Tobermory via Ardfern and Loch Spelve

Crinan in the early morning was spectacular in the sunshine, with perfect reflections as the sea lock gates opened. But the sacrifice for this perfection was no wind and motoring to Ardfern – the sails were not even raised.

Perfect reflections looking toward the sea lock from Crinan Basin IMG_0883

Leaving the sea lock at Crinan with Jenny above operating the lock remotelyIMG_0895

Jenny, who operated the lock gates, waved us off and we were in Ardfern within two hours and helped into our berth by a friendly harbourmaster. Arfern is a very large marina run by the Ardfern Yacht Club and boasts one of the best chandlers in Scotland.

 Map of walk from Ardfern across the peninsula of Kintyre toward Craqbh HavenIMG_0913 (1)

Arriving early we decided to walk across the peninsular. It was a beautiful and peaceful walk with lovely view across the outer islands from the top of the hill.

Looking south down Loch Craignish that we’d sailed up earlierIMG_0903

Looking southwest toward the islands of Scarab, Jura and IslayIMG_0908But we did not walk all the way to Craqbh as we’d booked dinner at The Galley Lorne in Ardfern, a restaurant with a beautiful view down Loch Craignish. We both ordered battered fish and chips and when the owner asked Ros how the meal was – she chickened out from saying “terrible” – both the fish and chips were undercooked and soggy – a disappointment. I went to the local shop early the next morning to buy some venison sausages for the next night’s meal in Loch Spelve.

Our route through the Straits of Luing trying to avoid being pulled into the Corryreckon between Jura and Scarba and then meeting serious overfalls off CullipoolIMG_0923 (1)

Although we started our Voyage to Loch Spelve at the right time to round Dorus Moor at slack water, the weather worsened during the day and by the time we’d negotiated whirlpools, and vicious overfalls just after passing through the sound of Luing and had anchored in Loch Spelve we were exhausted. As we anchored we could see other sailors braving the winds, rain and choppy seas to go ashore for free wine and mussels (courtesy of the local mussel farm). But we were cold so put the heating on and settled for venison sausages on the boat.

Venison sausages and lentils


The weather situation at 9pm anchored in Loch Spelve with high winds and rain causing our anchor to drag and the necessity to employ a kedge anchor as a backupIMG_0928 (1)

The storm had passed by dawn, the skies had cleared and by the time we raised anchor there was no wind and Loch Spelve was a peaceful anchorage.

The few remaining yachts in the Loch Spelve anchorage by the time we left for TobermoryIMG_0940

We sailed up the Sound of Mull, passed Duart Castle that Ros had visited with Joanna, Dan and Vyvyan in 2013, and on with the tide behind us to Tobermory. – a welcome arrival and the beginning for us of a few days off to catch up on washing, do jobs on the boat, explore the town, visit the distillery and hire a car to visit Iona.

Entrance to the harbour at TobermoryIMG_0949


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