Corryvreckan to Crinan Canal

After a noisy night at anchor on Colonsay, we were awake before 5 to be sure to arrive at the right point of tide to sail through the Gulf of Corryvreckan . There was a dark foreboding cloud sitting over the Gulf, as if warning us to keep away! We were nervous, but the wind had dropped overnight and it was a quiet, 15 mile motor, keeping south of The Great Race, the overfalls west of Corryvreckan . We arrived early and had to wait, the flood was still running at 4 knots. At about 9am, the tide seemed to turn and we slowly made our way through. Apart from some sinister looking stirring and swirling I'm pleased to say there really wasn't much to see.

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There seem to be two eyes keeping a watch over the famous whirlpool, quiet now, but with a fearsome reputation.


Feeling physically and emotionally exhausted we took the ebb round to Ardfern Marina, tied up securely to a pontoon and went back to sleep! When we woke it was raining and we spent the day aboard, planning the next stage of our journey, through the Crinan Canal, the Kyles of Bute, and then south, via Arran and Kintyre to ?Belfast.
Monday 27th June feeling rejuvenated after loads of sleep, we explored the Ardfern area,down to Craignish Point, on the bikes, in the rain. Lots of showery weather at the moment.
Motored down to the Crinan Canal and locked in; so beautiful, very lush flora here, we walked through what they call the rainforest, climbed up to overlook the loch and the canal, thick lichen on all the trees, must be very clean air.

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A lovely hotel where we enjoyed a pint or two whilst watching the footie; no comment.
We stayed the night in the canal basin. In order to transit the canal you buy a license, which permits you to spend up to four nights in the canal, mooring at pontoons along the canal bank or in the basins at either end, it's only eight miles long so there's no hurry to move on. There are 15 locks to negotiate too, seven up and eight down, with only the two of us aboard we'll have our work cut out as these locks are the original, manual variety, you have to lean into the gates with all your might to shift them.
Going up through each lock there's lots of turbulence, so Chris stays aboard steadying the ship,while I do the manual labour, running backwards and forwards opening and shutting the sluices and the gates, or not !! The first lock we had to negotiate alone, number 13 as it happens, seemed to be taking forever to fill, I had cautiously opened one of the two uphill sluices, just about a third to allow Chris to manage the lines and keep her steady, quite difficult, I had my eye on the ladder on the far gate and the level wasn't moving much at all. It was only when one of the Scottish Canal Staff appeared to investigate why the upper reach water level had dropped suddenly.....I hadn't closed the lower sluices, so as fast as the water poured into the lock, it was pouring out of the other gate, whoops! The canal guys were very chilled about, sorted things out and helped us through the next two locks, we moored up for the night, cycled along the tow-path a bit, had a pint and by the time we returned the midges were out in force.

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This beauty was flying overhead for a while.