Summer is not over yet, and we have high hopes of an Indian one ( based on optimism not meteorological knowledge!), but so far we have been able to get out on three trips which have helped to develop our ideas for future cruising in this wonderful area.
Late June saw the arrival of Neil and Debbie who joined us as our first guests for an exploration of our new cruising grounds. We started off with a sail to Loch Carron where we anchored for the night and went ashore to check out the Loch Carron gallery and other local shops etc – including Loch Carron Bistro which looked so welcoming we booked a table for that night. This proved to be a very good move as we had a fabulous meal…
From here our route took us to Plockton for a quick recce ashore and then via the Sound of Raasay to anchor at Rona for the night. We went ashore here and hiked up to see the tremendous views over the Sound.
Next, a sail across to Portree and a fact finding trip ashore then south along Skye’s coast where we spotted a sea eagle….before ending up at anchor off Scalpay.
We explored ashore at Broadford, with a nice walk from the Corrie Pier before heading back to Plockton for a final night relaxing and tasty dinner in the Plockton Hotel.
In early July we had guests from Australia, Valerie and Jon, with young son Scott and they joined us for a four day adventure. Here ‘big Scott’ and ‘small Scott’ handle the helm between them.
We spent a rather windy wet first night on the pontoons to get everyone settled in then the next morning set off down Loch Alsh to view Eilean Donan castle and take a trip ashore for a walk through the pretty village of Dornie and alongside lovely Loch Long. We caught the afternoon tide to travel south through the Kylerhea with a chance to spot eagles, otters and seals – at least the seals cooperated! We spent that evening in view of the lighthouse of Isleornsay.
The next day we headed north through the narrows again and around to Raasay for a circular walk ashore, taking a peak at Raasay House which is now a multi activity centre. The afternoon was spent cruising to our night anchorage in Fladday Harbour which is between Fladday and Rassay. We spent some time just idling while we watched an eagle high up on the cliffs just south of Portree, willing it to spread its awesome wings and fly – but it kept to its perch!
We sailed on through the Rona channel and down the Inner Sound where we stopped to lunch at the Crowlin Islands enjoying the contrast between the pink rocks and unbelievably green water. Our trip ended with a walk ashore at Plockton before heading back to the pontoons at Kyle.
The Tapster family joined us in mid August – along with their Canadian canoe which we were able to strap on Red Moon’s roomy roof. This trip looked to be very promising weatherwise and we left Kyle and headed under the Skye Bridge all the way to Loch Carron.
As there was a bit of a ripple on the water we rejected the idea of canoeing and took a walk ashore. We went in all the galleries including that of painter and printmaker Michael Stuart Green, then into Poppy’s ( who is actually a gorgeous border collie) and finally a re-visit for us to the lovely Loch Carron Gallery. After a walk further along by the waterside we ended up at the appropriately named Waterside cafe where we all indulged in some very yummy cake and tea – the girls hot chocolates were to die for!
We headed north the next day and were delighted to catch sight of a large pod of porpoises. We anchored in the Crowlin Islands and now it was perfect to get the canoe down and Emma, Lucy and Molly carefully got in and paddled off – being watched by a nearby curious seal. We had a rather boggy walk ashore and sat atop a hill to have our picnic. From the Crowlins it was a short spin to Rona for the evening, with an eagle sighting as we passed through the Rona Channel. Before dinner Scott took Terry and the the girls for an explore in the tender, sneaking up on some seals and looking for the resident otters.
The next morning was calm with the promise of some sun, so we all went off in the tender before breakfast to see the seals. Emma was the only one brave enough to get in for a swim, at a respectful distance from the seals – who seemed pretty nonchalant about it all. After a hearty breakfast we had a lovely sunny walk ashore on Rona to visit the Church Cave and abandoned settlement at Dry Bay. In the afternoon we had a great sail with genoa and staysail up (and engine) to the head of Loch Torridon. That night we had dinner ashore in the Torridon Inn and then a moonlit trip back in the tender.
An even brighter sunny day dawned so we decided to stay at anchor and explore ashore and have some fun with the canoe. Dinner that evening was a BBQ on a small island where we could watch the sunset and enjoy the heat of the day to the last possible moment.
Our final day started with a visit a little way up the loch to Sheildaig. It was on the way that we spotted a pair of white tailed sea eagles sitting a few yards apart on the rocks and nearby branches. Shieldaig is an attractive village with a couple of very nice cafe/bars where you can sit and watch the water activity.
The day and trip finished with a long cruise to Plockton ( for yummy fish and chips and a pint by the harbour) , giving some a chance to catch up on sleep, postcards or books or just sit back enjoy the sun and ever changing view – which on this day included a submarine on manouevres!
Don’t forget to look at our website redmooncruises.co.uk!