top of page

0019 - Port Ellen, Islay

Just to rewind a little, and putting aside the complications of our previous anchorage - The sailing trip down to Port Ellen was actually quite nice and generated some pretty pictures.

The real truth is this, I had forgotten about an entire folder of photos from that morning, so they were not included in the last Ships Blog post, but they were too nice to not share.

I have s1000's upon 1000's of photos - it would be a shame to have just let them get lost in the archive as many do... As I said, we left our last anchorage at first light.

The currents were very impressive, and we were making excellent time! All of the flashing channel markers and lighthouses were still illuminated, as you can see in the pictures below...the lights are just off of our bow.

And in what seemed like no time we were at the end of the cut-through, I thought it would take about 2hrs, but in reality, only took 45 mins - just incredible speeds. Halfway down the cut-through I got the boat hook and cleared the anchor and as we were doing about 10 knots and with the water pulling on enormous strands of kelp made it a challenging affair.

As we neared the end of the cut our vector on the lighthouse changed as did the colour of the light we could see coming from it, it changed to red - these changes help you identify what you're looking at and your relative angle to the source of a particular light

This lighthouse you can see in the distance and mentioned above is called 'Mc Arthurs Head Lighthouse', and is one of the more elaborate ones I've seen.

It's also another Stevenson Lighthouse, built by David & Thomas Stevenson in 1861.

Just after passing the lighthouse, we got some 20+ knots of wind - and we were flying!

Then it happened - The sun began to peek out from the horizon and made everything really dreamy and colorful, it really was spectacular - I know this - because I was exhausted and still thought it looked spectacular!

This light show continued and I managed to get some photos of the actual sunrise also...

After the sunrise we began to round up to the west towards the southern coast of Islay the winds and sea began to build a bit but fell away as we got closer to Port Ellen.

The coastline returned to jagged rocks with a wind that just won't quit, just as I seem to remember it and we were almost to Port Ellen. At this point, while sitting under the dodger I do remember momentarily falling asleep - this prompted me to take my jacket off - as I was clearly too warm and comfortable, nothing like a bit of cold Scottish wind to wake you up! Falling asleep anywhere near this kind of terrain is madness!

We passed the first Channel marker, I hadn't noticed any other boats around, but I guess I wasn't really looking all that much either...But I did eventually notice the ferry and got the hell out of its way!

And these rocks...

Like I mentioned in the last post, we got into Port Ellen, got tied up, and plugged in without too much fuss, and then promptly and unexpectedly just fell asleep.

I woke up later the same day, just in time to see the sunset, and to let the crew make the most out of the last few remaining hours of daylight - they spent most of their time looking at the other boats - somehow even the cats are suspicious of all the charter boats.

Tomorrow morning, we will do the crossing East over to Kintyre, hopefully, to anchor out on Sanda Island for the night before sailing up the Eastern side of Kintyre to see what's up there, why not right? might be interesting - maybe not - in terms of 'pots' - This will be like going into the belly of the beast!


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page