A 4.30 alarm is a decidedly unpleasant thing and it takes an enormous amount of will power to crawl out from under our warm duvets. But we are greeted by a lovely dawn and the thoughts that our crew are not too far away. Few words spoken so early, but almost like a well-oiled machine Heydays is soon making a fine bow wave out of Loch Gairloch and turning south once more for Kyle.
Rona and Raasay come in to meet us from the west and it begins to feel like we are in a rather hilly solent. With the islands providing shelter from both wind and waves we start to turn past the Crowlin Islands and make out the Skye Bridge. The wind veers a little and we shake out the sails for the first time since Cape Wrath. Out at sea we have more phone signal than on land and it turns out that Alan and his friend George in Malli are also closing in on Kyle having come round from Inverness via the canal. The bridge to Skye beckons and soon we are sailing under its sweeping arch and preparing Heydays for another landfall.
In the event they beat us in by about half an hour and we have several helping hands on the jetty ready with ropes…what could be easier. It is good to see Alan and George again and we have a chance to swap some stories before we set about making Heydays (and ourselves) a bit more fragrant.
We wander round to the railway jetty in time to meet the train from Inverness and Heydays becomes rather more gender balanced than before. The line from Inverness to Kyle is one of the most beautiful, certainly in this country and Chris from Canada thinks it is the best she has been on.
Kyle is trying to redefine itself now that it is no longer required as a ferry to Skye and the pontoons are now owned by the community instead of the council. Sadly the charges are a bit steep considering the facilities and there is no electricity on the pontoons and the showers are also the most expensive we have met so far. With some careful planning, two very close friends can just about shower including shampoo (but no time for conditioner) before the hot water runs out. We wish them well but they have some incredibly stiff competition from Plockton just round the corner in Loch Carron, which is where we sail with Alan and his family once we are all sorted. We have an exhilarating sail with them in the last of the bright May sun…
…back out under the bridge and touching the southern edge of the sound against a stunning backdrop of mountains and sea.
But as the evening draws on, it turns out that the pub and hotel are both fully booked for dinner, however there is a brilliant fish and chip van parked by the harbour. Not many vans we have come across that sell haddock breaded in panco or steaming mugs of Cullen skink or marinated salmon steaks or…..
We finish off in the pub listening to a jam session of traditional Scottish folk music, which is getting a very enthusiastic reception from the several American tourists who are in town.