Escape to East Loch Tarbert

Trip Start May 06, 2008
Trip End Sep 30, 2008

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Flag of United Kingdom  , Scotland,
Friday, July 11, 2008

It was still windy but the wind had now backed a little, to the NNW, which meant that we could now sail. Time to go! However, there was no great hurry as the tide wouldn't be in our favour until the afternoon. Consequently, we had a lazy start with a bacon & egg breakfast, followed by a walk to the local store (Morrisons but not THE Morrison food store) for some last minute shopping and to say our farewells. They had made us very welcome and had been most pleasant, great ambassadors for the Hebrides.
We were off at 13:15, sailing smartly out of the loch. We did, however, keep the engine running as we needed, as a matter of urgency, to get some electricity back into the domestic batteries. It was lovely to be moving again, and we made a brisk passage in the breeze, despite the moderate sea that was conspiring to slow us down as we thumped into the waves. Celtic Warrior is absolutely made for these sort of conditions, she just shrugs off the waves and ploughs on, keeping in the track that we'd set for her. This is where a heavy displacement yacht makes sense, she is so comfortable in these conditions. One piece of excitement was that I fleetingly caught a glimpse of a female Orca just as she sounded. I'm pretty sure that it was an Orca, there was a very obvious dorsal fin in the middle of the body, but not a huge one as flaunted by males.
Our destination was the anchorage called North Harbour on the island of Scalpay which is situated in East Loch Tarbert which divides South Harris from North Harris. Hereabouts, the land is very poor, consisting very largely of bare rock with scraggly tussocks of grass clinging on wherever it can. It is photogenic but one does require light and the conditions were such that photography was not a practical option. We arrived at the anchorage at 18:15 and dropped the anchor. The initial attempt proved unsuccessful and when I raised it to try again, I found at why - we had dropped it on an old coal sack! The second attempt was successful and we dug in well. It was time to look around and we noted 3 other yachts in the harbour. One of them we had seen a couple of times, starting in Loch Aline. She is a Sadler 25 and is called Jalina. Her owner is Roger Oliver, who has published many articles on his circumnavigation exploits around the UK. This time however, he was not alone as his wife, Liz was with him for a while. We invited them over for a drink but they declined, stating that they'd had a late night the previous night but as were going to be in Stornoway together tomorrow, could they come over then? Of course we agreed and settled down to a dinner of haggis with the usual accoutrements, after which I loaded my last few days worth of blog onto the internet - it was nice getting a signal again!
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