Kyleakein to the Cullins and our return to Tobermory via Muck

Sailing under the bridge from Kyle of Lochalsh to Kyleakin must always be spectacular. We passed by the Crowlin Isles and anchored in the north inlet, had lunch and then a quick swim. Quick because the water was so cold. The local cormorants (or shags) looked on in amusement while they hung out their wings to dry.

img_1853Passing under the bridge linking Skye with the mainland

img_1845A “Quick” swim off our Crowlins anchorage

We re-anchored that evening in a quiet inlet just north of the Crowlins and just south of Applecross Bay where Joanna had camped. We were surrounded by a seal colony. I think what surprised us most was how noisy and restless they were. They burred, coughed, spluttered snorted very loudly to clear their nostrils after surfacing. They clearly like the sun and would clumsily hoist themselves up unto seaweed clad rocks to bask in the sun letting their whole bodies curl up like a parabolic reflector to send the rays back to where they had come from. When they got too hot – they would noisily splash back into the sea. They kept their distance from the boat. Occasionally a curious head would rise nearby to check us out. We ate on deck with the setting sun and the spurious noises of our new found friends.

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Our new found friends and noisy neighbours

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Our peaceful dawn before we heard the news about Brexit

We were were now out of internet and phone contact and we went to sleep that evening feeling optimistic that the vote that day would not be for Brexit. Next morning, still anxious about the Brexit vote, we suddenly remembered that we had a radio on board. Ros was waking up as Ian began to tune into Radio 1, the only station he could get. Ros will never forget the rude awakening, pop music blaring loudly followed by a rather jokey Radio 1 DJ announcing that the country had voted to leave the EU. Disbelief and depression followed and we remained glued to the radio, listening to David Cameron’s resignation as PM later that morning. We set sail for Tobermory leaving the seals behind but no longer feeling the joy that we had experienced the evening before. Later that day when we were in telephone reception again we had long conversations with Joanna and Andrew about Brexit. And when we finally reached Edinburgh on Saturday, Hugh and Skye were also keen to discuss Brexit. By then Skye was doing an excellent take-off of Nicola Sturgeon saying (about Scottish independence) “We will put it on the table….it is on the table”. Hugh was full of gloom about Scotland breaking away from England. And Percy as usual had his head in a book.

img_1875Sunset fro our anchorage in Muck harbour

But before travelling to Edinburgh we had two more nights on Milo. The first was on the island of Muck, probably symbolic of the muck up that Cameron had made of the referendum – he should have never allowed anything other than at least 60:40 to lead to an exit. Muck is a pleasantly peaceful island owned by the MacEwen family. Jenny MacEwen, who we met briefly, owns a craft shop near the harbour and a café where we had a start-the-day coffee. We walked up to the top of the island, not very far, where there were impressive views across to the islands of Eigg anf Rhum. On the way back we passed through the ruins of an abandoned village – A’chille – apparently there had been as many as 300 people living on the island before the clearances in 1826 and now there were only 40.

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Milo on the pontoon in Muck harbour

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View across to the Isles of Rhum and Eigg from Muck

The next day we set sail for Tobermory. We were tossed about quite a bit by the rollers but had a good sail passed Ardnamurchan arriving in Tobermory with wind gusting force 5. Here we met our Dutch friends again from Kyleakin and joined them for a drink on their boat – they tried to cheer us up about Brexit but it was an uphill struggle. The next day I sailed Milo single handed to Lochaline while Ros took all our luggage round by car across the Fishnish/Lochaline ferry. Lochaline marina staff, Fiona and Chris were very friendly and it felt safe leaving Milo in their care – soon we were on our way to Edinburgh through more stunning scenery but from a different perspective.

Meeting our Dutch friends again in Tobermory

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