September 2018 was, it has to be said, rather a tempestuous month for everyone after the hazy days of summer with two named storms, Ali & Bronagh sweeping through in one week – that of the Equinox so perhaps not so surprising.
We had a full month of bookings however so not to be daunted by the weather we set forth to show our guests as much as we could of this wonderful area.
The month started with a repeat booking from our lovely guests Tom & Sue – Tom has kindly provided us with some wonderful wildlife photos and this year proved to be another opportunity for him, the highlight being his capture of the elusive otter about to go for a swim…
For this cruise we first took them south of the Skye Bridge and down the Kylerhea to Lochs Hourn and Nevis and it was actually in Loch Nevis that he got the shot. We stayed in one spot for sometime watching the otter on a fishing trip….On our way north to Loch Hourn we had a fabulous eagle spotting opportunity.
To finish their three night trip we sailed round to Plockton for a little visit ashore spending the final night at anchor behind the Kishorn Islands.
Our next guests were well versed in boat life having enjoyed cruises with both the Majestic Line and Argyll Cruising. This time they fancied a trip for just the two of them and that’s where Red Moon comes in just right! As strong winds were predicted we decided to race ahead up the Inner Sound to hide out in Loch Torridon, where there is plenty to explore for a day or so.
On day three we peaked our nose out from Loch Torridon, after some impressive eagle spotting on the way and with our staysail set we cut across the waves heading for Arcaseid Mhor on Rona. It was quite bumpy in the Sound but this made for fun conditions for a pod of dolphins we encountered on our journey!
Once inside Caol Rona and then the anchorage itself all was calm for a while and we anchored deep in the bay to await the next big blow. Fortunately this timed nicely for Rob & Lynda to be taking a walk ashore and and having a good exploration of this lovely little island.
Next day we slowly made our way back into Caol Rona and not liking the look of the sea state to the west we headed east and turned down the coast of Raasay. This was a good move as we had a relaxed cruise south, with an eagle overhead at the start and end and we managed to anchor for lunch by Brochel Castle. Scott took Lynda and Rob ashore and they were able to walk up and take their first steps on Callum’s Road.
We spent that night at anchor to the east of the Scalpay narrows so that the next morning we could take advantage of the high tide to sail through the narrows and round to Churchton Bay off Raasay, always a popular place to visit especially with a Distillery to check out!
For their last night we had a long cruise back to the Skye Bridge, through Loch Alshe and down to Letterfearn in Loch Duich, passing Eilean Donan castle on our way.
Another three night cruise followed this one with guests Charlie and Ellen on a longer holiday from the US. They used live on their own boat so it was a nostalgic return for them to life at sea. They were keen to sail Red Moon rather than motor so we did our best to oblige – though at times we had too much wind and had to batten down the hatches and enjoy the charms of Rona island instead!
A long sail heading south east from Rona brought us to the entrance to Loch Carron and we had a little cruise there before heading across to Plockton for the night. On our final cruise back to Kyle we had a wonderful finale with a pod of lively dolphins to accompany us.
With a day between we welcomed more guests from across the pond, this time a group of four, two of whom were experiencing their first time living onboard a boat! The family group wanted to end their cruise at Mallaig so that they could catch the Jacobite train as part of their grand Scottish Tour. We promised to deliver if we possibly could and for a while it was touch and go as to whether we could safely make it down the Sound of Sleat and into that busy fishing port.
However, the weather co operated just enough for us to do just that and after an excursion Isleornsay, an explore of the drovers track on the side of Loch Hourn and a visit to the famous Old Forge pub in Loch Nevis we safely delivered them to the pontoon in Mallaig, with kind courtesy of the Harbourmaster.
Before entering the Kylerhea and committing ourselves south, we had given the group a taste of the area north of the Skye Bridge with a cruise to Loch Carron and Plockton and a night at anchor in the Kishorn Islands.
Red Moon made her way back to Kyle to get ready for her final cruise of the season for friends Beth and Dave, who have sailed with us before as part of the ‘Crinan Canal Crew’!
With conditions rather challenging in Loch Alshe we met Beth and Dave at Dornie were they were able to leave their car. After a short cruise up Loch Duich we anchored in our favourite spot at Letterfearn and all went ashore for a walk. A friendly dog joined us for a while, enjoying having some new people to throw his chewy ball/ rag thing! On our return road journey and despite not having brought any one of the five pairs of binoculars we had on board, Dave managed to spot an otter swimming along the loch side! We followed it for some while before it disappeared, but it was a fabulous sight.
As Beth and Dave are keen walkers, as are we, we decided to head for Loch Hourn the next day and while three of us got to walk the drovers track, Scott moved Red Moon back up the loch to meet us. This allowed for some great photos and even a little vid!
We managed a trip ashore at Isleornsay where sadly Mary’s favourite shop Floraidh Skye was unusually shut! However there was a good exhibition on in the gallery and Beth and Dave came away with a wildlife bird picture.
We returned to Loch Alshe with thoughts of spending the night at anchor in Loch Na Beiste but the wind was blowing up again and it was not the best place to be so we returned to Loch Duich and had a very peaceful afternoon at anchor, spotting the odd porpoise, looking at the birdlife and playing cards, with a wee dram or two by our sides. A lovely end to a great cruising season!