We lock out of the Crinan canal just on 9am and turn south once more, waving goodbye to Ardrishaig.
After the calm and tranquility of the canal, it takes some time to get used to a boat that feels alive once more on the (almost) open sea. The decisions are always around the wind, which is only right and proper for a sailing boat. Forecasts at the moment are for SW winds veering SE later. Do we sail free and get as far as we can towards Troon and then hope that the SE winds pick us up and drive us on to Girvan (but knowing that in reality it will mean a likely beat into a F4/5)? In the end the decision emerges with the latest shipping forecast. It is suggesting that the winds for Monday will be going round to the west and then NW. Belfast is west from Girvan and this would make for an uncomfy crossing of the North Channel. We opt for stopping over in Campbeltown on the Mull of Kintyre which will give us a broad reach over to Belfast. So…the west side of Arran it is.
We begin by short tacking down the Kilbrannan Sound (between Arran and Kintyre), but after an hour of little progress we reluctantly turn to the Thorneycroft once more and punch into a short chop which is reminscent of the Solent.
Arran is (to us) surprisingly mountainous and craggy compared to Kintyre just a short hop across the water and the clouds across the peaks are endlessly fascinating…
The rain sets in but we are warm and dry under the sprayhood and the miles and lunch roll by, with the headland of the Mull of Kintyre coming into and out of view as squalls pass over.
The lighthouse on Island Davaar beckons us in to Campbeltown Loch and a Cal Mac ferry comes to meet us at the narrowest point of the channel…together with a fishing boat hurtling up behind us. Nothing in sight for hours and then…
The harbour master comes down to meet us on the pontoon and we even have time for a quick look around (and a beer or two and dinner) before the rain sets in again.