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Around Ireland 2011 With John Smith aboard Barbican
Our boat "Lotus" is a long keel Barbican 30 with a 17 hp Beta. She is a very dry, comfortable boat in a seaway. The only modifications for the trip was a new Manson 16kg anchor and a laptop with Admiralty charts for the whole of UK and Ireland. Efter deein quite a number a 2/3 week trips ower the years since the mid 90's we felt it wis time ti try a mare extended trip wi nae a lot a time constrain.We decided to try to sail round Ireland in a leisurely, cruiser type fashion. But wait!! We then had ti try ti fit in a widdin at Edinburgh in early June, the Work Boat Show at Southampton in June 14th /16th and a faimily widdin at Ardmore S. Ireland in early September. Nae bather. So, wi nae a lot a research deen on sailin Ireland bit armed wi a laptop, charts,twa alish pilot books,too much claes an stores bit maybe nae enuf liquid refreshments (Lotus his a good deep bilge bit can only tak so much)we sailed fae Buckie hairber at 4.30pm on Wednesday 25th a May wi a good send aff fae the family headin for Burghead enroute ti the Caley canal. We had a licht SSE breeze a' the wye so motorsailed ti git in the groove an tied up at the top o the hairber alongside an al freen, Billy Davidson's boat. Startin as we meant ti cairy on we invited him aboord for a nip. Billy speert us up ti his hoose bit we hid ti decline (shockin)as we planned for an early start in the morning. Sailed at 3.30am in heavy rain wi very light ENE win an arrived at the sealock at 9.30 passin a bonny 45ft American boat wi a' the gear. Efter a good crack wi Davie Smith the lockkeeper we set aff thru the locks wi a Bavaria 45 sail trainin boat, enterin Loch Ness aboot 1pm. We motorsailed gently up/doon the loch arriving at Fort Augustus at 5pm. Mo cooked a pasta dish an as it wis still poorin we fired up the heatin an relaxed. Distance fae hame aboot 80 mile. It wis haf past nine afore we got goin as there wis boats commin doon.We went up wi five cruisers who kept company a' the wye ti Cullochy. Abody except me got a gold star fae Linda at Kytra. Hae ti mine next time! It wis a sare powk thru Loch Lochy wi 10/15 kts a SW win an got ti Gairlochy jist too late at 5pm ti git thru.It wis a very frustratin day wi mony hudups, bit wir nae carin!! The win got up ti gale wi heavy rain in the forenicht so radio on, readin an yarnin.An early nicht. Up early an wither looks better bit freshent up again afore we got thru locks at haf past nine.Rain wi it asweel.Got ti the top a Banavie aboot 11am bit winna git a start doon till 2pm as thirs a big fishin boat an 3 yachts commin up so went for shower an then hid a visit fae Phil an Ian on thir wye back fae Lochaline as wither ower bad for sailin there.Got ti the fet a Banavie at haf past three an tied up at the sma pontoon for the nicht. We hid wir beef an black pudding supper at the Lochy an watched the Champions League Final. Gye one sided game. Rain an win woke us the next morning. It wis force 5 at first an freshent ti gale quick so jist lay ther along wi a Rustler 36,an Island Packet 43 an a Norwegian Contest 36 enroute fae Narvik ti La Carunna. Thir first leg wis fae Narvik ti INS far they left the boat ti go hame to work (2 weeks on an 4 weeks aff. Shid last a lang time at that eh) Thir next leg is fae INS ti La Carunna via Wexford in SE Ireland for fuel.They hid 10/11 days ti git ti Spain!! Dinna fancy that kine a sailin masel. A better morning so got clear a the Sealock at 9.30 bit as high watter hid been at 5.15 we nought a' wir time ti git thru the Corran Narras. Licht SW win at first bit cairiet the tide ti twa mile sooth o' the narras. It wis powky kine til we past the reed bouy. We hid a slow run sooth passin thru the well buoyed Shuna Soon for the first time an then saw a big Sea Eagle while passin Appin.Wiv hid a couple a good runs ashore there in the past!! It wis real squally a' the wye sooth ti Dunstaffnage far we tied up at 3.30pm. Distance fae Fort Augustus ti Dunstaffnage aboot 60 mile. Next morning we took fuel an then went on the bus ti Oban ti check bus times as we hid to go hame for the first widdin. That nicht, 31st May, we ate at the Wide Mouthed Frog which is under new management an wis hale good. Back ti the boat at 9.30 an discussed gybing including the Chinese type. Hame the morn. Efter a fine widdin at wir freen Airchies we arrived back on Lotus on Tues 7th a June at 8.30pm ready for the off. We payed wir dues an sailed at 10am for Crobh Haven in a very light WNW win passing thru Cuan Soon in a rush. The Oban/Melfort/ Crinan area is a rare place ti sail as yi can ayewis git shelter. Harmony wis at Cobh and Phil and Ian were on the pontoon ti meet us.We were invited aboord Harmony for a dram afore gan for a meal at the Lord of the Isles (LOTI on the staff sarks) which wis nithin startling,in fact I wid say it wis poor.I kent an affa fine lad at the fishin in the days fin thir wis nae bad werds on the vhf an fin describing an unsuccessful fishin operation wid say "FP an the p stans for poor".Onywye the distance for the day wis aboot 22mile. Thurs 9th. Poorer forecast for the day wi 20 kts fae the west.Winnert aboot bidin for anither day bit sailed at 11am for Craighouses on the SE corner o' Jura.Wi twa reefs in the main an full jib we had a good sail carryin the ebb a' the wye sooth touchin 8kts at times an seein only a few boats. We got into Craighouses at 3pm an picked up a bouy beside 15 ither boats. Ate aboard and rowed ashore at 7.30 ti pay wir £10 dues at the pub where we met ither cruisers an hid a good yarn afore gan back ti the boat at 9.30sh.On the music an had a toddy. Distance the day 26 mile. Frid 10th. Bonny morning so I rowed ashore wi the rubbish afore drappin the moorin at 9am. We motorsailed toward Port Ellen on Islay wi a light S win,tyin up at the sma marina there at 2pm. 18miles the day. Thir wis an international beach rugby tournament sponsored by the distillerys` on the next day wi teams a quines an big beefy loons (some o the quines wir big an beefy asweel) fae as far awa as Italy so the toon wis heavin wi fowk an tents awye. A real party atmosphere. We met in wi twa locals who didna fancy oor chances crossin the North Channel ti Ireland!! Next morning we took the bus ti Bowmore ti visit the grave o an al' freen fae the Sloch, John Alex Ross, who had lived on Islay for many years. We put in flooers an thought aboot the many laughs wi him.The epitaph on the stone said "Remembered with a smile" .Very apt. As yi wid expect we visited the distillery far John had worked an sampled the 18 year old. On lookin doon at the hairber we were delighted ti see a plaque dedicated ti John for workin si hard ti git the new pontoons installed for the community. It hid been a really good morning for us at Bowmore. On returning ti Port Ellen we went ti watch the rugby, serious stuff bit a good laugh, where we met Bruce an Joyce fae Whitehaven an a crew fae Inverurie on anither boat.A few very large Islay gins were had by all.They ran oot a soda so topped up the glass wi mare gin which wis plentiful.We invited Bruce an Joyce (Moody376) and Susan an Colin(Scampi 30) aboord for a dram.The Monkey Shoulder Speyside went doon well as did Colin fin he stepped on the pontoon!!! Forecast looks good for next day an tide suitin for an early start across the North Channel ti Coleraine 4 mile up the River Bann in Northern Ireland. Nae probs this 1st leg. Distance fae Buckie--aboot 205 miles
Circumnavigating Ireland 2011 Leg 2 Sunday 12th June--It wis a beautiful sunny morning fin we left Port Ellen.ESE win f2/3 so ful sail an beam reachin towards Coleraine.We bored the tide the 1st twa oors then romped along touchin 7.5 at times. Plenty birds ,especially gannets commin fae the west.The win freshened up a' day an the last oor it wis 6 or 7. It wis a stiff punch up the dredged channel in the river against the wind bit we were on the pontoon at 2pm. Probably the best sail so far. Plenty bouys fae the entrance a' the wye up the 4 miles so Mo wis navigator. Distance-36 miles. As we were gan the leave the boat there for a few days while we went ti the Southampton Workboat Show, the hairbermaister gave us an inside berth clear o' the stream. Next morning we headin inti the toon ti check train times for Belfast Airport and the bus times for wir jaunt ti the Giants Causeway. We hopped on the Cauesway Rambler and went first ti the Rope Bridge an then back ti the Causeway. It wis a 40 meenit walk ti the bridge which wis ower a short stretch a water ti an island teemin wi birds. The watter wis a clear blue an wi the fite cliffs made a bonny photo. Sare knees an puffed afore we got back up ti the café and the bus ti the Causeway. Anither 40 min walk, lang wye doon an a langer wye back, bit worth ivery step. Wiv seen mony photos o' the rock formations bit seein the extent o' it wis a bit o' a surprise. All in all a very educational an enjoyable trip wi a bit a exercise thrown in. Back at the marina there wis a naming ceremony for 3 new rowin boats an 2 dinghys for Portrush Sea Cadets. The the lads an lasses took the boats on the river while the dignitaries looked on fae the clubhouse. We packed oor bags for Southampton an had a toddy. It had been a good day. Tues 14th-Got a lift to the station fae a local lad who had selt his hoose an lived aboord his 40ft Spray waitin for takin aff fin his wife retired!!. The train went richt ti Belfast Airport so wis affa handy. So it wis car-train-plane-train- walk - digs at Southampton. The Work Boat Show wis really good an I saw fit I wanted ti see an met fa I wanted ti meet wi a social thrown in. Mo hid a frustratin time gan roon big malls bit wi luggage restrictions, cwidna buy onythin bit savin oor planet seems seems sensible ti me!!.Walk- train-plane-train-bus-taxi-boat. Friday 17th June. Heavy rain so niver left the boat till efterneen fin I went for 25 litres fuel. Still rainin so we put on wir ilies an went up the road for stores. It wis aboot three pairts o' a mile ti the big Spar shop so wis a good hump back wi the stores etc. A chap fae Falkirk who sailed his bonny boat (brass seacocks tho) fae Largs came along for a yarn. He'd been at Coleraine for three days wi his wife an 20 month al quinie an it soont like he'd deen a fair bit a sailin ower the eers. As we were planning ti sail earlyish next mornin I went up ti the office ti pye wir dues.The lad in charge did athin. He ran the marina, fuel,repairs, pilot for the coasters an wis a hale fine lad asweel.I wis charged a tenner a nicht for a serviced berth. Mo noticed I wis smiling a' the wye doon the pontoon. We hid a filie in the club that evenin an wis entertained very well bi a club member wi his guitar. The wither hisna been great up ti noo wi lots a rain.Hope it gits better or I micht be singlehandin !!! We rose afore 6 ti thick fog bit afore we hid wir cuppa it hid cleared enough to see the nearest perches so lit go at 6.40 which wis 3hrs afore high watter an hid a gentle toddle doon the river passin the breakwaters at 7.20. Very licht win on the nose so Betty the Beta doin her bit again bit it wis good ti git goin. Passin Lough Foyle we hid a close encounter as they say,wi a minke, bit the sea has been surprisingly bare apairt fae lots a Manx Shearwaters. I hid been expectin ti pick up the west goin ebb aroon 10am bit it wis denner time afore we felt it commin on. Instead o' galivantin I shid've studied the pilot a bit mare as it clearly states that the west stream only runs 3 hours. Points deducted John. The ebb came on and the win filled in fae the north force 3 as we entered Inishtrahull Sound an wir sog picked up ti 7/8 kts as we passed Malin Hd. Many's a time have I listened ti the coast station reports fae Malin Hd an here we were passin it. Passin the head we picked up oor course for Sheep Haven (sw) and the win backed to nw an tickled up a force or twa wi a bit a swall so we hid a fine sail for the last 24 mile ti Downies Bay pickin up a"visitors" moorin at 5.15.We found that Locals occasionally claimed visitors moorins an this wis ane o' thim bit thir wis plenty mare. Tidied up an hid a nip.It's been a langish kine a day made so wi the haze maist o' the wye cutting the viz. Onywye the heatin an the soup is on an wir haein a fine yarn an listenin ti good Irish music. Distance the day aboot 52 miles an wis probably too much ti be hale enjoyable.I suppose we cwid've stopped at Loch Swilly or Mulroy bay but we were keen ti git roon the corner an hopefully git better wither. Sunday 19th. Fathers Day. Fresh breeze fae the west an glass risin. Hid a late breakfast,opened ma cards an sat watchin the shore an a bonny 62ft vivier crabber at the pier.I think he must've landed during the nicht. Wind in the efterneen still too fresh for rowin ashore so enjoyed the very good radio programmes an red a bit.Glass still risin an light easterly forecast for the morn. It got a bit cooler so went doon an hid a nap.This is cruising noo. Woke up cal kine so hid second days broth an that sorted it. Nae much gan on ashore so jist relaxed. Mo says its been a tryin day bit she niver jumped ower the side !! Monday-Up early ti a beautiful sunny morning. I tichint the new fan belt an the jubilees on the exhaust afore we hid a cup a tae an rowed ashore at 8am. Downies is an affa bonny spread oot village/toon wi a lot a very nice holiday homes ,mony o' thim owned bi fowk fae the north that spent a' thir spare time in the sooth ti git awa fae the bather. We spoke ti the couple fae the north that had a hoose there an kept their boat on the moorin that we had went on fan we had arrived!!.Fine fowk an gave us lots a info. Efter gittin papers an loaf,milk an sultanas for poltice pudding we hid a wak back along a lovely beach ti the pier far thir wis a sma memorial garden to those who been lost at sea. It wis the first of many we saw on oor trip We were back aboord at 10.45, hid wir breakfast an sailed aff the moorin at 11.30. Lovely sunny day wi NE 3/4 so hid a fine beam reach ti Horn Hd afore bearin awa for Keelasmore Sound atween Inisboffin an Inishdooey. The plan had been ti visit Tory Is. which is 10/11 mile aff bit we'll hae ti go there next time. We were goosewinged noo bit were soon in the windshadow o' the high, dramatic cliffs so slowed doon a bit. Efter passin through the narra soon we stemmed up Bloody Foreland, anither famous headland, still goosewinged bit win backed a bit and it got a bit rolly in the swall that niver seems ti go awa so we rolled in the genny and toddled along still makin 5.5kts s o g. Fae Bloody Foreland ti Aran Is. we passed inside a few groups a submerged rocks wi rollers brakkin ower thim. Eerie kine seein nithin an then big waves rearin up. It wis chavie kine the last oor or so until we got inti the North Sound of Aran which has an abundance a rocks. The harbour o' Burtonport is pretty hairy ti enter through ony o' its three entrances. We, or shid I say I, missed the first twa an wis gled ti pick oot the third ane which is narra an shalla. We crept in roon Rutland Is. an inti the dredged channel ti the hairber. I managed ti stray aff a bit an peer Lotus took the bottom on sand for 5 meenits or so. I wis gittin the kedge ready when she came aff ersel an we slowly crept inti the hairber. The pilot book suggests that its perhaps better ti miss oot Burtonport as it's busy kine bit sometimes yi canna go bi that, in fact I wid say maist times. We were met in the basin bi the Haibermaister in his creel boat an he pintet oot a berth an said we cwid bide as lang as we wanted. There yi are noo. We're on piles so have the board deployed. Hope it works! Distance the day-33mile
Circumnavigating Ireland 2011 Leg 3 June 21st Burtonport-The fender board worked fine an I got the moorin ropes richt (fine ti git something richt) Rose at 6.30 ti heavy rain so put the heatin on an relaxed for a file.The bus service is nae si handy the day so we took the ferry across ti Aranmore hopin ti git a walk roon a bit o' the island bit it wis too cal an weet so we went ti the Glen Hotel for lunch an took the 3pm ferry back across.The ferries use the main north channel which is narra bit has plenty water. Thirs been enough rain as rot a chine so the heatin's on ti dry oot. A sma bus meets the 9.20am ferry an goes ti Letterkenny,the nearest big toon so the plan is ti hae a day there as we need ti sort oot wir phones an a dongle for wir laptop. I nivver thocht I wid say that!! Sign o' the times eh Wed 22nd-We got goin at 9.30 efter pickin up 6 fowk fae the ferry.The bus stopped at Dungloe ti pick up anither 4 an ae equine speart the driver ti wait till she feenished her fag. Double parked asweel. Donegal County is really bleak wi peatbogs an massive boulders a' ower. Thirs plenty bonny new hooses bit diggin foons must be a problem. It took an oor an a half ti dee the 25 miles ti Letterkenny as we nivver went mare than 40 mph. Letterkenny is a fairly big toon wi athin there including a Voda shop far we got the phones sorted oot bit nae the dongle.We wannert aboot an while Mo did a bit a shoppin I hid a yarn wi a lad sellin fish fae a van.Good crack an seems that the Irish fishin industry has the same EU problems as us. The time a waitin for the bus we went inti an al' pub for a pint. Very much IRA. Photo's o' a' thir past heroes including the hunger strikers. Yi wid hae ti watch yir p's an q's on a nicht oot there !!. Back on wir scenic journey ti Burtonport , nae rush. For ae reason or anither we baid at Burtonport for a week. We met an affa fine lad fae the north who had a bonny hoose on Rutland Is which is aboot haf a mile fae Burtonport and as he wisna usin his car he offered it ti us for a few days.We toured aboot Donegal an visited some bonny wee hairbers along the rocky shore and took the chance ti hae a look at places we planned ti visit includin Portnu an Killebegs. Portnu looked bonny bit a bit exposed an Killebegs the big fishin hairber looked affa run doon.We met an al' lad there who hidna a good werd ti say aboot it so we think we'll gei it a miss . Mon 27th June-Rose early ti a bonny morning so decided ti leave at 1200.Topped up water an phoned the HM ti pay wir dues but he said he widna be doon the day an we cwid pay next year.Am thinkin thirs a lesson for some fowk here!! We were met bi Laird, the man wi the car, on his boat jist aff his hoose on the island an got a guide richt oot the north channel.Hae a job findin a mare generous ,helpful man. Because it's shalla ti the sooth o' Aran we were gan oot roon the north end and fin we opened up the soon it got a bit chavie wi a fresh wsw win. Aince roon the licht we managed ti sail wi twa reefs in the main an a bit a jib an tho it wis hale bouncy we hid a good sail ti Church Pool on the deserted island o' Inishkeel far we picked up a moorin at 4pm an hid the bay ti wirsels. Efter soup an a nap we rowed ashore ti hae a look at the kirk ruins an hae a wak. The island wis covered in lush grass an supported 20 or 30 muckle coos. We hid a bairns moment fin we thocht a bul wis headin for's !! Thir wis a good curn big slab heidstanes in the kirkyard wi latest ane that I cid read , dated 1841. Clearance/famine time. Sat in the cockpit enjoyin the bonny evenin. 28th-Up at 7 an drapped the moorin at 9.30. Fresh sw win the day so towin the dinghy as I thocht we micht retreat bit Mo his on er bands the day an keen ti cairy on. The win headed us on ivery 10 degree alteration a' the wye roon ti Malin More Hd.We were forced ti tak the dinghy aboord as it wis gittin heavy an jerkin on the pushpit.Conditions were grim bit Mo coped aricht.We bore awa 4 points at the Head an picked up speed ti 5 kts.Lotus gave a biggish heave an a lurch an took a fair bit a water inti the cockpit ( the first I've seen) an we got soaked ti the draaers.I dinna think it wid've happened if I hid been steerin instead o' the pilot. Picked up a moorin in Teeling inlet at 5pm. Heatin on an haein the first dram(toddy) for a week. 28 very hard miles the day. Drapped wir moorin at 11am an headed across Donegal Bay for Mullaghmore 11 miles awa. A lovely sail across , wsw wind an course wis se Mo steered a' the wye in fine sunny wither an we picked up a moorin jist aff the hairber entrance.Plenty youngsters oot racin thir dinghies.We rowed ashore ti the pontoon in the bonny tidal hairber that had aboot 40 boats, maistly on moorins. We hid a meal at the Beach Hotel (Fitins an chips for me) an sat lookin oot at Lotus in a bonny settin.We arranged for a lift the 3 miles ti Cliffony ti git the bus ti Donegal Town the morn. 30th June-Plenty rain durin the nicht bit a fine morning fin we rowed ashore for wir lift.The lassie in the tourist info at Bundoran telt us that we are moored at the spot far Mountbatten wis blown up. Nae mowse. Spent the day at Donegal Town visitin the castle an did the tour wi a very knowledgable an interestin young guide. Jist afore we got the bus back we met a curn Buckie fowk that were on a bus tour.Sma world, good job abody wis sober!! Arrivin back at Cliffony we walked the 4 k ti Mullaghmore an hid wir supper at the hotel an wis back on the boat aboot 9.30. It's been a good day. Frid 1st July-Quiet nicht and light southerly win at breakfast time.We sailed aff the moorin at 10am bound for Killala Bay. I wis hopin ti lay wir coorse bit nae luck so micht hae ti go outside Inishmurray Is. It wis a fine sail in the sun until I got a fleg as the water shalled up ti 3mtrs quick kine a good mile aff the island. I had read aboot the risk o' uncharted rocks aff the west coast a here wis an example. Nae good for the hert. The win died awa so motored on meetin a big baskin shark gan east. We anchored aff Rathlackan pier wi the new Manson in 6 metres. Thirs nae a village here bit seemed ti be a lot a families there haein a party wi a' the bairns jumpin in till efter 8pm. An al' lad an es loon came tee on thir wye in fae fishin partans an mackerel. They used ti work at the building in winter an then ful time building in the boom. Nae mare building noo. The celtic tiger has been shot!! Did 30 mile the day. Lifted the anchor at 8am in a bonny morning an headed for Broadhaven. 12/14 kts southerly wind gustin a bit aff the cliffs bit we managed ful sail an were rompin along fine. Passin Downpatrick Hd we saw 8 lads fishin fae the top aboot 40 metres up. Flyin fish maybe? Passin inside The Stags the win tickled up a bit an as we gradually came roon inti the Bay an steered sooth it wis on the nose an the tide wis against us asweel so progress wis hale slow the last 5 miles. The win wis richt doon the loch so thir wisna much shelter bit we tucked in ahin a wee spit an drapped the pick in 4 metres nae far fae a Bowman 40. Lyin fine so gled ti git a bit a peace. An oor later a Malo 43 came in an anchored atween us at the 3rd attempt.The win wis up ti 25/30 kts noo so relaxed an had a look at the charts ti consider wir options. We're hopin ti reach Westport bit wir nae movin till the win eases. Sun 3rd July-A better morning so sailed aff wir anchor at 8am an had good sail across the bay ti Erris Hd far we opened up the wide grey ocean. It wis sw 2/3 bit thir wis a fair bit a swall as we passed Eagle Is. an it stayed like that a' the wye sooth. We were passin a wild dramatic coast wi cliffs an rocks an breakers inside o' us wi the 2 metre Osbourne Shoal bein the star othe show. We passed half a mile outside o' it an it went fae rollers gan ower it ti massive waves rearin up. Mo thocht it wis a scary place an I agreed. We plodded on ti Achill Hd an altered awa ti the se for Achill Sound wi all sail an goin well. We came inti AchillSoons tricky entrance wi the last o' the flood an picked up a moorin jist aff the al' castle. Fit a bonny place. Rowed ashore an had a good yarn wi a local lad who hid lived there for 72 eer. Anither lad fa'd rowed in fae es boat offered ti run us the 2mile ti the local an pick us up at 10.30. Wir meetin fine fowk a' the time. The pub wis quiet bit nae winner as the drinks wir a fiver each. Newsed wi Sean a file at the pier then oot ti the boat in a flat calm so sat a file an enjoyed the bonny peaceful nicht. The plan is ti head for Westport via Clare Is. the morn Distance the day wis 44 miles an maist o' it wis powky
Circumnavigating Ireland Leg 4 Monday 4th July, Achill Sound---Woke ti a bonny sunny day wi a very strong flood rushin in.The plan is ti enjoy the fine morning, check oot the charts for Westport ,tak water at the jeety an leave aboot 11am. We let go at the back o' 11 an flew oot on the ebb wi nae problems an as Clare Is. is only twa mile awa we hid a gentle sail across ti the anchorage there. As we've found a' roon the nw, there were moorins laid here asweel bit this anes were massive, which tells a story. It looks like they git a bit a swell here sometimes. Although Clare Island, the hame o' the 16th century pirate Grace O'malley, wid be good for wakin an cyclin there are only a few scattered hooses an 2 cafes aroon the hairber so we hid a short wak, lunch an back oot ti the boat.The forecast wis southerly 5/6 for later in the efterneen so we set aff east toward Wesport at the heid a Clew Bay. It wis aboot 9 miles ti Inishbort Lt so we hid a fine beam reach a' the wye. Aince thru the channel at Inishbort the heid a Clew Bay has an area o' many , maybe 20/25 islets coverin aboot 3 x3 miles wi 4 ti 8 metres roon thim wi Westport at the sooth end up a lang buoyed channel ti the toon. Thirs dryin berths at the al' pier alongside piles. Onywye, am afore masel. The ebb wis on as we passed the licht an I chickened oot an went roon some sma islands an picked up the last moorin at Collanmore Harbour the hame a Mayo YC. It wis a big anchorage wi nae piers or pontoons except for the club jeety. Plenty dinghies o' a' types fleein aboot. We need some stores an fuel so will try ti git roon ti Westport on the morning tide. Thir wis a strong win a' nicht bit it shiftet ti the wsw an eased bi morning. Tues 5th-Jist afore high water we drapped the moorin an headed for Westport. It wis an interestin 5 mile motor thru islands wi bouys an perches a' the wye. Mo ti the fore again. We tied up ti the al' quay at a ladder atween twa piles so the board is oot again. A few boats dee fishin trips fae there an ae lad, Austen, drove me up the toon for fuel. We waited till Lotus took the bottom an lyin ok then went ashore for a wanner roon. Efter a lovely meal at O'Malley's we crossed the road ti Matt Malloy's where we managed ti git a seat in the very busy pub.Thir wis a rare al' lad singin an reciting stories nonstop til nearly 10 then the band started. Wow. 2 fiddles, mandolin, banjo, bodrum/moothie, guitar/singer. Great atmosphere an it wis still gan strong fin we left at 12ish!!. Responsibility lies heavy sometimes. Been a good nicht in bonny authentic places. Wed 6th---Woke ti a bonny morning and efter breakfast we went inti the toon ti git gas an find a laundry. Mo drapped aff the bag an hid a wanner roon the shops while I looked for gaz. Efter spennin a few pleasant oors gan roon historic Westport we picked up wir gaz(cheap), laundry an some stores an headed doon ti the boat. The lang quay suggested a bit a coaster traffic in days gone by bit it's left ti the pleasure?? boats an shoals a grey mullet that were in the fit or twa a water at low tide. We strolled thru the Westport House grounds ti the hotel far The Grace O'Malley Show wis on at 9pm. Thir wis a fair queue waitin for the doors ti open so we hid a good yarn we fowk fae Jersey USA who wir toorin roon Ireland wi a curn o' thir freens . Good crack they were asweel. The show, that wis hale, good telt the story o pirate Grace wi music, song an dance an a' the the cast were fae County Mayo. They were a' good bit the dancers were special. Went back ti the "Helm" at the hairber bit cwidna hear the singer for a Henny Party which is like a Stagger bit a lot louder!! As the licht win had shifted an wis bla'in aff the pier I got up a couple a times ti check the ropes an fenders. Athin fine. Thurs 7th---Mo wis affa keen the climb ti Croagh Patrick bit it wis rainin an my knee wis playin up!! Many thoosans, 70 / 80 on one special day dee the 3 / 4 oor trek on thir pilgrimage ti the chapel at the top. We decided ti move on towards Inishboffin so efter a latish breakfast we let go at 11 an toddled doon the river on the ebb passin Inishbort at 12 in a flat calm. It wis very misty bit we cid see the track ti the top a Croagh Patrick disappearin inti the clouds. Thank you knee !! As we went west oot a Clew Bay we passed atween some submerged rocks/shalls an even wi the very slight swall they manage ti pit on an impressive show for Mo. At aboot 3pm we came on Austen's boat so we went alongside ti thank him an wish him a' the best an cairet on in a sma chop ti Inishboffin . The leadin marks for the anchorage are twa big white towers that guide yi in thru the rocky entrance passin very close ti twa big rocks on yir starboard han an openin up ti a bonny sheltered basin wi a wee neukie further in. Went alongside a SCOD ti inquire aboot the moorin situation an the man suggested we pick up a moorin an inform the barman at the pub (Days famous bar that his a permanent late licence) an he'll inform the owner. Anither typical welcome. By the way, the Inish in the place names means island. We rowed ashore ti the beach aside the pub an went in ti tell the barman fit moorin we were on. His reply wis "Oh that's Kerry's one but he's not using it so stay as long as you want". As we were there we had a Murphy's an a meal (affa good) an hid a yarn wi Dick fae the SCOD who is oot fae Galway for a curn weeks. He left efter haein a meal an as we rowed back later on he puttered back in again ti enjoy the music!! Thir wis a lot a fowk gan aboot as thir wis a widdin in the big kirk aside the pub next day 28 interestin miles the day wi a weakish tide a' the wye. Frid 8th July---Bonny sunny morning bit wind nae suitin so decided ti bide anither day an hae a wak aboot the island. We hid been telt the kirk wis affa bonny decorated an on lookin in we saw that wis surely the case.The widdin wis at 1.30 so decided ti hae a coffee an wait ti see the ongoe . The groom an best men arrived fae the hotel, twa hunner yards aw on bikes, the groom on a tandem. This cid be interestin. Accordin ti Mo thir wis some lovely styles an high heels. The bride wi her father an twa bridesmaids strolled fae the hotel bang on time. We lay on the grassy bank an waited till they came oot an sure enuf the new mairret couple set aff on the tandem ti the reception.We then set off roon the east quarter o' the island along narra roads passin a few al' hooses alang the wye. As we usually dee we went inti an al' church graveyard an spoke ti a man who wis preparing a grave site for fit wis gan ti be a family grave. Hale rough grun it wis tee. He telt us far we micht hear ane o' the sivin corncrakes that were on the island es eer. We niver heard them. The east side o' Inishboffin has bonny white sanny beaches. We took a left an headed up the hill back towards the anchorage an hid fine views o' it as we started doon again.Had a Murphy's an rowed oot ti Lotus. Derry who sailed an al' sixties 30 footer an wis on a moorin in the nuekie an hid been oot fishin, came alongside wi twa lythe or pollack for wir supper. He came aboord for a beer an a yarn an telt us that he came fae the mainland but since his wife had died he spent a lot o' the summer on Inishboffin.A dinna blame him. We'd niver tasted lythe bit I filleted thim an they were first class wi a new tattie. Ashore again at 8.45 for twa pints an met the crew o' a forty fit Beneteau whose skipper had worked at Marine Lab Aberdeen many years ago and had a very interestin an varied life. Good crack in "Days" again. They were headin for Roundstone the next day as were Dick and us. Sat 9th---Woke ti brilliant sunshine. Dick rowed across ti hae a yarn aboot the islands we wid be passin thru an we sailed at 11am It wis a gran sail in company till we were a few miles past Slyne Hd and the wind died leavin a lumpy motion so we motorsailed the last curn miles ti Roundstone passin many rocks an shoals awash bit they were a' charted. We picked up a very heavy moorin (rope) at 5pm an efter wir mince an tatties, rowed ashore ti hae a look at the al' village, meetin up wi Dick in ane o' the many pubs. The village wis very busy wi fowk fae the North haein a weeks holiday ti avoid the 12th July celebrations ?? at hame. As Dick came fae this area he wis a hive a information so over a pint we got the history o' Roundstone an the islands. Apparently, the sma hairber wis designed by Nimmo in 1825 and is a copy o' Anstruther. Latish night! 28 miles. Sun 10th-Anither beautiful morning. Dick came across ti hae a look at the Admiralty charts on wir laptop an bade for lunch. We watched the Gaway Hookers git organized for a race an fit a sight it wis. 25 ti 40 fit immaculate black boats, maistly athoot engines, shiftable stane ballast, massive sail area, crewed bi four ti six lads wi great skill an nae a loud voice ti be heard. Efter the 18 Hookers set aff, Dick sailed roon the islands ahin thim ti the race finish far they hid food an a bit o' a party laid on. We went ashore ti the Connemara Pony an Dog show an were a bit surprised at the large attendance. Nae much o' a judge a horses bit they a' looked bonny,fit an frisky.especially the anes wi five legs. Ae lad wis dragged along the grun fin his ane took aff. Stayed ashore for wir very good supper an rowed oot for an early nicht. Mon 11th--- Rose at siven ti ANITHER bonny sunny morning an efter breakfast rowed ashore ti hae a look at a clock tower which we cid see fae the boat at the sooth end o' the village.Turned oot that it wis a' that wis left o' a monestary in a very well looked efter area wi craft shops an gairdens. We got milk an money which wisna easy ti get as the village wis busy an the one machine ran oot afore denner time, rowed oot an slipped wir moorin at 10am. Dick led us doon thru the islands o' the inner passage then bore awa mare southerly for the Aran Isles while we headed east for Galway wi the option o' stopping for a nicht at Rossaveal, a fishin hairber wi an anchorage a mile across fae it. Dick phoned his freen the HM an arranged an alongside berth for us so we went up the loch an wis directed ti lie aside a 40ft power cruiser or pigboat as the yanks ca' thim. There wis a few biggish trawlers there bit less than I expected which has been the case a' doon the west coast where we've hardly seen a boat. Difficult EU regs here as at hame. We wannert up the road for a mile or so an cwidna git ower the amount a stane dykes, sma paddocks wi a curn sheep,coos,ponies an donkies. Went in ti see the Hm on wye back ti pye wir dues bit it wis waived. He suggested we go up a different road for 15/20 meenits in the evenin ti an al' traditional pub so later on we hid a pleasant stroll up a windy road for haf an oor an nae sign o' the pub. Mo speered a lad in es gairden hu far it wis an he said it wis only anither twa mile !! We decided ti cairy on an five meenits later the lad drove up in a hale al' car an offert us a lift. The pub wis a bonny al' thatched place wi a peat fire gan an abody, young an al' spoke Irish. We hung aroon langer than we shid've hopin the lad wid gie us a lift back ,bit no, he jist supped awa wi his freens .It took us an oor ti wak back bit it wis a bonny nicht. 26 interestin miles again Tues 12th---Sailed 8am bound Galway. We managed ti sail for an oor then wis headed wi a licht easterly. We thocht aboot missin oot Galway an headin for the Aran Isles but Mo decided we shid cairy on ti Galway so motored close along the coast an picked up a waitin moorin ti wait for the gates ti open an oor afore high water. We entered wi twa ither boats an got a berth on the lang pontoon in the busy basin far we cid see twa big research boats an some biggish coasters. Mo met a lassie in the showers fa hid sailed wi five men fae Iceland, stopping at Stornawa' then Galway an were headin hame ti Iceland nonstop efter a couple a days. Nae for her she says. Poor attitude div yi nae think??. We're hopin ti bide for 2/3 days an see fit happens efter that. 22 miles.