The Whisky Trail
A flavoursome name for a fabulous Leg 3 AB21 adventure as Kasara and her intrepid crew head north on the final part of her “delivery to the Scottish Isles”
Kasara has been really lucky to be joined by Tim & Karen, great cycling and sailing buddies from Hamble, who with the much awaited repatriation of Jan have made up the Celtic Team.
4 countries in 10 days has bought us to Oban via some of the most idyllic sailing locations imaginable & all on our national doorstep.
Just to demonstrate AB21 is not just a one trick pony - Leg 3 kicked off in Conwy with a misty yomp up Snowden! A relay - in that Paul (Leg 2) combined with Tim (Leg 3) to reach the summit and hand over the batten of AB21. (Thanks for being chauffeur Karen!)
Kasara then headed North from Wales into a headwind, the same headwind which was to accompany us for most of our continuing journey to Scotland.
Our destination on that Ist night - Derby Haven, a small sheltered bay on the SW tip of the Isle of Man. Unable to go ashore due to COVID restrictions, we pressed on to Northern Ireland and enjoyed great landfalls in Ardglass, Bangor, Glenarm & Ballycastle. Then to Scotland, first lovely Port Ellen on Islay, then beautiful Craighouse on Jura, delightful Tayvallich, Croabh Haven & finally Oban.
Despite headwind moans we have enjoyed superb weather throughout once again - sometimes a little chilly, but generally bright, often sunny, with little rain (apart from Bangor) and winds no more than F5, mainly much lighter.
Now it’s fair to say that Kasara is a cruising boat. The sails sometimes make a-bit of difference to her performance, but laden to the gunnels as she is with toys and gear and food and…..bottles, the impact of sails come in to their own somewhere north of a F5 so consequently we have enjoyed many hours of motor sailing - a delightful pastime especially when one has wind “on the nose”.
Despite this our tech guru Tim has not given up trying to make her fly with significant advice on sail trim. Furthermore Karen as our ace cruising chute trimmer - yes we did hoist it at least once - has at times added 0.1 knots to our boat speed.
In addition our phones are now full up of helpful new apps and we finally have a clue as to the many features available on our raymarine plotter. Consequently we are feeling more “in control of our destiny” and very superiorly tech savvy.
It’s been a bit of character building voyage in many ways. Karen, being of Irish heritage, has been keen to sample Guiness & then of course Irish whisky and it’s Scottish equivalents in Islay & Jura have had their part to play.
In Oban I have declared a “water only week” - we’re not sure how long this will last but am now on to day 2 and not shaking too much!
And so to some facts:
Cruising chute up from Ardglass to Bangor & rounding Fair Head into Ballycastle - stunning coastline. A good F5 Reach for about an hour en route from Jura to Tayvallich.
Difficult one - all lovely and full of surprises. 2nd place Craighouse bay on Jura under the “Paps”, 1st 🥇 place is gorgeous Tayvallich at the top of Loch Sween (our first proper loch!). This is an idyllic protected cove with shop & pub. We were invited by Philip & Ann (friends of the Praines) for drinks in their delightful waterfront home - great evening - Philip had the TV on in the background so we were able to witness the end of England beating Germany 2-0 - come on England 🏴.
Best Eat Out:
Ok so we seem to be eating aboard 50% of the time and eating out the rest of the time. There is something about anchoring off and eating aboard - but there are also some unmissable eat outs. This
Leg’s undeniable winner was my birthday celebration at The Londonderry Arms at Carnlough in Co. Antrim. I had last been there about 48 years ago when my Dad had business in adjacent Larne - aged 14 at the time I was offered my 1st ever taste of Guinness - something you always remember. Billy “the fish” from Glenarm Marina dropped us off on his way home and luxury ”surf & turf” later we were driven thankfully back to Kasara by the hotel manageress who knew of many of the folk my dad had worked with all that time ago.
Jan’s arrival on board in mizzly Bangor - she is always reliable when it comes to infusing culture.
Our visit to the Giants Causeway near Ballycastle (and Bushmills distillery).
The walled gardens at Glenarm which turned out to be a most surprisingly lovely place.
Upping the anti on Monopoly Deals - if you haven’t played this card game - get a pack from Tesco (£4.95) - it produces the most competitive & hilarious 😆 evenings.
It turned out to be a pretty good leg for Wildlife spotting. A solitary Puffin on the route north from Conwy, Dolphins alongside Kasara between IOM & Ardglass, a seal colony awaiting our arrival in Ardglass, Sea Eagle sighted in Jura and again in Loch Sween where we also dallied around a colony of seals and seal pups. But the biscuit goes to the “carpet“ of jelly fish around the boat in Tayvallich - even the locals had seen nothing like it - there was no way I was going to get Karen onto a kayak after this - take a look at the video clip.
”The Old Commercial” in Ardglass
Bushmills & 12 year old Jura beating Laphraig, Lagavullin, Bowmore & (TCP smelling) Ardbeg from Islay.
Best eat aboard: Karen’s Fish Pie & Crumble in Conwy after our Snowden assent. Top nosh: “Skippers Surprise” and warmed Fruite-a-la-Rum always get the 👍
In summary what a fabulous leg! Once again the crew have stepped up to the mark, the weather has continued to be kind and Kasara has delivered. Thanks so much Tim & Karen for mucking in, for making it so memorable and so much fun.
Now in Oban with Jan, we shall be cruising the Isles for the next few weeks welcoming aboard many other intrepid crew members.
Next week is “Mull” week, Tobermory, Ulva, Staffa, Fingles cave, Iona & more - can hardly wait to welcome Sandy aboard & head off into the wide blue yonder in search of adventure.
Kasara - Out