in the afternoon and we would be on the outside which is great as no-one is clambering across the boat and we intended staying on board for the night.

Sunday 9th July

We managed some sailing and some motor-sailing across the 34 NM from Mallaig to Ardnamurchan and a little more once heading west towards Tobermory. As we neared Ardnamurchan we were commenting on the porpoises appearance when suddenly a large minke whale surfaced beside the boat. Tobermory was surprisingly quiet. I had overheard a number of skippers saying that the weather was to be much better further north and perhaps this is where folk had gone.

It was great seeing Hamish once again and we had a great couple of days. We need to make it longer next time.

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