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.
Sandaig Bay-Loch Nevis-Eigg-Kishorn Islands
On this four night cruise we picked up our guests, Jan & Rob, from Plockton where they had been staying the week before.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.