The beginning of August seemed to usher in a change to the weather from the lovely long sunny days to a rather more mixed picture. Not that it stopped us getting out on the water and showing our overseas guests the beauty of the area in all its different guises.
Pan Pan …
We took a family of mixed generations and nationality – Italian & Icelandic- out for four nights taking in Scalpay, Skye’s dramatic eastern coastline, Raasay & Rona before heading across to the Wester Ross coast and round into Plockton and Port Eorna. During the four days we saw so many amazing rainbows..
Our visit to Rona was a bit of a whistle stop but long enough for some rather wonderful wildlife viewing…
Whilst anchored in between Raasay and Fladda for the night we heard a PanPan call on the radio and after Scott had checked the position of the distressed yacht and realising we were the closest vessel, he advised the coastguard we could go to offer assistance. The yacht was being sailed solo and it had a line wrapped round its prop. With night coming on and unable to get himself to a safe location the skipper had put out the call.
So between dinner courses we up anchored and motored a short distance to stand off Raasay’s north west coast within a short distance from the yacht. By the time we got there we could see the Portree lifeboat approaching and once the lifeboat was happy they had the yacht under tow they advised we could stand down and we returned to our anchorage … and pudding!
Short Summer cruises..
We had a couple of short cruises to follow both of which took us north under the Skye Bridge and round to lovely Plockton, with a little excursion into Loch Carron’s narrows and the Kishorn Islands to see some seal action!
On our second trip were were returning to Kyle when we saw the unmistakable splash of dolphins and we had our best sighting so far this year…check out our little video on YouTube..
Weather woes..wildlife wonders…
Our next guests were on two week trip from Wisconsin to see more of Skye and her surrounding islands. They love Scotland and had visited many times but this time they were concentrating on this area and they joined us for six nights.
The forecast was not the best but we were determined to make the best of it and try to ensure they did not miss out on seeing as much of our cruising area as possible. We started with a night in Loch Duich where they were able to compare a mural they have at home of Eilean Donan castle with the real thing!
Next morning we set of down Kylerhea..the sea state was not the best in the Sound of Sleat but we sailed down to Isleornsay where our guests had a nice visit ashore taking in the Whisky Shop, complete with tastings, and then into Floraidh Skye and a quick look at an exhibition by Pam Carter whose fabulous colourful paintings of the area are a real joy to look at.
After lunch we headed across to moody Loch Hourn and the weather cleared enough for our guests to have a short hike along the drovers trail before we took them onto the head of the Loch to a peaceful night anchorage, complete with deer spotting. We had a little porpoise sighting on our way out of the Loch the next day and having made the decision not to go any further south we nipped up Kylerhea early in the morning and stopped for tasty brunch at anchor in Loch Alshe.
After an afternoon visit to Broadford we stopped for the night in the shelter of Scalpay, where the sun appeared, as did some strong wind gusts, heavy rain…and of course fabulous rainbows..
We had a brighter morning for a sail up Raasay Sound where we had a lovely dolphin sighting..followed by eagle spotting on the Portree cliffs and then a sail up the Sound with wind and waves behind us. We stopped at Churchton Bay on Raasay so that our guests could head to the Raasay Distillery for another whisky tasting session.
That afternoon we headed into Rona’s sheltered anchorage where there was only one boat anchored…it had a Royal Navy white ensign on it and we joked about maybe one of the Royals was onboard…! A later google on the vessel suggested we might actually have been right..
This was also the day we had a rather good sighting of a submarine on manoeuvres..
Heading east from Rona we had a rather lively crossing to the Crowlins and then stopped for lunch in a new anchorage for us close to Plockton – very sheltered and calm. After a cruise into Loch Carron we decided not to anchor there but went to yet another new quiet anchorage just behind Ulluva Island just within sight of Plockton Harbour. Our guests had an enjoyable visit to Plockton the next day, walking above the village to a viewpoint, then stopping for a little gift shopping and a coffee at the Plockton Inn.
They said their preference for their last night was a quiet and enclosed bay so we took them to one of our favourite hideaways – Poll Domhain. We took the tender for a little close ( not too close) encounter with the bay’s seal population before dropping them ashore for a walk over to one Wester Ross coast’s white sandy beaches.
Finally that evening the wind dropped and the skies started to clear and it was a gorgeous last evening. Our sunny blue cruise back to Kyle the next morning was very busy with porpoise sighting – the most we have seen, all having a good feed and not really taking any notice of us!
Just as we were approaching the Skye Bridge Mary was watching diving gannets when suddenly a rather large dark bird appeared in the sky – it was an eagle, no doubting it and she watched it for sometime as it flew on over the Crowlins and round over the Applecross hills. First time we have seen one in that area. Fabulous.
North & South of the Bridge..
For our penultimate August trip we managed to give our guests a little taste of the areas both north and south of the iconic Skye bridge. We headed round to Plockton for a visit ashore but decided to anchor for the evening at the Kishorn Islands to give our guests that really panoramic evening viewing…. and we had some very dramatic views as the weather went from dark skies to sun lighting up the hills, rain and rainbows within the space of a very short time.
Sailing across the Inner Sound and north about the Crowlins Islands we had a lovely little porpoise sighting before skirting the foot of Raasay where we had a pretty good eagle experience as two magnificent birds soared over the island. Our guests had an enjoyable tour and whisky tasting at Raasay Distillery followed by a walk in the hills. With a northerly wind getting a bit stronger we decided to anchor for the night in the southern part of the anchorage between Eilean Fladda and Raasay. They really loved the protected feel of the bay.
We did a little detour north the next day to take a look at Rona and to try and eagle spot in Caol Rona before heading back down the west coast of Raasay with the dramatic view of the Skye coast to starboard. That day’s weather was a bit grim so we continued cruising right back under the Skye Bridge, through Loch Alsh and into Loch Duich. We stopped for a look at Eilean Donan Castle where there was fortuitously a pipe band playing, we think for wedding taking place. The weather cleared that evening allowing for a fine last sail back to the pontoons the next morning.
Romantic evening cruise to remember…
Our final trip of the month had a been a while in the planning with specific requests for good weather, seals, porpoises, dolphins, whales and a sail at sunset time! Whilst our guest Rob knew he was asking for a lot and was very understanding that we might not be lucky with all or even any of that….well the stars must have been waiting to shine on him and his girlfriend Kathryn ( whose birthday surprise trip it was) as we managed the lot! Well we are not certain about the whale but all ( except the chef) saw something big breach off our beam as we sailed past the Crowlins and it wasn’t a dolphin!!
We almost couldn’t believe the large, busy, but aloof, pod of porpoises, which were closely followed by a frisky bunch of dolphins who happily swam under Red Moons bow for quite some time. We took a little detour into Poll Domhain and switched both engines off to enjoy the utter silence and watch the curios seals who came pretty close by. After a tasty supper and a little glass of something sparkling for the lovely couple, we headed back to Kyle with a fabulous evening sky developing behind us.
Heather in the hills…
Scott and Mary had a little break after this until their next cruise so on the final day of the month they took to the hills behind Kyle and enjoyed a few moments in the sun…