Tobermory to the Isle of Canna

As the winds were freshening during the day and the tides were in the right direction early in the morning to get us round the Cape of Ardnamurchan, we left with the sunrise and were soon sailing north with easterly winds.

Sunrise at TobermoryIMG_1052

We had a flexible plan which, depending on wind strength and direction could see us ending up on Eigg, Rhum or Canna. In the end the winds favoured Canna and after an energetic 3 hours on a quite rough broad reach we were approaching the Sound of Canna and rounding the NW corner of Rhum.

Ros looking worried on a broad reach on the western side of Rhum where the high mountains made the easterly wind direction a bit unpredictable!IMG_1058

As we started the motor about 5nm out to head through the straights against the wind we suddenly lost all power and all our navigation aids. By this time the winds were so fresh that we had to focus on sailing – so we came into Canna Harbour the old fashioned way using charts and landmarks. Fortunately the visibility was clear, as when approaching the harbour we noticed we were heading for some semi-submerged rocks marked by a red buoy on their right. We changed course to round the buoy on the correct side and enter the safe anchorage of Canna Harbour. There are now 10 mooring buoys in Canna Harbour and we chose the most northerly one to give us protection from the rising northeasterly winds.

Milo on the most northerly Canna mooringIMG_1068

Posting Becky’s birthday card proved difficult. There was no post box evident so I tried to hand it to one of the deckhands on the departing ferry to be told “leave it in the cab, I’ll deal with it when I get back”. Behind me there was a big van being unloaded into a warehouse and a man there confirmed I could leave it on the front seat on top of two mailbags intended to go to the mainland with the van on the ferry later. I enquired about paying my landing fee and was told I had to go to the community shop across the bay where there was an honesty box to put it in. Apparently the whole island is now owned by the National Trust. There are only 19 inhabitants and in addition a few archeological volunteers who were spending a week on the island helping to explore the 1200 ancient Celtic sites. Also, next to the Community Store, which incidentally was unmanned – you helped yourselves to stuff and pop the money into another honesty box, I discovered Canna Café, with WiFi, that provided a menu for the evening.

Cafe Canna in the distance with the Community Shop on its rightIMG_1070

Rosamund had been planning to cook that night. “I have no communication on the boat – our phones don’t work” said I. “Don’t worry” said, Anna call us on the radio – Channel 8”. Later I learned we were the first radio booking they’d had this year. Eating there later we had excellent advice from a local fisherman on where to sail over the next few day and, perhaps more importantly, where not to sail, which included advice on where to leave our boat after this stint of sailing.

Promise of a fantastic beach in the distance – to visit another timeIMG_1079

Rosamund and I had a lovely walk around the harbour part of the island – while I went to discover a nearby sandy beach Ros spoke to some of the locals – two of the archeologists and a woman who lived on the island with her husband and four children. Two of her children went to the school on the island and her older son was a weekly boarder at a secondary school in Mallaig. Ros learned that there are only three children at the local school, and thought that this would be a wonderful place for children to grow up. We will definitely return to stay in the hotel on the island and to eat again at the café where Ros ate the best fish so far on this voyage.


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