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Date: 24 May 2010 11:10:00
Title: Loch Erisort, Isle of Lewis

58:06.326N 006:25.586W Sunday

Sad to leave the stunning Shiant Islands. As we left, it was foggy and we couldn't see the tops of the hills on the islands, even though they're only about 80m high. The Puffins and Guillemots gave us a fine send off as we motored out between the islands though rafts of birds. Even more seals and sea caves became visible as we left the islands in our wake. I will definitely be back.

It was only a short hop today so we motored for a bit, picked up a lovely bit of wind - 15 knots or so - on the port quarter and have a great sail for an hour until it died away and we motored again into the loch. We had a choice of places to anchor - one inside a bay with a village around it and one just outside. When I looked into the bay, it looked like there wasn't room to swing a cat, let alone Saxon Blue. We carried on for a few hundred meters and anchored between a small rock island and the mainland.

As the wind took us, it was clear that there wasn't much swinging room here either so we decided to re-anchor nearer the island and then drop back on the hook and tie ourselves to rocks on the mainland. Andrea and Kali did their tender-driving antics and we soon had a couple of wire strops around some rocky pinnacles ready to take the mooring lines. They came back aboard, we raised and then dropped the anchor, motored back and moored up. Very professional. To a casual observer, it would have looked as though we'd been doing it for years. Let's hope leaving tomorrow is as slick.

We had dinner and then Kali and I went to explore the hills and see what we could see. Had a great walk and got a good view of the surroundings and loads of rabbits including a fair percentage of black ones - just like home. We walked to the village which was deserted apart from sheep and rabbits. In the end, we met a really nice guy who chatted to us about the local sights and history. The island near us is named after Saind Columb Kille (Columba) and he told us about a ruined church on it where the Celtic Christians had a monastery.

We went back to Saxon Blue, picked up Andrea and set off for the church which was near the tidal causeway to the mainland. It was a great expedition. OK the church was only a pile of stones but you could see that it had some ecclesiastical features and was surrounded by Victorian gravestones. In the gentle countryside alongside the loch it was evocative of a very different past when these islands were thronging with people and, allegedly, orchards.

Back on board now ready to watch more Battle Star Galactica. It's still light outside and half-past ten. Picking up Greg tomorrow so hopefully Stornoway will be more attractive than I recall.

Harvey

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