Not quite goodbye to Scotland…

Friday is a chance to dry out in the sun and to see the canal (at least our bit near Ardrishaig) in its summer glory.

…and we’re back to the pebble-dash!

Early in the morning Vic 32 gets up steam and is soon under way. She is one of the last of the Clyde Puffers still under steam and makes barely a noise as she noses into the lock, with just enough for a cigarette paper between the sides. There is a whole load of technical stuff on-line to do with condensing boilers and the lack of a puffing sound, but these boats were built in large numbers as victualling vessels for the navy . Vic32 was built in 1943 and is mostly used for holidays now, with a reputed 2 resident chefs on board.

Ardrishaig is trying to get to grips with a new leisure-canal based life with little commercial traffic, but we ate at two places both of which we would highly recommend, but neither of which came up on a simple Google search…just sayin’, but we wish them well and good luck.

The canal is quiet as the evening draws on (except for the midges) but there is a poetic moon in the rigging…not quite Sea Fever by John Masefield but it’s the best we can do.

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We are planning a few more weeks ahead now and it is sad to realise that we have just one or two nights left in Scotland. One way or another Heydays has been in Scotland since last Autumn and this part of our journey round the UK has been memorable in so many ways. Top of the list without any shadow of doubt have been the people we have met. From the harbour-masters willing to spend the time to talk and share local knowledge, to new friends who have made this so special. Anne and Brian from Peterhead have been amazing and not only gave us great tips on where to go, but kept an eye on Heydays during the winter storms when we were tucked up down south. Alan and a reluctant Ian who sailed with us across the Pentland Firth and who lent cars and a host of other sailors from Tony and Ingula who just loved the chilly and stormy northern waters, to Tommy and Barbro from Sweden who seem to know more about our country than we do. The Solent and English Channel are our home waters, but they are also more crowded in a yachty kind of way and people seem to have less time to spend just chatting. The peaceful anchorages and even marinas up here, are a world away from the slightly irritated folk who can be found too frequently on the inside boat of a raft of 6 in Yarmouth IoW on a bank holiday Monday. Not to mention the constant thrum of powerful motors in the endless procession of Sunseekers racing off to Cowes for Sunday lunch.

So…our plans for the next few months, in case friends or family want to catch up with us, join for a few days, or are just vaguely interested….

All being well with wind etc. we plan to sail to Girvan (just above Stranraer) tomorrow and then over to Belfast where we need to leave Heydays for a couple of weeks to attend to stuff at home. The broad itinerary then is to return around 19 June and sail over to the Isle of Man then on to Liverpool with a day or so to look around each (and see John’s daughter and family). Then to Dublin via Anglesey and following a mooch down the Irish east coast over to Milford Haven for early July. Other commitments mean that we’ll then try for the Scillies early September, before a meander along the south west coast to home by the end of October. That’s the plan but…we’ll keep you all posted.

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