Three years on…

August 1st 2018  – our own Red Moon Day!

Today we celebrate three years since we took ownership of Red Moon! It’s been an amazing journey so far and we are excited about what’s still to come …

 

 

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Long hot summer…?

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This year we have been spoilt in Scotland with some wonderful warm and sunny weather. This allows for some truly relaxing cruising conditions and we have taken full advantage.

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On this four night cruise we picked up our guests, Jan & Rob, from Plockton where they had been staying the week before.

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With conditions looking good we headed south back under the Kyle Bridge, then down the Kylerhea to spend the first evening at Sandaig Bay. We had a fabulous cruise up Loch Hourn the next day stopping for lunch near the pool at the head of the Loch. As the tide was too low for Red Moon to enter the pool, Scott took the guests for a visit in the tender. We next headed into Loch Nevis and after a short visit ashore at Inverie we anchored for the night.

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Our guests were very happy just sitting back and admiring the scenery and taking every opportunity to get some great photos ( seen here!), so we had a long morning cruise round the point of the Sleat Peninsula and into dramatic Loch Scavaig for our lunch stop where the seals were very co operative in posing for the camera! Our day ended in South Bay on the Small Isle of Eigg.

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The last full day of the cruise took us back up the Sound of Sleat with a lunch stop at Isleornsay and then a longer cruise up Kylerhea in ideal conditions, back under the Skye Bridge and settling for a fine evening in the Kishorn Islands. We dropped our guests back at Plockton the next morning.

Wild Swim Film Shoot

Mid June saw Red Moon involved in an exciting project to help make a film for the Outdoor Swimming Society. She acted as Mothership to the film crew and swimmers while anchored in Loch Hourn.

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Unfortunately timing was such that the crew arrived on the same day as Storm Hector! A quick switch to plan B meant that we moved Red Moon to the shelter of the Loch before the storm hit and they met us at Arnisdale where Red Moon was waiting.

Four days of filming, swimming, drying out, eating and doing it all over again followed. We hope that Red Moon will feature strongly in the film which will be shown at various outdoor activity related festivals around the world. We also hope that this could be a new venture for Red Moon Cruises – we are able to get to many out of the way swimming  locations which many people could not reach otherwise. As she comes equipped with hot showers, plenty of towels and drying space …and most importantly delicious homemade cake.. we think she would really appeal to the wild swimming community.

The Small Isles – the complete set

We think it’s likely this cruise will prove to be the peak of the summer for us weatherwise and it gave us the chance to show our guests all the Small Isles – including Hyskeir lighthouse which we reached and explored on a very still, calm and hot day.

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The route we took was to head south straight to South Bay on Eigg after a first night stop at Sandaig. Our guests went ashore for a walk to the caves and enjoy the fabulous sunshine on this lovely island. We decided that there was time to get to the Isle of Muck for that nights stop. We had a lovely sail with a pod of porpoises and a very cute pufflet making an appearance.

Muck was a new place for us and as we approached our anchorage in Gallanch Bay, one of our guests, Gez, was looking through binoculars and remarked that there seemed to be  a lot of dogs on the beach…Mary immediately grabbed some more binoculars and to her delight saw that they were all Border Collies, her favourites, – and some were puppies!

A rapid tender ride ashore allowed us to spend some quality dog – time with those gorgeous little bundles of fun…..as well as of course take a lovely walk on the beautiful white sandy beaches! It was a close run thing that Red Moon didn’t acquire a boat dog on this trip…

That evening we saw our best sunset of the summer so far – absolutely stunning!

Our next stop the following day was Hyskeir. We floated for a while before entering the anchorage so that Gez could have a fishing opportunity in the deep water. When we anchored in what is usually just a temporary anchorage, due to the likelihood of swell, it was flat calm, hot and very still. The lighthouse loomed above us. We took the tender and went ashore to explore the grounds around what is now an automated lighthouse – as nearly all U.K. lighthouses are.

Note: if you are a lighthouse fan have a read of “ Stargazing” by Peter Hill who was a young lighthousekeeper in the Seventies just before full automation. Hyskeir was one of the lights he helped to man.

Canna was our next island but this time we anchored on the south side of the island in the appropriately named Canna Boat Harbour – again this often is not a suitable overnight anchorage but the conditions on this trip made it an idyllic spot. Finally the weather seemed warm enough for a swim…not sure that the water was really!

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While Gez chilled with a bit more fishing and Heather’s Dad John just relaxed on deck, Heather went ashore to explore this end of the island and get some sand between her toes! They all went ashore the next morning for further exploration while we took Red Moon around to Canna Harbour to meet up with them.

Our return journey was via Loch Scresort on Rum for lunch and then we set sail to head back up the Sound of Sleat to spend the night at  Isleornsay but this time anchored near Kinloch Lodge Hotel. After an early start we made our way into the mists of Kylerhea and Loch Alsh – suddenly we found ourselves in thick fog with our horn keeping any boats nearby aware of us. A most amazing fogbow formed in an arc over Red Moon’s bow. Anchoring in Loch Na Beiste we were suddenly in bright sunshine again for a hearty breakfast. Back across to Kyle and we were in the mist again to give an atmospheric end to an amazing cruise. By the time we had moored it was clearing just in time for some end of cruise photos!

Two ‘Summer Short Cruises’

In between our longer cruises we had a couple of lovely short trips.

The first was a repeat booking for us for Christine & Kevin who run their own B&B in the north of Skye. We had a lovely cruise to the Kishorn Islands where Kevin was very brave and went for a dip before settling down to a lovely dinner in the evening sun.

The other was a gift from a daughter to her parents for their Ruby Wedding Anniversay and we were really pleased to welcome the happy couple David & Agnes plus David’s brother and his wife for a day cruise which took us out to the Kishorn Islands, the narrows of Loch Carron and Plockton before we headed back under the Skye Bridge. Our day cruises include morning coffee with Mary’s homemade shortbread, a lunch platter such as smoked salmon on brown bread, strawberries, something chocolatey and a glass of Prosecco. Afternoon tea with homemade cake finishes the day off very nicely!

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A classic Red Moon Skye, Wester Ross & Lochalsh cruise

A group of four guests joined us for a night’s B&B on the Pontoons at Kyle before starting their cruise refreshed the next day. Before we had even started the cruise our guests had their first wildlife spotting – a fishing otter just between the Pontoons and the Skye Bridge ! It was also an evening for a fabulous sunset under the Bridge.

This was a six night trip and that allowed us to show brothers David & Roger and their wives Jenny & Liz a bit of everything in this lovely cruising area. The first day of the cruise was David & Jenny’s Golden Wedding Anniversay and it started fittingly with a glass of bubbly with breakfast!

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Our cruise took us north from Kyle up the east coast of Skye where we were lucky enough to spot a couple of white tailed eagles, and onto Churchton Bay on Raasay just in time for David & Roger to make the final whisky tour of the day at the new Raasay Distillery. We anchored that evening just across the Sound of Raasay at Camus a Mhor Bheol.

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Rona was the next morning destination and we set the Genoa for the sail up the Sound. The wind grew stronger as we arrived so it was time to furl sails and anchor in the relative calm of Acairseid Mhor. Our guests went ashore for a walk up the hill to see the fabulous views over the Inner Sound. Leaving Rona we entered Caol Rona with the hope of seeing more eagles and heading down the east coast of Raasay but the waves had grown during our time at anchor and heading into them was just too uncomfortable so we headed back and sailed down the much calmer west coast and into the narrow northern anchorage between  Eilean Fladday and Raasay.

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By the next day conditions had calmed so we were able to anchor for lunch on the south east side of Raasay just below a lovely waterfall. Our suggestion for that night was to head further east to one of our favourite spots – Poll Domhain. This met with approval and once settled  the four were able to head ashore for a good walk on part of the Applecross coast.

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Our plan for the next part of the cruise was to head south and we were able to get down Kylerhea the next morning and stop for lunch at Eilean Rarsaidh near the entrance to Loch Hourn. We saw some seals as were were heading into the anchorage but then while we were having lunch on the aft deck, a fin was spotted! It was a mother and baby porpoise just cruising around and not seeming to mind us being there. It was very special.

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After an afternoon cruise through Loch Hourn we anchored on the opposite side of the Loch behind Eilean a Phiobaire for a peaceful evening and dinner on deck.

The Small Isles was the next day’s destination and we cruised leisurely in good conditions towards Eigg. Eagle – eyed Scott suddenly spotted another fin but this time very excitingly,  it was a Minke whale! We were able to hover around for sometime enjoying the spectacle of the whale who circled us, coming up very close to Red Moon. A precious moment for us all.

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A visit to Eigg followed with an explore ashore and then on our way to our nights anchorage on Muck we spotted a pod of dancing dolphins, who came towards us and obligingly played for a short while in Red Moon’s bow wave.

Friendly seals in Gallanach Bay plus many seabirds, completed our fabulous wildlife spotting of the day…the next day there was more to come with puffins seen while on our way to Rum for a very early breakfast.

We stopped in Loch Scavaig and armed with a picnic our guests went ashore to explore Loch Coruisk and the Cuillins on what turned out to be a really lovely sunny day.

The trip concluded with a run up to Isleornsay before an early start to get up Kylerhea with the tide and breakfast in Loch Alsh. However even our final run on the south coast produced more fabulous wildlife sightings … this time a basking shark!

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Alltogther it was a very awesome wildlife cruise which took in many highlights of this beautiful area….a bit of everything in fact.

The deep Lochs

We had a two night cruise next and the weather, whilst not as good as it had been, allowed us to go south and explore both Loch Hourn and Loch Nevis. We were able to sail into the pool at the head of Loch Hourn and then rather than head across the Sound of Sleat to Isleornsay we thought we would go further south and visit Loch Nevis. At twilight whilst at anchor in Loch Nevis we had a fantastic otter sighting. It was a mother and two cubs who were playing in the water not too far from the boat. Wonderful!

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We left Loch Nevis on the final morning in rather heavy mist and a slightly lumpy sea but once we got further up the Sound of Sleat and the seas was behind Red Moon she moved comfortably forward into a clearer day.

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Spring sprang into Summer!

Well Spring finally arrived in late April while we were on our passage from Greenock to Oban. Here we toast our first sail of the season and the gorgeous weather on Red Moon’s aft deck while anchored near the Burnt Isles in the Kyles of Bute.

Accompanied by friend and crew-member Alan from our maiden voyage in 2016, we moved smartly through the Crinan Canal and headed to Dunstaffnage Marina via a lovely overnight stop in Puilladobhrain.

We stopped for a week in Dunstaffnage and then left for Kyle with a visit to Tobermory on Mull  – and a late birthday dinner ashore for Mary! We had a kind  rounding of Ardnamurchan Point then stopped overnight in at the head of Loch Nevis where we were delighted to witness a herd of deer swim from the little island to the mainland…

Rather than head to the Pontoons at Kyle – as they were not quite in place – we moored for a number of days in one of our favourite spots at Letterfearn in Loch Duich. We had some lovely days and fabulous evenings, working on Red Moon and getting her ready for the coming cruise season.

 

This year we anti- fouled her ‘ the old school way’ by leaning her up against the wall at Kyleakin – by this stage we really felt Spring was starting to think about becoming Summer…

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With Red Moon all spruced up and ready to cruise, we set out on our first cruise of the season with some lovely guests all the way from Oz – one of whom was on a visit ‘home’ to Scotland. We had  gorgeous ( if not quite Southern Hemisphere) summer weather and a first night stop anchored by lovely Plockton.

The trip continued with a cruise up to the island of Raasay where our guests took a stroll ashore and visited the new Raasay distillery . That evening we anchored at Rona and enjoyed a gorgeous sunset with drinks on the aft deck.

After an exploration ashore the next morning we sailed east through Caol Rona looking out for white tailed eagles – one of which duly appeared- and stopped for a lunch – time anchorage beneath the ruins of Brochel Castle and the start of Calum’ s road.

Our final night’s stop was in Caolas Scalpay – the channel between Skye and Scalpay islands – with a little sampling session of Misty Isle gin, Skye’s very own botanical distillation. Very refreshing!

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For our second cruise the weather got even better and was idyllic for a cruise south, starting with a run down Kylerhea. We had a slight current against us which made for a slower trip with some interesting water swirling water patterns. Plenty of seals appeared as we entered the Sound of Sleat, possibly enjoying the turn of the tide more than coming out to greet Red Moon!

We anchored that evening at the Sandaig Islands of Gavin Maxwell’s Ring of Bright Water fame and it was just a perfect spot with views across to Skye.

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With such a good forecast our guests decided they would really like to see the Small Isles so we agreed on a passage to Eigg followed by a run along Rhum’s south coast and round to the most westerly island of Canna – a new place for all of us.

Arriving at Eigg we had lunch and then Mary and our guests Hazel & Phil went ashore to explore and take a walk to Massacre and Catherdral caves – the path though the woods was delightful with bluebells still out and lots of wild garlic, some of which Mary gathered on the way back for that evenings supper.

A leisurely cruise to Canna followed and it was a delight to enter the little harbour there and anchor for a glorious evening, with the prospect of a trip ashore to look forward to the next day.

We all went ashore the following morning to take a look at the little Scottish Free Church, Canna Rhu Church also known as ‘ the Rocket Church’.  – for obvious reasons!

Scott returned to move the tender and meet us round the bay near the more substantial looking  St Edward’s Catholic Church – now a Gaelic study centre. We took a walk around the bay stopping at the little St Columba chapel which is actually the church most used by the islanders. It is small and simple, but beautiful inside with two gorgeous stained glass windows. We had a look at the community shop and the island’s only restaurant, Cafe Canna, which looked very appealing!

Our walk continued across the bridge which links Canna to the smaller island of Sanday, stopping for a quick diversion to look at the gorgeous white sandy beach on the south side of the island. We met up with Scott who had brought the tender into a small beach below the big church and sped a short distance back to Red Moon. We were all impressed with Canna and it is definitely on the ‘ let’s go back’ list when time and tide allow!

Our  cruise continued heading north east around the north coast of Rhum with the ever-present Cuillin Hills on our port side. We headed up into the Sound of Sleat and entered Loch Nevis, with Phil on the helm, just as the classic paddle steamer the Waverley was heading out!

We stopped for a short while at Inverie to visit to most remote pub on the UK mainland ( apparently closed on Wednesdays in the summer ?!) before anchoring for a lovely evening in the sunshine on the west side of the bay. Darkness does not come until around 11pm at this time of year on the West coast and we were certainly able to make the most of it on this trip.

For our final full day we cruised into Loch Hourn with its steep sided hills and awe inspiring scenery, anchoring in a peaceful new spot for lunch. To contrast with  the wild side of this cruise we decided to sail across the Sound of Sleat to visit one of our favourite spots, Isleornsay. This allowed for a bit of potential retail therapy at Floraidh Skye and to sample a wee dram or a pint – or even better ( some might say) the new gin from Eilean Iarmains own distillery-  ‘ Usige   Lusach’. Mmmm…

It was time to head back to Kyle and with an early start to catch the tide up Kylerhea we completed our Small Isles odyssey with a hearty breakfast anchored in Loch Na Beiste, just across from the Pontoons.

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Why not make a booking for next May now? It has been proving to be one of the best cruising months, weather wise, up here and is always very popular – you can get in touch via the website redmooncruises.co.uk or phone 07768 101667.

Is it spring yet?

A stunning day in the Clyde but still snow on the hills…it’s been a chilly winter in Greenock but we have stayed snug onboard Red Moon. We are hoping that this might finally be the last of the wintry blasts so that we can get out on deck and get Red Moon ready for the coming season. We are planning to get going after Easter and start our journey north for the summer. We have a good number of bookings but are hoping some warmer weather will get people thinking about what to do this summer…like a Scottish cruise!

Our first booking at the moment is out of Kyle in May but we are happy to take enquiries for early spring cruises around the Sound of Mull during our passage up to Skye.

Look at the stunning weather we had in early May last year – this was a circumnavigation of Mull with stunning blue skies everyday! Here’s hoping for more of the same…

Clyde return…

In late October and after a very good season based at Kyle Pontoons we sadly said good bye to Skye, Lochalsh and Wester Ross to head south for the winter and the shelter of the River Clyde.

It’s fair to say that this Autumn in the UK has been just a teeny bit windy with Storms Ophelia and Brian. It was a bit of a race to get down the Sound of Sleat – we sat out Ophelia in Isleornsay – and around Ardnamurchan Point and into the shelter of Loch Na Droma Buidhe before Brian hit. But we did it and hardly felt a thing!

Our return trip took us two weeks this year in part to avoid the storm but also to tie in with one of our ‘Crinan Crew’, Dave, who valiantly drove up from Suffolk to join us and help us through the canal. We did this bit on our own last year – not to be recommended- and we have been very glad to have help both ways.

Thanks to Scott’s great planning we avoided most of the nasty seas and in doing so explored some new and known places and enjoyed some downtime before we reached the Clyde.

We stopped off in the Holy Loch to see our friends at the Majestic Line,  Argyll Cruising and the Holy Loch Marina – well timed to see the Glen Etive piped into her berth alongside the Glens Tarsan  and Massan – we ran the Massan about ten years ago!

We settled into James Watt Dock Marina by the end of October and started to get Red Moon all set for chilly winter living…

… and  Christmas!

There are some fantastic walks around the area and we get out and explore as much as we can…

For bookings contact us at enquiries@redmooncruises.co.uk

See our website – redmooncruises.co.uk

Late summer cruising

August and September followed a different pattern to our spring and early summer trips as we had a good number of shorter bookings. It was a good chance to see how these cruises worked compared to the longer trips.

During August we ran two lunch cruises – both fortuitously on superb sunny days – one down the Kylerhea to Sandaig Bay for a group of four local friends and another to the Kishorn Islands for a mother and daughter who were visiting from the Netherlands.

Sandaig Bay was stunning, with views back across to Skye and quite a number of seals to entertain us. Our guests were able to have a leisurely lunch on the aft deck before we had to head back up Kylerhea. A really lovely day out.

 

On the Kishorn trip it was so still and the water was too inviting for a teenager to not want to jump in! Just as Kira was about to brave it along came a massive jelly fish with very long tentacles… suddenly swimming wasn’t looking so good but with the three adults keeping jellyfish watch around the decks she finally made it in and did a couple of laps of the boat.

We also did our first ‘ Night at anchor’ cruise for local couple Christine & Kevin who run their own B&B on Skye. It is a curious thing that hosting for people who do a similar thing to us – whether it’s hospitality or professional sailing- can be rather nerve wrecking. Luckily Christine & Kevin were lovely and we had a great evening together. The trip was a birthday surprise so the next day, Kevin’s birthday, he had a fun ( and full!) breakfast onboard opening all his pressies before we slowly made our way from Poll Domhain back to Kyle.

 

For the rest of August we ran a series of two and three night cruises. All of these trips were north of Skye Bridge and included exploration up the Wester Ross and Skye coasts as well as visits to Rona and Raasay islands. We established a kind of triangular route which could vary as to direction and take in a number of different anchorages in between.

This month definitely saw a bonanza of wildlife spottings from our now famous Raasay Dolphins ( video on Facebook!), plenty of seals, pods of porpoises ( mainly close to the Crowlin Islands), sea- eagles off Rona and the Skye coast – and the fabulous otter which was swimming and feeding in Churchton Bay by Raasay. The weather overall was pretty good – not exactly the dog days of summer but good enough to enjoy being on deck to spot the wildlife and do some fabulous exploring ashore.

September was a very mixed month for weather with the equinox bringing some strong winds and cooler temperatures. We ran another lunch cruise, this time down to Eilean Donan castle. Red Moon’s cosy wheelhouse and galley- salon came into it’s own as we sailed through a rain shower or two. Luckily it turned sunny as we neared the castle so there was a good photo opportunity moment. As if to make up for the rain a very active pod of porpoises greeted us as we crossed the top of the Kylerhea where the tidal effects can create confused water.

Another birthday surprise ‘ Night at anchor ‘  cruise took place this month and this time we cruised down to the Kishorn Islands and anchored there for the night. This is a rather wonderful spot with panoramic views of the Applecross mountains, the harbour at Plockton and views across to the Cuillins on Skye. More obliging porpoises completed the return trip the next morning. Our guests were Rupert & Lin, another local couple who live and work on Skye and it was lovely to talk to them and learn more about life ashore in this wonderful area. In both cases of these special one night trips the  “surpriser ” managed to keep their surprises until they walked down to the Pontoons at Kyle and it was great being part of something so special!

We had three sets of guests from the United States this month and we loved showing them Skye ‘ from the sea’ as well as the other fabulous parts of this special place – the lochs and coves of Lochalsh and Wester Ross and the islands off Skye.

Another local couple joined us early in the month – they also live in Zimbabwe and have taken a number of cruises there, so they were at home on the water – albeit that the scenery and weather this time was very different. They had hoped to visit the Small Isles but wind and sea state did not favour going south from Kyle so, as ever with a plan B, Scott took us north under the Skye Bridge and we headed for Rona. On this trip we decided to make an evening stop at Eilean Fladday. Whilst windy, it was also a stunningly bright day and after a sail down from Rona, complete with sea eagle spotting, we had this interesting and atmospheric anchorage to ourselves.

 

We had stopped here earlier in August with some Swedish guests on a very misty evening and loved the private feel of the place.  Sarah and Gunnar took the opportunity to hike ashore on Raasay and visit Calum’s Road – a proper road built entirely by one man who realised in a big way “ if you want something doing, do it yourself”…

A couple more short trips completed our September activity – another birthday surprise, but this time a short day cruise complete with smoked salmon platter and bubbles and then an evening cruise with local beers and canapés for a film crew who were shooting on Skye.

After the lovely Indian summer we had in October 2016 we thought we would stay in Kyle a little longer and in many ways this worked out well as we had another three night booking from a charming Portuguese family who were very taken with Red Moon and just loved the scenery – so different from what they were used to at home.

Whilst waiting to leave Kyle we were at anchor one morning in Loch Na Beastie when Scott heard a dog barking ashore. This went on for sometime and so we had a look through the binoculars and could see ‘ a spaniel type dog’ – even at this distance he didn’t look like a working type dog. So being dog fanatics we had to check this out! We took Dougie, our tender, ashore and sure enough – not a spaniel but a gorgeous young red setter. He was shy of us at first but eventually gentle coaxing brought him to us and he was obviously  well cared for and we guessed, missing from home.

He was very happy to come in the tender and on our way over to Kyle we sent out a Facebook message. It didn’t take long to get some responses and a phone call to the local vet confirmed a red setter had been missing for two days! Within a couple of hours the power of social media brought Paddy’s owners to us and they were overjoyed to be reunited. A very happy  finale to our season in Skye and Lochalsh.

Please take a look at our website – redmooncruises.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Skyes…

Back on the pontoons…

We didn’t stop long in Oban after our last fabulous cruise and we were on our way up to Ardnamurchan Point en route to Skye when we spotted a water spout.  A Minke whale was just astern of us! After a long sail up through the Small Isles we arrived as darkness fell, to anchor in a new place for us – just outside Soay Harbour in the shadow of the dramatic Cuillin Hills. We were back in Skye!

We spent the next day exploring Loch Scavaig before heading around into the Sound of Sleat to spend the night at one of our favourite spots at Isleornsay. We waited for the tide to take us up Kylerhea before arriving at our home for the summer on the pontoons at the Kyle of Lochalsh. It was great to be back.

First dinner cruise

After some settling in time we welcomed our first guests on board for a dinner cruise. This was arranged through Frances and David who run ‘thistlesonskye’ – a boutique B&B near Isleornsay and who we met during our first transit of ths Crinan Canal last year.

We were fortunate that it was a gorgeous sunny evening and the Waverley – the last sea going paddle steamer in the world – was due to dock at Kyle that very evening. We cruised down to the head of Kylerhea to meet her and while she docked at Kyle, we carried on cruising under the iconic Skye Bridge to another of our regular anchorages in Badicaul Bay where dinner was served and the sunset was admired!

First Skye guests

Our first Skye & Lochalsh bespoke cruise guests, Joe and Brenda, joined us for seven nights in early June, arriving by train on the famous Kyle Line from Inverness. With the weather initially favourable, we headed north for Loch Torridon, with a lunch stop at the Crowlin Islands on the way. The afternoon turned somewhat threatening and it became a race to get into Loch Torridon before the rains and wind hit us….. we made it and anchored for the night by the village of Shieldaig where there was time for a short stroll ashore before dinner.

We explored Loch Torridon the next morning, spotting an eagle as we cruised through the Torridon narrows. We then headed north to Gairloch with a lunch stop at picturesque Badachro. After an exploration of Gairloch, the evening was spent at another Shieldaig, with a short stroll ashore before dinner.

From Gairloch we headed across the Inner Sound, the north of Rona  (porpoises sighted here!) and the Sound of Raasay to take in the majestic Trotternish coastline of Skye – The Old Man of Storr and the waterfalls at Lealt. A new lunch stop was Invertote Bay – where we saw ruined buildings from Skye’s industrial past.

We crossed back to the lovely anchorage on Rona of Acairseid Mhor, where Joe and Brenda had a walk ashore up to a viewing point where they could look back down onto Red Moon at anchor and out to the Sound beyond.

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We next headed south down the sheltered east coast of Raasay, spotting a pair of eagles on our way through the Rona channel, down to ‘hole – up’ in Loch Sligachan – the wind by this time was gusting up to force 8! Joe took advantage of a longer stop at anchor to take stimulating walk along the coast of An Aird, the Skye side of the Raasay narrows.

With the wind having abated somewhat the next day we motorsailed down into Broadford Bay, where Joe and Brenda were able to explore Skye’s second largest town. We then went to anchor at Caolas Scalpay where we enjoyed the best sunset of the trip.

Our final day took us east to Plockton for lunch and a visit ashore. From Plockton we raised both headsails and sailed down to our final nights anchorage at Badicaul Bay.

Eleven day epic

With just a day in between, we welcomed our next lovely guests, Ken and Hazel, who were to join us for an epic 11 day nostalgic re -visit to this corner of western Scotland, where they lived many years ago. The early weather forecast for this trip did not favour our planned itinerary to go north from Kyle, so we made a short trip across Loch Alsh to Loch Na Beastie, a peaceful, green, steep sided loch where we have spotted plenty of seals and on occasion an otter or two.

Our first full day took us through the Kylerhea and then a rather lively trip down the Sound of Sleat to Loch Hourn. Whilst transiting the narrows we got a couple of glimpses of an otter feeding along the edge of the fast moving water. We cruised almost to the top of the loch before anchoring for the night in what we hoped was another promising otter spot…..but whilst the otters remained as elusive as ever, we did see a mother and baby deer drinking by the water’s edge and then a mother and baby porpoise swam close around the boat. It was a very magical evening.

The next morning after exploring the pool at the very top of Loch Hourn, we made our way out and down to Loch Nevis to stop for lunch near Inverie. We went ashore to explore the venue for the ‘most remote pub on the UK mainland’, popping into a shop selling local venison and crafts. From Inverie we made our way through rather a misty evening to anchor in upper Loch Nevis – a remote but atmospheric spot. On our way we spotted something rather strange on the beach – a whale! It was made of wood and apparently is to be a trans – atlantic ocean going vessel! We happened to see that there was a NZ flag flying on the flagpole on the shore…….that might explain things….

We had hoped to go south from Loch Nevis to visit the Small Isles but sadly the sea conditions dictated otherwise so we headed across the Sound to visit Isleornsay and had a very enjoyable time ashore looking at the oils of William Swann which were displayed in the little gallery there. Hazel and Mary also just had to pop into the lovely shop called Floraid Skye to peruse the gorgeous knitwear and other Scottish made clothing and accessories…!

We spent that evening, having come back up Kylerhea, in peaceful Loch Duich where we saw an improvement in the weather. Ken and Hazel enjoyed a fine evening on the aft deck after dinner watching the sunset.

Next morning we had a quick provisioning stop at Kyle and then cruised under the Skye Bridge and went north to explore a new anchorage for us, at Poll Domhain on the Applecross coast. This proved to be a lovely spot – we were entertained for hours by the antics of the local seal population.

We also explored next door Poll Creadha before heading to the Crowlins for a lunch stop and then finishing up at Caolas Scalpay for a special dinner – Hazel’s niece Andrea and husband Ewan came on board to join us for the evening.

After a late start and brunch the next day we headed east, past Plockton and into Loch Carron to start the nostalgia part of the trip. Ken and Hazel lived by the shores of Loch Carron many years ago when Ken was involved with the buidling of the North Sea oil platforms in neigbouring Loch Kishorn. The next morning was a Sunday and there was a visit to their old church and a walk along the village and foreshore before lunch back on board. Next port of call was Loch Kishorn itself which we cruised slowly round so that Ken could relive his time there – although there have been many changes around the Loch since then.

We spent that evening in another new peaceful anchorage – Loch Toscaig which is just south of Poll Domhain. The following day we cruised west to Raasay and stopped for lunch in Churchton Bay. This allowed for a short walk ashore before we sailed up to Rona for our night at anchor in this pretty harbour – complete with succesful eagle and otter spotting! From Rona we were able to go north about to Loch Torridon. We had lunch in another great new bay for us – Loch Diabaig – and it was a lovely sunny day too!

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We spent that evening at Shieldaig after a cruise around Loch Torridon itself and the sun continued to shine. On our way out the next morning we got a fabulous close up view of an eagle in the branches of a tree on Shieldaig island – a really fantastic sighting. After lunch at Poll Creadha we reached our final night anchorage of the trip by the coral beach at Port An Eorna not far from Plockton. Scott, alone, saw yet another otter!

Something to write home about…

A few days later we were joined by freelance writer Martin, who was to be our guest for three days and write about life onboard Red Moon and this fabulous area with a view to an article appearing in one of Archant’s glossy publications!

It was quite a busy schedule and started with a night in Loch Na Beastie followed the next day by a packed trip down Kylerhea and the Sound of Sleat, taking in the Sandaig islands, Loch Hourn and an afternoon stop at Isleornsay, before heading back up Kylerhea to stop the night in Loch Duich.

The following day we cruised under the Skye Bridge, headed for Raasay where we had a lovely coastal walk, then sailed across to take a peak at Portree and the fabulous coastline north of that town ( complete with another eagle sighting) before heading to our night anchorage on Rona. We had some great weather and a particularly glassy, still evening in Acairseid Mhor. We had a full morning exploring ashore on Rona, visiting Church Cave and the abandoned village of Acairseid Thioram where many of Rona’s population once lived.

We crossed back to the Applecross coast to take a look at Poll Domhain, before reaching Plockton where an explore ashore just had to take in a local brew at the Plockton Hotel looking out over the pretty bay! We had an evening cruise back to Kyle for dinner, before Martin’s early departure the next morning.

Downtime

After all that cruising activity we entered a quieter time for bookings but it has been anything but dull! After a short trip back to Devon for Mary to deal with family matters, we decided to go back to one of our new favourite anchorages, Poll Domhain and do some exploring ashore to scope out walks for guests. Returning to the boat via …. we came across the Applecross Photographic gallery.

We had a chat with the very helpful lady there, Anne, and the upshot was that the owner and photographer, Jack Marris, came down to talk to us about getting a few shots of Red Moon at anchor.
Happily for us all, this turned into a full on photo shoot the next day with Jack taking lots of new interior shots and then climbing hill and glen to get the best views of Red Moon. The climax of all this was a drone video of Red Moon under ( almost) full sail cruising around the fairly small and rocky (!) bay of Poll Creadha! We are looking forward to using many of the pics for our website and in future advertising. Also check out our Facebook page….

Just before we left Kyle to come north we took delivery of a brand new poster to display on the dockside at the pontoons in Kyle – hopefully this will attract the local population and the many visitors who stop at Kyle before haeding across to Skye.

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For more information and bookings please see our website – redmooncruises.co.uk