Rum one of The Small Islands of the Inner Hebrides
Loch Scresort and Kinloch on Rum, one of the Small Islands
Of the Inner Hebrides
We headed for Canna across the Sea of Hebrides under genoa sail alone but when we arrived after six hours sailing and then motoring and full of hope and anticipation it was to find all the 10 mooring buoys taken. We tried to anchor in the centre a number of times but Zoonie’s hook would not penetrate the thick kelp. It was great to know there was healthy kelp growing there and I began to really dislike the idea that we were uprooting a small portion of it. Another yacht was having difficulty like us, and since then we have wondered if the few yachts at anchor had dropped the hook with a load of chain and just hoped the weight would hold them. That might work in light airs but was not our method.
With hearts heavier than the descending fog and rain we left for Loch Scresort on Rum, next island along, with the hope we’d have better luck there. As we left, I noticed on the rock face above the harbour quay at Canna, many yachts’ crews have painted the names of their vessels in various colours, and in bold white and distanced from the others was ‘Autumn of Arun ‘19’, the Hillyard within which I did many cruises, had visited just three years before. Not bad for a wooden double-ender built in the 1960’s.
Two hours later, after passing the busy salmon farm, we turned a wide curve into Loch Scresort, Kinloch House barely visible through driving rain and a 20-knot wind, but were rewarded with a choice of two buoys. Minutes later we were comfortable and scanning the surrounding slopes, gin and tonic in hand. I noticed a red deer stag in a field with horses quietly grazing and we would meet him again later.
On the first of the two days we decided to spend there, we took a walk around the shoreline through vibrant mossy woodland passing some interesting examples of crofters’ cottages with round corner walls, to the Otter Hide.
I came to Kinloch on the cruise I have mentioned before and as in Canna there were no visitor buoys back then. It is good for the environment and for the local economy that buoys protect the seabed from scouring anchor chains and yachts visit bringing money and jobs but the second advantage was barely being exploited by the local community. The bunkhouse and information centre were unmanned and we were to discover more closures and missed business opportunities. The new concrete slip used by the small ro-ro ferry and the floating pontoon that serves our dinghies and the fish farm workers was an occasionally busy area. From our hide we saw no otters but, instead, the arrival of half a prefabricated building that took up the whole ferry. Along toward the rough track centre of the village, builders were busy working in the grounds of what looked like an old school with high windows. We wondered if the fresh concrete base was for the new arrival, the other half of which duly arrived on the next ferry visit. One of the attractive old houses was occupied but another looked suddenly abandoned, hopefully only temporarily.
We joined some of the cruisers as they made their way towards the huge, deserted and decaying Kinloch House, but I will keep that story for the next blog.
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