Ship’s Log – (17/04/2017)

The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music

Life on board this boat is very difficult to describe – for so many reasons. Whilst we are divided into two watches (teams), Starboard and Port, we have become one united crew. Whilst one watch is on deck, the other is below. The watch on deck is invariably doing a mixture of sailing – or singing! The watch below is usually baking bread, writing a diary, telling jokes, reading books and having the odd snooze. But there is actually in reality, very little time where we are all together or indeed, doing nothing at all.

However, today was different. Today both watches were stilled by the sheer magnificence of our surroundings and we all sat together on deck to absorb every second of it. The beauty of travelling around Britain is the variable landscape and heading into deeper Scotland was different yet again.

Our morning in Oban was a slower one than usual as we didn’t have to leave until midday. The weather didn’t look very promising; the night had been rocky on our moorings and the wind and rain had sounded as if it were at hurricane proportions. At one point the hatch was quickly shut whilst we were pelted with hail stones – a stark contrast to the sunny weather at home!

We slipped lines to head off to Corpach to get ourselves into the right position for the Caledonian Canal. There was very little wind unfortunately, but Beth led a mainsail hoist and Morgan hoisted the mizzen. We motored under sail and made our way out of the Oban waters.

The sweeping Scottish landscape is simply breathtaking. We passed through the majestic snow-topped Morn Mountains, some jutting out up above us and others encased in a bank of cloud but all shimmering under the glow of golden gorse and the occasional waving daffodil. Every now and again a little house was nestled into the vacant landscape –
but other than that, far-away yachts were the only other sign of life.

I found myself a perfect spot to watch the world go by – tucked up on the furled headsail on the bow. I was quickly joined by Vicky, Iris, Poppy, Antonio, Morgan, ‘big Beth’, Ryan and Kieran. We hung our legs over the boat and rejoiced in the magnificence of the passing landscape. We also sang songs…..I think we may well have got through the entire score of The Sound of Music. The hills truly WERE alive with the sound of music today!

Lunch was hot tomato soup, home made bread, some gammon cooked last night and pickle. All we needed was some ginger-beer and it would truly feel like some Enid Blyton or chapter from Swallows and Amazons.

Our arrival at the entrance of the Caledonian Canal seemed to arrive too soon. But we are here and ready to go! It’s strange to be moored right beside the big gates to the first of 29 locks that we will undertake across Scotland.

This evening Antonio has been teaching Poppy to fish. They caught a huge……..clump of seaweed! Antonio described her as….frightening. I think it was something to do with her inaccurate casting. Enough said about that!

So here we are. Moored under the magnificent Ben Nevis – it’s snowy peak caught in the sunlight and the loch water glistening in the evening light. None of us can wait until tomorrow, it’s going to be very different for all of us…Skipper included.

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