This year Oban is our stepping stone on the trip North from Plymouth to Norway. The last time I was here was 18 years ago, and although I remember this part of Scotland as being really pretty, my memory doesn’t quite do it justice. The scenery is just fantastic and I can’t help thinking that we should spend more time here in future years!
We chose as our base Dunstaffnage Marina, nestled in a small bay outside the tiny village of Dunbeg it is a mere 3 miles north of Oban. The view from the saloon window is stunning, across the bay to Dunstaffnage Castle, and the view from the castle is just as stunning across the bay to the marina.
Our trip from Plymouth northwards last week started in fog, which was to last up all the way up the Irish Sea to Bangor, Northern Ireland. We must have settled ourselves under the centre of the low pressure, and moved with it all the way north. We became very adept at spotting things on the radar! We were lucky to be joined by 3 different types of dolphins and a few pilot whales as we motored along.
Once the fog had cleared, and given way to easterly winds, we enjoyed a fantastic sail north, past the Mull of Kintyre at dusk doing 12 knots over the ground and up through the sound of Gigha, Sound of Jura and Sound of Luing. We covered 140 breath taking miles in just 19 hours, and having benefitted from the flood tide at the Mull of Kintyre, caught the next flood tide through the Sound of Luing. Reaching at 8 knots in the dark between the islands, especially those which are unlit kept Richard and I on our toes with the navigation. It was slack water as we approached Corryvreckan, and although I have to admit to being slightly tempted we decided not to try the passage through. The passage through the narrows at the Sound of Luing was challenging enough as we dodged shallow patches at 10 knots. The sun was just rising, making fantastic photo opportunities for all.
After 3 days in Dunstaffnage, we are now full of water, food, fuel and gas and ready for our passage northwards first to the Faroes and then the Lofoten Islands. The weather looks favourable for the first week which will see us well on the way. There are now only 7 places left for our summer season in the Lofoten Islands so book soon to avoid disappointment!