Wednesday 31 May,,,Oban to Crinan


The scenery is astounding as we leave Oban and work our way between so many islands, isolated communities and rocks.

We tick the islands off one by one….Kerrera, Mull, Luing as we hurtle down the Firth of Lorne.  We get abeam of the Gulf of Corryvreckan and the sea starts to boil and bubble. The patterns are amazing and the pictures don’t really do it justice.

Steering a straight line becomes a challenge and the log tops out at 11.2kts over the ground. Jura is off the starboard bow and we consider diverting for some whisky but Crinan beckons, with its short cut canal to Loch Fyne and points south. While we hang around outside for permission to enter, another grand old motor yacht sails by…

There is no shortage of advice on how to tackle the canal, but we are well prepared and the incredibly helpful young women make entering through the high and somewhat daunting sealock a doddle.

On their advice we decide to stay just above lock 14 (of 15). This gives us easy access to the facilities at Crinan and also allows us to make an early start in the morning once bridges and locks open at 8.30.

Not that we are obsessed, but the café has great wifi (in an otherwise connectivity desolate spot) and even better ice-cream and beer. There is little better than whiling away the last of the afternoon sun…there is even a very well stocked chandlery nearby. Dinner in the Crinan Hotel includes linen napkins (dining above our station clearly).

Two too many old men in Oban…

Tuesday morning…the early view from our boat

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Tuesday morning a bit later


Apologies for that…

The ‘booked’ water taxi is too full and they operate a first on last off principle, despite the fact we have all booked. Some folk are requested to leave, but at least the skipper hasn’t been to the United Airlines school of customer service. He promises to be back in half an hour or so. Oban is resolutely wet, but we have a nice (but very slow) coffee in the Palace Hotel…artisan coffee but took them a while to find the artisan. James’ cousins join us and it is good to catch up on booze, boats and the blues…oh, and some family stuff. The waterfront seafood shack next to the station does a great lunch and then all too soon we have to say goodbye.

It is always sad to see people leave and we are waving in all directions to cousins, friends and wife as they make their way back down country…and a warmer midge-free life.

Back on Heydays John and James are starting to feel well disposed to the new owners of the marina who are having to catch up on lots of overdue maintenance. We almost feel that the top dollar price is OK, until one of the co-owners starts to tell us of his ocean racing exploits and his custom-built mono-foil yacht capable of doing over 30kts. That, together with no fresh water at all and we begin to question priorities and what exactly are our marina dues paying for.

The arrival of the grand old paddle wheeler Waverly lifts us…


…but mostly Heydays is a slightly grumpy boat that evening …probably too many old men!