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0021 - Campbeltown to the Crinan Basin

At first light, the engine was started, power was unplugged, lines were taken in, and we were off up the East Coast of Kintyre, and it turns out Campbeltown is just as nice in the morning as it is as night! Plus there was a bit of wind, so we got the sails up right away!

Sailing out of Campbeltown was an interesting was just nice....can't really explain it, a little wind, a little sunrise - and a hot coffee - it was just a nice way to start the day.

As it was so calm - Phoebe insisted on taking her morning walk while we were sailing and on this occasion, she was permitted - Chloe was in a ball somewhere sleeping and had no interest - at all - of coming topside, she was nice and warm below decks...

Once we passed Davaar Island and departed to the North East we made our way up and into the Kilbrannan Sound that runs between Kintyre and the Island of Arran, then into Inchmarnock Water, and finally into Lower Loch Fyne.

A fairly uneventful trip, lots of nice scenery - Everything was very green, but the sun was patchy so the camera didn't pick it up too well, only on the occasional shot really catching the green - but it was all very green!

There were quite a few active fishing boats doing their thing. they all seemed to be trawlers, not workboats. I had been told that there were a lot of pots up here, really we've only seen a few...although, I've been careful not to get complacent.

As soon as you think there are no pots, one appears! Usually about 20 ft off of the bow. The first step to getting tangled up in a pot - Is making the mistake of thinking there are no pots!

I've also noticed a change in the weather, it's definitely colder and wetter here, kind of strange really, it was warmer up North! And while we were up North there was almost no rain, at all - I spent most days in shorts and flip-flops! (in Scotland!)

Now I look at 5 different weather models and kinda interpolate between them all for planning purposes, 4 said things were to be mild to mild-ish - But one was predicting 30+ knot winds and that was because there was a decent-sized weather system headed right for us, but there was a chance it would swing North and miss us - but one day looked like it was going to be very rough indeed - opting for shelter - a plan was needed as the day in question was the next day!

To be honest, the weather seemed to be changing already as the clouds got darker and the wind was already picking up!

The good news was we were almost to the entrance to the Crinan Canal, but we weren't going to go through the canal - I had called ahead to see if we could secure a berth in the Holding Basin - the first bit of water through the main sea-lock into the canal entrance, but not actually into the canal - but completely sheltered from anything that might be heading our way.

We could see Ardrishaig from where we were - and that is where the Crinan Holding basin is - Crinan itself is actually on the opposite side of Kintyre but is connected by the canal system, and many use it as a shortcut, but not us - we sailed all the way around!

Once we got there we tied to a pontoon just outside the main sea-lock, but before long we were ushered in - being in the lock is creepy - huge gates open and then close behind you as you enter - Once the gates are shut - they flood it with water and raise you up about 10 ft - It's pretty crazy!

Now I had to manage all the ropes myself - But I did see entire crews of people struggling with this - I don't know what the issue was - it was easy! I never understand how fully crewed boats have so many issues, I do everything on my own and it's usually fine, and I know I'm not the greatest sailor - too many chefs spoil the broth I guess?

Here is a crap video I took of the canal filling up! Being in there is pretty wild!

And this is where our day ended, our lucky break came when I learned that the canal would be closed for 3 days, so 4 days docking for the price of 1 - Boom! - Not too shabby for Cats on a Yacht!!


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