24 June 2016
Escapade of Rame
Richard & Julie Farrington
Sun 26 Jun 2016 20:53
Lagavulin proved to be an interesting lesson – we touched the bottom on the way in, keeping too far to the right as we turned to port through the narrowest part of the entry. We backed out, thought about it for a bit and had another go, this time without incident. The delay meant that we missed the late morning tour of the distillery, so we walked towards Port Ellen instead.
On the way, we came across the Laphroaig distillery, so went to investigate. Bought the ubiquitous tea towel and in the process took a dram of Three Woods brew... which we rather liked. Glorious day though, so we continued into Port Ellen and had a look at the small marina facilities there before retracing our steps, investing in some Three Woods and eventually retuning to the boat around 1530.
The tides here are something of a mystery; the range at Port Ellen at springs is about 30cm, but more than 3m on the other side of the island. It should have been not far off low tide at this point, but the depth was greater than when we arrived, so after a fine cold smoked fish-based lunch, we edged our way out to sea. Only to touch bottom again, this time keeping too far to the right of the channel in much the same place. Backed off and made our way out to sea without further incident, turning north towards the Sound of Islay.
We quickly realised that we were not going to make it through the Sound before the tidal stream turned against us at up to 5 knots, so we anchored in the eastern entrance to the Sound, just underneath Jura. The heavens opened as we did so, and it rained very heavily for several hours. Nice and dry below decks... 55:47:8N 6:02:5W
Early start on 24 June to pass through the Sound of Islay on the last of the tide and into Loch Tarbert, Jura. This is a wonderful, isolated Scottish loch with dramatic green and grey hills, glacial moraines, dark brown water and blue skies all around. We followed the instructions in the Pilot carefully and made our way to anchor in the Inner Loch without incident. Around lunchtime we set off in the dinghy to explore the inner reaches of the Loch – navigable in a smaller yacht and well worth a look. We found a small slipway and boathouse where we left the dinghy and went walking towards the eastern shores of Jura. In Tarbert Bay we found a fine herd of red deer, quite a lot of sheep and ate the last of our homemade cake. Fine scenery across the Sound of Jura and we eventually returned to the dinghy at... low water. It was about a hundred yards from the briny across some rather soft and smelly mud. So we sat down on a grassy knoll to wait for a couple of hours. After 20 minutes, Julie got bored and went off to see if there were any other places with better access to the water. The heavens opened; I took refuge in the boathouse and Julie returned with news of a possible access point about half a mile away. It meant carrying the engine and boat separately along a rough path and across seaweed and mud, but offered the prospect of returning onboard three hours earlier than doing nothing.
I carried the boat, reminiscing about a Ladybird book I read as a child that described the early coracles and had a picture of a 10 century man carrying a small open boat on his back...
Once back onboard, at least we had a good excuse to sample the whisky! 55:58:3N 5:54:0W