Sailing with friends

Saturday turned out to be a gorgeous day, particularly pleasing as Tracey and Rodney Weller were joining us on our adventure for a few days and we really want them to see some of Scotland and get a taste of the fantastic, raw beauty of this area. We realise how lucky we have been with the good weather, particularly the lack of rain that, so far, we have been blessed with. Before sailing round to the Kyle of Lochalsh to meet them we embarked on a little local exploring and demonstrated an astounding level of incompetence in map-reading on land. I'd like to put it down to having become accustomed to nautical charts, and that our chart plotter being orientated to a "heads-up," rather than north-up direction, but to be perfectly honest we were just laughably incompetent! Anyway, we eventually found a very lovely walk through woodland on North Strome.
We motored round, under the Skye Bridge to the Kyle of Lochalsh, delighted to find space on the pontoon and even more delighted to be met by Neil Cawthorne a fellow Waldringfield sailor, who, with wife Annie and hound Bonnie have extensive experience of sailing in the Hebrides. They are embarking on a passage around the far north, the Orkneys, Shetlands, Pentland Firth, (respect!) this season, with Annies brother and sister in law Malcolm and Rosie. Formalities of tea and tours were soon followed by by champagne and exchange of stories sitting out on deck in the warm sunshine. A group of young German men making the most of weather and jumping off the pontoon into the water.....this is not what I was expecting on this trip! (I mean the weather!).

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Tracey and Rodney arrived and joined the party. After a flight to Glasgow and a 4+ hour drive north to meet us they were ready to stretch their legs and we climbed up to a viewpoint looking down over, Skye, the Skye Bridge and the Inner Sound, mountains and water and blue sky, fantastic!
Not the most peaceful night aboard Bliss, the wind swung round during the night and resulted in waves slapping against the sugar-scoop transom and keeping me awake. Rodney and Tracey had arrived armed with silicon ear-plugs so weren't as disturbed I'm pleased to say. Eventually I got up and ran across the bridge to Kyleakin on Skye at 6am which was lovely.
The Wellers stayed with us until Wednesday, the forecast wasn't great, strong southerlies, and quite a lot of cloud and rain. We chose to take them north, up to Sheldaig in Loch Torridon, which offers shelter, pretty scenery and a good pub and restaurant.
We had a lovely sail up to Sheildaig, following breeze, broken sunshine, fantastic views of the mountains. We anchored between the village and the island, we're now becoming confident with the anchor, it held well, despite the 20 knot wind. Chris and Rodney went ashore to explore, and returned an hour and a couple of pints later in a very buoyant mood, having purchased two crabs, (live) from a young fisherman in the pub, for 86pence, all the money Rodney had left in his pocket. That's tomorrow's supper sorted.
On Monday we had coffee in the hotel, had an interesting walk above the village and then lunch in the restaurant, delicious local ingredients. Sheildaig is a really lovely place to visit, I'm so pleased that we found it, it hadn't been on the itinerary but wind direction and visitors play their part in decision making thankfully, or we'd never get anywhere, and we'd miss some gems!

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All very comfortable, you wouldn't think we were doing nearly 7 knots.

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Loch Torridon