So much has happened since we were last on Milo. We have spent two fantastic weeks at Eastcotte in Branscombe with all the grandchildren – finished and even slept in the treehouse. Ros fully retired at the end of July and experienced the delights of the Edinburgh Festival with Hugh, Percy and Skye while Ian commuted to Brunel from Edinburgh to complete his final month at Brunel before retiring himself.
Andrew kindly drove us to Oban on a windy blustery day. The Marina river taxi dropped us off at Milo on her mooring and we found her warm, dry and welcoming as the evening sun came out for us.
Leaving The Isle of Kerrera, Oban
On this trip we had decided to head south to explore Jura, Islay and the west coast of the Mull of Kintyre. The next day we had a lazy start. Ian worked out the tides too late to take advantage of them, but there was no wind so we slowly motored south while checking the tides through the Corryvreckan and the Dorus Mor. Pure luck had us arriving at Dorus Mor as the tide changed, directly pushing us through at a real pace amid the swirling waters.
Passing the Corryvreckan with Jura in the distance
We picked up a mooring outside the entrance to the Crinan canal and had a lovely meal on deck serenaded by the setting sun – warm, sunny and no wind – an unusual combination in Scotland – we felt privileged.
Sunset over Crinan with the sun looking remarkably like Saturn!
Next day we left early and with the wind in the SE were determined to sail all the way to Jura. We started well and were soon able to turn the engine off and sail on a port reach between 6-7 knots with the tide, but after an hour the winds started to die to almost nothing – we managed 4 nautical miles in the next hour and a half. Our water speed was hardly a knot, the tide must have accounted for the rest, but it was peaceful and the water was calm, so we were able to both see and hear all the wildlife around us. We observed colonies of Razorbills, Kittiwakes and Guillemots.
Route from Oban to Craighouse and Kittiwakes by Milo when wind dropped
This peace was disrupted when the Chart Recorder started to cut out, with the message that the battery was low. We started the motor to charge the batteries and were OK for a while, but as we were running out of tide time we motor sailed the last few nautical miles before picking up a mooring in Craighouse. We took the dinghy ashore to the Jura hotel where we had a coffee in the bar and sat in the window with a view over the bay, charging our computers. There was a distinctive painting in the bar of a mermaid on a barstool sipping a whiskey. In the painting none of the beer drinkers or musicians were taking any notice of her.
The mermaid at the bar in the Jura Hotel with Scots drinkers taking no notice.
Ian then went for a shower in the block adjacent to the hotel. Someone was already in one of the showers, but their kit was everywhere outside and the dryer in the same room was whirring away. Ian was just getting organised for his shower when “excuse me, can you open the door of the dryer when it is still going and then start it again?”. He opened his shower and there in the doorway of her shower was a mermaid – or so he first thought without his glasses on – a long wavey haired lass clutching some clothes to hide her modesty, explaining that her towel was in the dryer. “Have mine”, he said gallantly, but she preferred her own, so he opened the door of the dryer and was directed to an orange wrap. Problem solved. After his shower he discovered that the Mermaid was Eleanor, a cyclist, not a sailor, who with Harrison her boyfriend had cycled from Glasgow and this was her first shower for a week – “wonderful” she said. Later we met them in the bar and discovered that they were medics having a short career break. Both had studied and met in Southampton, Eleanor was interested in becoming a paediatrician and Harrison an anaesthetist. They talked about their cycling experiences across Europe, they really love cycling. They told us about the new cycle path linking three distilleries north of Port Ellen on Islay, the beautiful sandy beaches there and the bird sanctuary peninsular in the Southern part of the Island.
Eleanor, Harrison and Ros in deep conversation about education in the Jura Hotel
Ian had to wait quite a while to buy his round – there was a group of sailors ahead of him. “Where have you sailed from” he asked. “Russia” they replied, “err.. not all the way of course – we flew some of the way. It turned out there was a very large group of them who had charted 5 yachts from Largs. They were all part of some sailing association and raised red runners up their forestays. They were a lively crew.
We returned to Milo for dinner, a scrumptious dish of sausages and cannellini beans. Early, while in the pub, Ian had popped across to the Port Ellen Distilery shop and bought a bottle of Jura Superstition Malt whiskey that went down extremely well after the meal.
Ian enjoying his Jura Superstition aboard Milo after a sumptuous meal by Ros