May 2014, Oban, Puilladobhrain, Ardinamir, Ardfern and Kilmartin
We were playing it safe this year and allowed a week to complete the jobs before launch. There were two major jobs, the first to feed the new log wiring though to the instrument panel, and the second to feed the new aerial cable down the length of the mast. It turned out the that man who fitted the new log also did the wiring, so that was one job done before we even arrived. The aerial cable only took a morning, so we had several short days with plenty of time to relax in the B&B. We were due to launch on Bank Holiday monday at 7:30 a.m. but unfortunately the boat hoist had a puncture and being a public holiday the boat yard could not get anyone out to fix it. So we had an unplanned extra night which we decided to spend on board as it would have been difficult to get a good B&B at short notice. It was certainly odd sleeping on the boat while it was propped up on wooden posts as there is usually some movement. The boat was outside by this time and in a sheltered spot beside the sheds so we were at the mercy of the midges and needed full head protection when venturing out to the shower block.
Our intention was to head straight to Puilladobhrain (pronounced Pulldoran, see also April 2008) but our ancient GPS started having "senior moments" and forgetting everything we had programmed in. We therefore decided to stop in Oban Marina where there was access to shops if needed. As hoped it turned out to only need a new backup battery, (an unusually cheap fix for a piece of marine equipment) so we could continue onto Puilladobhrain the next day. Whilst in Oban the Waverley (above) stopped at the North Pier. It must be doing tours around the area because we have seen it on three separate occasions over the past week.
Puilladobhrain anchorage is a half hour walk to a rare thing in Scotland - a pub that serves decent real ale on hand pump. This, along with the fact that the anchorage is only a few miles from Oban, makes it a very popular spot. Even at this relatively early time in the sailing season there were 8 other yachts on both nights we were anchored there. Next to the pub is Clachan bridge, called the "Bridge over the Atlantic" because the water flows in both directions underneath with the change of the tide.
The first week of our cruise has been blessed with sunny weather and very settled conditions. With so little wind our next stop was Ardinamir, a natural harbour, on the north end of Luing. Here our intention was to do some walking, but the weather turned and it rained for two days so we hit the Kindles (these e-readers greatly reduce the amount of paper we carry aboard!). The only other entertainment was watching an otter hunting in the bay. Unfortunately it stayed some distance away and was above the water for only a few seconds at a time making photography very difficult.
With still no wind we motored around to Ardfern marina where a proper shower was very welcome. With an industrial sized washing machine and drier the laundry was quickly done, enabling us to take advantage of some sunshine and catch the bus to Kilmartin for a short walk through the prehistoric site (see also More Pictures and June 2007). Next to the shop in Ardfern village is a clump of wild growing lupins. When we had a house in Oxfordshire, the slugs ate the lupins and we failed miserably to get them to grow. Typically, here they are like weeds.
Our plans are to try to go south towards Jura and Islay and preferably under sail as opposed to motor. However, the immediate weather forecast is not very accommodating so we'll have to see....