We did not go very far in the last couple of weeks, the shipping forecast had frequent "Gale 8" combined with "rough", "very rough" and occasionally "high" seas for all the sea-areas around north west Scotland. So we did not venture out from the shelter of the islands so avoiding the seasick-making waves! Instead we planned to do lots of walking around Morvern, but again the weather intervened with low cloud and drizzle. We even got a dose of the midges. Midges do not usually bother yachts because an anchored yacht always points into the wind and any midges get blown right passed. Even on a relatively still day they don't seem to venture across the water to get you. But we found a beautifully sheltered anchorage at the northern end of the Sound of Mull near the small island of Oronsay. It was very pretty, with mature Oak forest right down to the shore line and we could tuck ourselves right out of the wind, tide and waves. But it was too sheltered, and the midges swarmed around the cockpit forcing us to shut all the hatches when on board.
When we did get out, we often got wet and the views were hidden in the cloud, but we still had a fun time looking for toadstools (left).
There were a few fine days when we managed some sailing. Our last trip of the season from Oban to MRC (Marine Resource Centre) at Barcaldine on Loch Creran was one such day, the wind was still strong, but the sun was out making it a nice farewell from our summer cruise. We were doubly glad because it meant we could get all the sails down when they were dry, and into their sail bags ready for winter storage.
Our haul out was booked for Friday 21st at high water which was the middle of the afternoon. We rowed ashore from the visitors moorings and caught the bus to Oban to collect our hire car (Avis, booked as a one way to Bristol). When we returned at 11am Innisfree was gone! They had moved the haul out as early as possible, (which was at about 10:30 on the neap tide that day), in order to get another boat of greater draft lifted in at high water later on in the day.
They were rather short staffed because of having to man a booth at the Southampton Boat Show, but the chap and his mate had it all under control. All we could do was watch and photograph as they first pressure washed the hull, then detached the standing rigging and craned off the mast, before reversing her into one the sheds, her home for the winter.
It took until 3pm for Innisfree to be secured on her stand, and then a further 1½ hours for us to complete our packing and load up the car. Then it was 9 hours driving to get home, and we were in bed by 1:30am.