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Remembering The Commonwealth Flotilla

Remembering The Commonwealth Flotilla


Two years have passed since we took park in the Commonwealth Flotilla - here is an excerpt from Shemaron: A Beautiful Endeavour describing our journey from Princes dock in Glasgow back to Campbeltown... 

One of the great things about writing this blog is that I can include as many photos as I like - I really feel they help illustrate the atmosphere onboard!

Remembering The Commonwealth Flotilla Shemaron: A Beautiful Endeavour Fiona Malkin @ringnetter


We left Princes dock the next morning in the rain and sounded the Claxton as a goodbye to the remaining boats in the flotilla. Soon all we could see was the mass of flags that ran to the tops of the masts still sitting in the dock. The riverbanks were wet and quiet but we still enticed a wave or two from people out for a Sunday stroll or a spot of dog walking. We continued on to Greenock where we said goodbye to our crew and helped to unload their gear. Then it was just the two of us again alone on the water heading for home.

The forecast was for winds up to force five, occasionally gusting to force six. We decided to take a route round Bute, an island in the Firth of Clyde, and keep to sheltered waters. There was a thin gap between sea and sky as Shemaron entered the Kyles of Bute, heading towards the ever-closing space. Eventually it became impossible to see where the sea and sky met, and the Burnt islands were almost lost in the fog. There was only an opaque grey wall ahead. I soon discovered our new exhaust was a comforting source of warmt it was like holding a hot water bottle in a chilly bed, and standing behind the wheelhouse, I could stay reasonably dry.

We picked out the buoys marking the safe channel through the Kyles and by the time we cruised round the western side of Bute the weather began to clear. We had thought to stop for the night in Portavadie, the old favourite place from our early voyages, but with the up-turn in the weather conditions we changed our minds and decided to press on for Campbeltown.


Remembering The Commonwealth Flotilla Shemaron: A Beautiful Endeavour Fiona Malkin @ringnetter


Remembering The Commonwealth Flotilla


We cruised in to the Kilbrannan Sound welcomed by a southward tipping swell. After eight hours we were tiring, so thankfully there were only two more hours to go before we would be tying up in Campbeltown harbour. The weak evening sun leaked through holes in the sky, casting watery rays to our starboard side. Shemaron dipped into the swell and rose on its back. We turned on the radio and songs of the 1960s floated along the sound with us. The sight of the sun after the long grey hours lifted our mood and we passed Davaar in high spirits. After so many hours on board we were happy in the rhythm of everything, comfortable with Shemaron and the sea. Despite being tired, we found ourselves reluctant to bring an end to our journey by climbing on to the quay.


Remembering The Commonwealth Flotilla Shemaron; A Beautufl Endeavour Fiona Malkin @ringnetter
                               Remembering the Commonwealth Flotilla

If my husband hadn’t been interested in fishing boats I am fairly certain I would never have stepped onto the deck of old ring netter. My husband wanted to help preserve these incredible old boats but we never expected to unlock such a treasure trove of experiences. The changing times of dawn and dusk, where the sky meets the sea or the waves meet the rocks, places on the edges of energies that have manifest over thousands of miles, have a powerful pull, and I can feel them all from the deck of our boat.

Remebering the Commonwealth Flotilla 

More from Shemaron: A Beautiful Endeavor on the blog

Excerpt taken from Shemaron: A Beautiful Endeavour

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