At last a minute to myself, I have a cup of tea, a piece of flapjack left over from our boat festival trip, and the house to myself, a little calm after the extra busy last few days. We returned home later than originally anticipated owing to stormy conditions on Sunday and an extra night spent on board
Shemaron in Campeltown.
The sun was shining in the west this weekend, we arrived in Campbeltown early on Wednesday evening in time to haul our mattresses on deck and dry them out in the breeze, having resisted the urge to go and find a curry for about half an hour we finally caved and brought one back to share before we settled in for the night.
The morning dawned while we were snug in our bunks and we woke to bright sunshine, we were away within an hour of rising, Sandy and two of his grandchildren joined us on board. When ever Sandy joins us it makes for a relaxing trip, with the benefit of his local knowledge we made our way to Carradale hugging the coastline, able to enjoy the shore and watch the white feral goats feeding on seaweed that was growing on the rocky outcrops. We dropped our passengers and headed to the local store for some provisions and to the jewellers to organise some repairs to one of my rings. We had intended to leave as soon as we returned but as it was so warm and sheltered in the harbour we dallied a while soaking up the rays, before heading off. As the sea flattened before us, I found my perfect spot sitting in the wheel house doorway sheltered from the wind yet still warm in the sun. An incredible vista was unfurling before me, porpoise hooped through the water, their glossy backs leaving perfect circles on the sea surface as they disappeared into the fathoms below, unhurried by our intrusion into their natural routine. Carradale turned to a mere shadow off the port side and the scarps of northern Arran loomed on our starboard side. A short time later we were gliding passed the Slow Max 3 knotts buoys that herald the entrance to Tarbert harbour. At this point we gave up our lonely existence on the sea and surrendered to fun and frolics of the festival weekend.
We found our place on the pontoon by Golden View and Protect Me 11 and later we were joined by Ocean Gem and Grace Rithchie. After a welcome reception on the Cafe Barge which included plenty of whiskey, we returned to find the strains of cello, fiddle and guitar wafting around the marina as an impromptu musical ensemble played a casual assortment of tunes amid the beautiful traditional boats, I believe more copious amounts of whiskey were consumed as well as the odd few of bottles of wine and gin. The warm weather stayed with us during Saturday and many folk were enticed to try their luck along a greasy pole, by the bottle of Jura single malt that dangled over the water at it's end, the warm weather making the almost inevitable dip in the sea more of a fun experience than it might otherwise have been. While I sat on deck and watched the fun Chris was up to his elbows in bilge repairing one of the pumps and trying to ascertain the source of a clank in the engine we noticed as we arrived. We played host to a steady show of visitors during the afternoon, there seemed to be a healthy interest in Shemaron even though she lay unadorned without the flags that dressed the masts of almost every other boat present as we had decided to go more for the just finished fishing, fishing boat look! By evening the cooler temperatures crept around us stiffening our muscles, I did manage to stumble rather unsatisfactorily around a Gay Gordon at the ceilidh, there were one or two Tartans swinging around the marquee and an easy sense of conviviality mingled with the notes from the band. After a free brunch the next morning courtesy of the Argyle Hotel people began to drift away leaving Tarbert to it's own again.
A big thanks from Shemaron to all concerned for a well organised interesting and fun weekend.
We prevaricated for most of the day unsure of the windy conditions and left eventually around four when we hoped the wind had dropped as forecast, as soon as we turned out toward Skipness point we could see broken cloud and blue sky. Yet another beautiful journey down the Kilbranan Sound. We arrived home without mishap still not sure about the engine noise but confident after four hours of motoring any problems would have presented themselves.