The relatively brief crossing from Ireland to the southwestern isles of Scotland was quite smooth sailing, with the wind behind us, putting Shadowfax on a dead run all the way through Kilbranan Sound.
Dead runs are great as long as the wind is consistent and not gusty; the boat stays relatively level, and we are actually able to relax, or do work on the boat without the things flying off when it heels over.
Tim busied himself with polishing the cockpit’s gelcoat, restoring it from a dirty, smudgy surface to one that was clean, creamy, and almost lick-able. I busied myself with making Japanese-style ‘sushi’, answering to a very persistent craving. With the sun out, sushi seemed like an appropriate lunchtime choice!
Setting foot on Scottish Soil
We landed for first time on Scottish soil by sail! Sanda Island is a privately owned island, but the ‘right to roam’ laws in Scotland allow visitors to come and walk along the paths. Ideally, visitors should check-in with the caretaker if someone is in. We needed to stretch our legs, so a quick hike up to the summit on the island was on the cards.
As we motored in using Dinglehopper, our outboard dinghy, little brown globes-like shapes popped up through the water and we were greeted by curious, round eyes. We were surrounded by seals! They peered out of the water a few meters from us, staring. Isn’t it funny how, if another human stares at us, we think it is rude…but if a seal stares at us, it is curiously cute!?
The hike had its own surprises along the way. We were crossing a small valley, and when I looked up, a red stag stood there, less than 15 meters away, with his glorious antlers. Our eyes locked for a split second and then, he was gone in a heartbeat – galloping down the valley. We heared his powerful hooves echo as we climbed the hill. As we reached the summit, we spotted a doe and her fawn in the plain below. We watched the drama unfold as she became aware of our presence and started to run, jumping over a fence and leaving her fawn behind. We saw the little one struggle to get past, we held our breath as we saw it try and try again…fearing its injury from the wire. Thankfully, it got past and was reunited with its mother.
We hiked back down and lost the path briefly in the bracken. We headed back to Shadowfax and set sail for Campbeltown. We passed by some small islands overgrown with rhododendron and inhabited by grey heron, perched on top of the pine trees and anchored in a quiet bay just to the west of Bute.
We love the way the Scots say ‘mooring’ – rather than the English ‘more-ring’ pronunciation, the Scots actually say MOO!