West Coast Adventures Part 8

Day 13 Portavadie to Rothesay

After two nights in Portavadie we felt human enough after our adventures to begin returning home. We were starting to run low on food… and even with our usual mealtime inventiveness, we were struggling to create a snack from carrots, sweetcorn, chorizo and Parmesan! After a quick look in the shop, and refuelling, we headed off, thinking that the weather was improving.

We got the sails up and had an enjoyable sail back to Ardlamont.  Rosanne only had to sing the first line of her porpoise song, when three jumped out all at once very close by!

By the time we entered the Kyles the weather was worsening, and the rain was driving hard. ¬†We had planned on stopping in Tighnabruaich for the night, but after going round what felt like all of the moorings in the field looking for a visitors one, and finally finding one with an impossibly long pick up buoy bridle, that simply wasn’t going to be safe, we abandoned that plan and continued on. We stopped off in Caladh harbour to try Monty the Mantus out again, and allow ourselves to dry out for an hour or so. Rosanne was pretty much soaked through and shivering, so once they set off again Chris let her stay below and keep warm with her book. It’s the first time ever she hasn’t been out on deck during a passage!

We decide to head to our trusted favourite – Rothesay harbour to spend our last night. We ventured out to Sea Dragon, the local Chinese Restaurant for dinner, but it was such a rainy night we didn’t want to go wandering too far.

Day 14 Rothesay to Gareloch

The weather finally lifted next morning and Rosanne awoke to brilliant blue sky. She grabbed her camera, left Chris sleeping and dashed off to get some pictures. On her way back she stopped off for some croissants to take back for breakfast. By this point Chris was up and about doing some teak cleaning… one of his favourite jobs! We ate breakfast on deck, and then somehow Chris noticed some fishing line hanging down in the water from our prop…. doh!

We really needed to get it off before it caused any serious damage, so it was into his wet suit one last time, to go down and cut the prop free. Once again this raised a bit of curiosity amongst the other harbour visitors!

Before we headed off, we went for an icecream at Zavaronis, and then took a walk to the east of Rothesay, where we’d never been. It was almost tropical weather… which made it extremely hard to leave! As we were walking back we noticed there were a number of boats heading towards the harbour, and Chris’s pace quickened as he became concerned about Ragdoll’s safety.

As we arrived back at Ragdoll we were “spotted” by the guys onboard Lady J. They’d been following our journey via our posts on Sailing and Cruising Scotland. We also had a very pleasant chat with the skipper of Largo Bay. Unfortunately, we had put it off as long as we could, and finally had to leave.

We had a beautiful sail back up the Clyde, taking it slowly, but thoroughly enjoying it. It was so warm we were in t shirts and shorts, and Chris likened it to some of his days spent sailing in Greece! We had some more close encounters with porpoises which made Rosanne’s day!

We finally made it back to Gareloch around 7pm. We planned on trying to sail right to our mooring, but we met some rather strong tide, and whilst trying to tack, we ended up going backwards… so we had to give up and turn the engine on. There was a beautiful sunset as we berthed.

Then it was time to pack Ragdoll up and say goodbye until next time, as we made our long drive home again.

What an awesome two weeks!!!

Sailing & Cruising Flotilla to Tarbert

With a free weekend ahead of us we managed to wrangle a spare space on the Sailing and Cruising Scotland Flotilla to Tarbert.

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We made it to Rothesay, in the dark, late on the Friday night to avoid such an early start on the Saturday. On arrival, Rothesay was a hub of activity with several boats on the visitor pontoon along with some boys with an extremely well-built, homemade raft. We heard from our boat neighbours that they had come across on it from the mainland, and promptly disappeared to the pub!

We spent what was left of the night chatting by lamplight to our pontoon neighbours who shared their experiences of crossing the Atlantic! We were gripped by all their tales and tried to memorize all of their valuable advice! Before we knew it the small hours had arrived!

After a late night chatting we were up just in the nick of time to join the flotilla at 10am at Toward. It was exciting to join the rest of the boats, all dressed with flags for the occasion. It was the first time Chris had his new flag set out…although they had to be hoisted in rather a chaotic hurry!

In the Kyle’s of Bute we caught up with the boys in the raft from the previous night. Chris thought it would be funny to donate a tin of spaghetti hoops as ’emergency rations’ so we slowed down to get close enough to pass it over. They were so pleased that they exchanged it for a metal screw! The fun continued as one of the boys decided he’d like to hitch a lift in our dingy! It provided plenty of entertainment, and was quite a sight to see! We decided that their raft was lacking a flag, so we donated our humongous rainbow flag to them!

It was typical West coast weather with glorious sunshine one moment and rain the next. Just as we approached Tarbert the heavens opened and there was an almighty downpour….! Doh! Oh well, we’re used to the drowned rats look!

Once in Tarbert, we chilled out for a while and then braved going for a walk once the sun came out. We stopped off in a small gallery to “have a look.” We spotted some gorgeous highland cow prints and just couldn’t resist….we decided to buy one….we left with three! Next we ventured up to the castle which had a spectacular view, and then on to a beach covered in beautiful scallop shells. Chris picked Rosanne the best to take back to Ragdoll. We headed back to the marina as it started to rain, but of course we stopped for an icecream on the way (rain or no rain!!) looking forward to the BBQ. Unfortunately we were too late! We ventured to the local Indian Restaurant for dinner instead.

Later in the evening we went for our usual wander around the marina so that Chris could have a good boat perv. We spotted one boat looking a bit low in the water. Thinking she was sinking Chris went to investigate and rather panicked the owner. Thankfully the boat was very much afloat and just had people on board!

We returned home next day, enjoying the sunshine and a good bit of wind! White Dawn accompanied us as we left Tarbert and Rosanne practiced using her camera in more choppy conditions!