I had been watching the weather forecast last week hoping to manage a trip with Rambo but it was looking a bit windy out west (similar windstrengths were forecast to our last attempt). I initially suggested sailing from Helensburgh out towards Bute but Rambo was keen to try Gigha again and I was easily persuaded. Late on Friday morning we left Helensburgh to drive round to Kintyre. The journey seemed to take ages (not helped by being stopped at a Police/VOSA/HMRC checkpoint at the far side of the Rest and be Thankful) but was broken a little by receiving a phone call from Tom who had passed us going in the opposite direction having just spent time working on Gigha! I felt bad that Tom wasn't a part of our plan but it had all been arranged at the very last minute between Ramsay and I so we hadn't had chance to invite others.
We eventually arrived at Tayinloan ferry terminal where we were hoping to launch (last time we had launched from Point Sands campsite but it was a bit of a hassle so we decided to try another option). A quick recce showed that we could get the boats through a gate down onto the beach but we decided to try to use the ferry slipway while the ferry itself was away crossing the Sound of Gigha. We readied ourselves and the boats in the car park.
Eventually we got clear and set off across the Sound of Gigha as the ferry returned.
The sail across was largely uneventful, the wind was a nice strength and the water state a little bouncy but nothing to worry about. The only thing concerning me slightly was the fact that there is a rocky reef part way across and I wanted to stay well clear of this (easily achieved by staying north of the ferry's course across which was itself north of the reef). Soon I was sailing into Ardminish bay our destination for the evening.
I sailed in past the moored yachts to avoid the rocky skerray which protrudes from the middle of the bay then turned downwind towards the Boathouse where we intended camping for the night.
I landed on the lovely silver sand beach amidst the kid's sand castles and pulled Aylen up on her trolley then rushed out onto the rocks to snap some pictures of Rambo as he sailed in to join me.
This is my GPS track superimposed on a Google Earth image (distance sailed 6.36 miles).
After a quick chat with the folks at the Boathouse to okay our camping there we set up our tents as the sun broke through.
Although we had plenty of food with us we decided to eat in the Boathouse and enjoyed a pre dinner beer in the sunshine outside while our table was readied.
The food was superb and Phyl and Darrell (the new owners of the Boathouse) were excellent hosts.
Saturday morning was a little cloudy and murky. The forecast was for it to clear in the afternoon but the wind was due to be blowing F4 or F5 initially from the south but veering northwest later and the sea state to be moderate or rough. The wind strength was a cause for concern for me (since it had been similar strengths on our previous failed attempt) but the direction could well work for us.
We readied ourselves and were on the water just before eleven.
Rambo sailing past the rugged western side of Eilean Garbh
and the view into the other side and the southern "twin".
We passed a trawler sailing backwards and forwards with it's nets out (just visible in the far distance in the picture above) but other than that it was a lonely place and made me feel small and insignificant but it was satisfying seeing the landmarks of the west coast slip by us one by one.
As I tacked south towards Cnoc Loisgte I noticed that I was able to point higher and higher, could this be the wind veering to the northwest as we'd hoped? I shouted across to Rambo who'd noticed the same thing and we made the best of sailing the long tack parallel with the shoreline (instead of having to zig zag into a headwind). You can clearly see this transition on the GPS track posted later on.
My GPS track for day two is below, I sailed 17.59 miles.
The view back towards our camp as we set off up the hill.
Once we gained a little height we spotted some of the island's many feral goats grazing above the rocky western shore.
The wild flowers were much in evidence as well.
The view north towards Gigha,
west towards Islay and Jura
and south towards the Brownies Chair with Machrihanish and Kintyre behind.
As long as we were here we figured that we should scale the Chair itself.
The views from the top. North,
Sunday morning and the weather was good again, this was the view from my tent door when I woke just after eight.
Then it was an easy reach across towards the mainland.
This is my GPS track for the final day (mileage 6.28 miles)