2008 June Long Weekend

Forecast was for NW 5/6 reducing to F3 on Sunday and even less on Monday. Our plan was to get up to the head of Loch Goil (a branch off Loch Long) as we had not been there before. Checking charts and cruising guides didn’t really give us a clear understanding of the defence situation both in Loch Long (Coulport Naval site) and also the “experimental areas” within Loch Goil.

I convinced myself that there would be no real activity over the weekend by HM Forces and if there was we would not be long in getting stopped by machine gun totting Royal Marines – and this would be sure to get my attention!!

Sara and I set off with the wind F5 ish – (really must fix the wind speed indicator!) straight on the nose so it was on with the engine and we motorsailed up to Portencross where we managed to get a short sail through the Largs Channel when we once again had to fire up the engine……..never ceases to amaze me how the wind knows where we wish to go !!! Some of the Fife Yachts are assembling for their Regatta this coming weekend, should be an impressive sight when all these boats from across the globe assemble and sail past the town of Fairlie where they were originally built.

Conditions after the Cumbraes were a lot calmer and the further north we went the calmer it became and the more the sun shone – lovely jubbly. On the way past Coulport where the Trident Missiles are stored I had mixed feeling on the beauty of Loch Long and our need for these kinds of weapons…..I couldn’t help thinking of the words penned by a certain Robert Burns who stated ……”Man’s inhumanity to Man makes nations weep” ….why can’t we learn to live in peace and harmony with fellow humans, irrespective of our different nationalities, race, colour, creed? Almost stepped fully onto my soap box there – sorry 🙂

The entrance to Loch Goil was simply stunning as it gently opened up with high hills on each side and Carrick Castle visible and the leading lights extremely clear even on such a bright day.

Entrance to Loch Goil 1

It was really beautiful going down the Loch and there were a few stunning properties – this one in particular caught my eye!

Lovely Property

The new Anchorages Guide for 2008 produced for (boating) visitors to Scotland and an excellent example of joined up thinking, lists some nine moorings at the NE corner of Lochgoilhead – however the reality is there is only a trot of five, and we were lucky enough to use one for the night.


Next morning Sara fancied going up to the head of Loch Long to view Arrochar from the loch, (a place through which we have ridden through countless times on the motorbike) so we dropped the mooring and started heading out of Loch Goil in a perfectly still and beautiful morning as can been seen in the following photograph.

Reflection on Loch Goil

We then closed inshore to look at Carrick Castle which is listed as a ruin, but quite clearly someone is involved in a reconstruction program, and bringing this castle back to it’s former glory.

Carrick Castle

All along the banks of Loch Long there was quite a number of people fishing and diving, with some rather substantial “base camps” having been established on the side of the Loch & I was pleased to see so many people enjoying the great outdoors. When we reached Arrochar it was rather strange for us to view this town from the water, and the weather was so clear that we could see the top of “The Cobbler” one of the “Arrochar Alps” so named because the top of the mountain looks like a cobblers last.

The Cobbler

Having reached the head of the Loch at Arrochar, we then about turned and headed back down Loch Long, and I wanted to check out a fishing boat that appeared to have been lifted ashore – still don’t know how he managed to achieve this! I realise a crane must have been involved but it would have had to have travelled a fair old distance to reach this location and there would be a fair reach out into the Loch to lift her out!!

How did he do that

From here we meandered back down Loch Long and then went up the Holy Loch to see the changes being made at Holy Loch Marina, and since I last visited they have been pretty busy, with the new extention to the marina well underway.

We then decided we would head down the Clyde and spend the night in Kilchattan Bay (Isle of Bute) where the St Blane’s Hotel have a trot of six moorings for visiting yachts, and there is also a small jetty for dingies located beside the flags of different nations – difficult to see the jetty from the moorings – but it is to the right of the hotel. There is also a nice long crescent shaped sandy beach for stretching of legs, building sand castles having picnics etc – nice spot.

St Blanes Hotel Kilchattan Bay

There was lovely yacht on the mooring next to us, and the owners informed us she was a 1985 Taiwan built CL32, I’ve never heard of this make/model before but she was stunning.

Lovely Yacht

We had a lovely relaxing night here and set off early the next morning. On the way down we had a “rare sighting” we could see Arran as clear as a bell, and that’s quite unusual because the old saying goes “if you can’t see Arran it’s raining – and if you can see Arran then it’s about to rain”. However this morning it was lovely and stayed that way all day. Marcus will appreciate this shot of Arran on a good day, as the last time he saw Arran it was a bit less than clear and calm (sic)!!

Arran on a clear day

On the entrance to Troon (from where the Irish Ferry operates) there is a quick flashing light on the west pier that flashes when the ferry is either arriving or departing, and Sara and I had just been discussing this and checking with the binoculars. To get into the harbour one needs to cut across the bows of the Ferry therefore a wee bit of care is required when the ferry is in port. Neither of us could see the flashing light so Sara started heading for the harbour entrance, when suddenly we both realised that the ferry was actually beginning to move !!! expletives deleted! Sara went hard to port to circle away from the Ferry……….either they didn’t see us or they were fully committed to their exit, but whilst it wasn’t a “taking the paint off each other close” it was close enough for me………….neither harbourmaster nor ferry tried us on the VHF mmmmmmmm!!!

Ferry exiting Troon

No real periods of sailing, but a lovely weekend non the less with us feeling a bit like tourists on a whistle stop tour – but it was good for the soul. Bring on the holidays