5x12 pentomino tiling

Tales from the Sea and the Hills - 1


As some readers may know we've been away on holiday for the last couple of weeks. It was an interesting time for a variety of reasons so I'm going to write it up here. In parts.

Part one of the holiday for me was a short week's cruise with Longbow Cruising. This is the boat I sailed around Mull on in 20071 and that's what set all this off as when I said I was thinking of doing that Beth said she would drive up to Scotland later, do some walking and then pick me up and then it all snowballed from there. But more about that later.

So the plan was to sail from Rhu on the Clyde to Ardfern south of Oban around the Mull of Kintyre. The intention was to pop over to Northern Ireland on the way. I was the only paying guest so there was the skipper, his wife and me in a 57' cutter rig ketch.

What actually happened was that the weather was so poor that we didn't leave the marina on Monday. The forecast for Tuesday was still bad but we decided to try for an early start hoping to sneak around the Mull.

We woke up just after 5am and left Rhu at 6am, sailed 60 nautical miles around the Kyles of Bute and then headed south with Arran to one side of us and the Mull on the other. Quite a lot of this was under motor as the wind was blowing in our face and we really didn't have time to tack our way down if we were going to make the end of the Mull to catch the tide.

It didn't stop raining throughout and once it got up the wind was blowing a force 5-6 occasionally gusting to gale 8.

View Sailing on the Clyde in a larger map

By the time we got to Campbeltown it was obvious we wouldn't make it around the end of the Mull so we dived into the shelter of Campbeltown harbour only to discover when we took the main down that it had a five foot tear in it.


So on Wednesday after some discussion and having looked at the forecast, which was getting marginally worse if anything, we headed back to Rhu, which was where the skipper's tame sailmaker was based, sailing on various combinations of the genoa and jib. It still hadn't stopped raining and visibility was a lot worse but at least we had the wind with us this time.

At times we couldn't see either Arran or the Mull and we had pretty big seas as it blew up to an eight again although at least this time we were running so the waves were coming up behind us.

We got lucky at Rhu as the wind dropped for long enough for us to get into the marina.

There's more to this tale, but it's all to do with the excitement we had in the marina over the next two days but that's the summary of my sailing: rather than five leisurely days around the Ardfern I had two full on days to Campbeltown and back. 120 nautical miles in the worst weather in which I've ever sailed.

It was great.

  1. Pics of that trip online here.

Tags: sailing Written 18/05/09

Comment on this article

« »
I am currently reading:

A History of Women in 101 Objects by Annabelle Hirsch Game On by Janet Evanovich

Word of the Day: