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Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Not for Beginners

We've just left Loch Drambuie and as you see, we're now anchored off Rum Island in the "Small Isles". In a day or two we'll hie us 'Over the Sea to Skye'.
We'd left a lovely sheltered spot where the two of us had gathered around the piano (can two gather?) and sung rousing songs like "Scotland the Brave". When our own voices failed us, we'd been regaled by Kenneth McKellar singing such classics as "Bluebells of Scotland" and "Roamin' in the Gloamin'"
It does sound Romantic, doesn't it? But BEWARE you lonely sailors who desire a companion to grace your travels. No matter how romantic this land of great whiskey and even-better songs may appear, you will never woo your lassie with THIS voyage! Better to start with many years of palm-tree-laden Caribbean and Pacific Isles.
Last night at 2030 (just after the latest weather report) I was interrupted in my reading with the announcement that we'd be getting up at 0330 and leaving at first light in order to finally make our way out of Loch Sunart. I was tempted to break into a chorus of "You Take the High Road". I knew discomfort ahead would be my unenviable lot. This outweighed the fact that after 6 days alone together we might talk to someone other than our spouse (no service for cells or 'net here!) We might walk on dry land and SEE the Highlands up-close.
Why were we Loch-locked for so long? The following TYPICAL weather report for this area explains:

ROCKALL, MALIN, HEBRIDES, BAILEY
CYCLONIC IN NORTH HEBRIDES AND NORTH BAILEY AT FIRST, OTHERWISE
WESTERLY OR NORTHWESTERLY 7 TO SEVERE GALE 9, OCCASIONALLY STORM 10
AT FIRST IN BAILEY. HIGH OR VERY HIGH. RAIN OR SQUALLY SHOWERS.
MODERATE OR POOR

ARDNAMURCHAN POINT TO CAPE WRATH - STRONG WINDS ARE FORECAST

24 HOUR FORECAST: WEST, VEERING NORTHWEST LATER, 6 TO GALE 8,
OCCASIONALLY SEVERE GALE 9, DECREASING 4 OR 5 LATER. VERY ROUGH OR
HIGH, OCCASIONALLY VERY HIGH FOR A TIME. RAIN OR SQUALLY SHOWERS.
GOOD, OCCASIONALLY POOR.

[THE NUMBERS ARE BEAUFORT WIND SCALE, 9 CORRESPONDING TO 40 KNOTS OR SO]

Larry explained that we had a fantastic opportunity to go forward to this comfortable haven at Rum Island. If you fancy this name (it is of Viking origin) the others in this group are the Isle of Muck and the Isle of Eigg. The weather is now sunny (but windy) and tomorrow we'll see the island. It has a Mansion-turned-hotel where we might grab a bite. The island is owned by the Scottish National Heritage and is home to many bird colonies. There are no restrictions for wandering about and taking in all the picturesque views.
My concerns about the trip turned out to be unnecessary. Not because the conditions were good - including constant assault by 2-metre high waves, pounding into head winds, pouring rain or hail and a duration of 6 hours - but because they avoided being unspeakably awful. At any rate, we both have our 'sea legs' and were able to enjoy the stark and stunning scenery.

Rum (of the Small Isles)

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At 14/05/2013 13:13 (utc) our position was 57°00.85'N 006°15.86'W

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