Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Out of the Canal

After an enforced stop in Fort Augustus - because the lock-keepers called it a day after locking a bunch of boats through the other way at 4pm - Martin and I (Jim) rushed Fettler into the first lock at 8am the next day, along with five other sailboats and a wee powerboat. The lock-keeper wasn't impressed, throwing a bit of a strop when I showed reluctance to shift after coming starboard side to along the lock wall. Fettler ended up rafted up to a powerboat full of friendly Faroe islanders (4 brothers) who assured us we'd be welcome in Torshavn and left me with phone numbers, while walking both vessels through the series of locks, while I motored ahead or astern to assist. Great strategy for getting through the locks as Martin and I merely had to keep ahold of the lines tethering us to Mighty Fine as the Faeroese did the rest of the work.

We then sailed the length of Loch Ness before a stiff breeze, enjoying the dramatic Highland scenery and the peace of sail power after a spell of motoring. We left the boat at Caley Marina, downed a swift half pint at the Clachnaharry Inn (great pub) and took the Megabus down to Edinburgh and the working week.

Sonja and I returned on Thursday night and met Ken for a more leisurely pint in the Clachnaharry Inn. The next morning was gorgeous, and we were lucky to slip through the Muirtown locks at 0830 sharp. The tide under the Kessock Bridge runs up to six knots so we decided to wait for slack water, giving us the opportunity to take in a cooked breakfast (£2.65 at the local Co-op) and hang out at the Clachnaharry Sea Lock in the brilliant sunshine.

Truly lovely, the Caledonian Canal. Looking forward to going through it at a more leisurely pace, some season soon.

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