Got up around 7.30pm and went up to the saloon to join the others for breakfast. The sky and sea still looked turbulent and the weather hadn’t decided what it was going to do yet, but at least it was dry (for the moment!) 🙂
After a light breakfast of cornflakes, toast and marmalade, washed down with freshly brewed coffee, I went out on deck and took some photos of Tobermory, which looked so pretty with the colourful little buildings reflected in the water. I also wandered around the vessel and took some more photos of her. Cruising on a boat this size really is a very different way to have a holiday and, while we loved it, we could appreciate it wouldn’t be for everyone.
Skipper Jemma advised us that she would be moving the Glen Rosa to another pier in order to bunker fuel. She said it would take a couple of hours, and we were welcome to go ashore as long as we were back by 11.30am, before lunch and before we set sail for our next anchorage, which would be just off Duart Castle, home to the Scottish MacLean clan. She wanted to get us into sheltered waters as soon as possible, as there were warnings of strong gales in the wake of Hurricane Nigel, which was due to hit the north-west coast later on today. Here’s a screen shot from the Sky News web site:
The thought of being caught in this sort of weather on a titchy vessel like the Glen Rosa was disquieting indeed, but we had every faith in Skipper Jemma to keep us safe. And of course, Glen Rosa was an ex-RN training vessel; she probably behaved very well in rough seas. 🙂
Disembarking the boat from the sideways-steps lashed to her side, we strolled around the town, stretching our legs and enjoying the fresh salty air. Many of the shops didn’t open until 9.30am, but we browsed in a little shop that sold hand-made candles, soaps, lotions and lip-balms, and I bought three tins of lip balm for £12.00; a vanilla one, a peppermint one and one that’s supposed to taste of prosecco. My lips dry very easily (and especially in windy weather) so lip balm or salve will always come in very useful.
Once we were back on board Jemma and Charlie cast off the ropes, the engines gained momentum, and soon we were pulling away from the pier and setting sail once more, towing the grey fibreglass dinghy behind us.
It was a pleasant ride. We all enjoyed a pre-luncheon cold beer each and pottered around the vessel. At this stage the sea was not too choppy and it was easy to move around the Glen Rosa, although we did wish the sun would come out!
Lunch was the usual culinary masterpiece, courtesy of the legend that is Charlie the chef. We then spent the next couple of hours relaxing in the saloon, chatting, reading, surfing the internet and (in my case) doing some of this blog. Soon we could see Duart Castle on its hill in the distance, as Skipper Jemma reduced the engines as we glided along to our anchorage, which would allow us to take the grey tender dinghy ashore and visit the castle.
Dressing in our stout footwear and waterproofs, Trevor and I donned our lifejackets before descending the ladder and into the little liberty boat for the short ride across. Once Charlie made fast the dinghy with its rope securely tied to the ringbolt on the small wooden pier, he helped me out of the bobbing boat and onto the boards. You had to watch your step because the boards were slick with seaweed and lichen growing on the permanently-wet surface.
We watched as the dinghy sped back to the Glen Rosa to pick up the next two passengers, before making our way along the path and up to Duart Castle.
We remembered sailing past Duart Castle on the Borealis in July 2021; because Covid restrictions were still in force then, we were unable to visit the castle, but today we could. 🙂
It was extremely interesting. It was built in the 13th century and, over time, was allowed to fall into ruins until it was purchased by Sir Fitzroy Donald Maclean, the 26th Chief of the Clan MacLean, and restored.
By 2012, additional restorations were required and a fund was set up to accept donations for this purpose. To this day, it remains the seat of the Clan MacLean, the current chief of which is Sir Lachlan MacLean, the 12th Baronet.
We had a really good browse around the castle, which had lots of photographs of the MacLean families past and present. You could see where the castle had been renovated or modernised in parts; a new addition to the building showed where the castle was still inhabited. Works were still going on, as was evidenced by the scaffolding on the seaward side of the edifice. Wow! Imagine living in your own castle. How cool is that?!
We climbed up several very narrow spiral staircases until we emerged at the castle ramparts. From here we had wonderful views over Loch Duart, and we could see the Glen Rosa slowly turning on her anchor, the little liberty boat bobbing gently behind. I used the excellent zoom facility on my Samsung phone to get a photo of her.
Once we’d explored everything we could in the castle, we arrived back at the seaweedy landing stage and looked across to the Glen Rosa, where we could see Charlie moving about on the stern. Trevor (who was very visible in his red coat) waved across and Charlie soon spotted him; it was only a matter of minutes before the dinghy arrived and transported us back to the Glen Rosa. From there, I was able to photograph the castle.
Once everyone was back on board, Jemma weighed anchor and the Glen Rosa was soon underway again to our sheltered anchorage for tonight in Loch a’ Choire. It wasn’t too rough and we wondered whether the legendary Hurricane Nigel was going to be kind and miss us out – we certainly hoped so!
When we arrived at our lovely little loch, we saw that we had company tonight; sister vessel Glen Tarsan was already at anchor. The weather was still a bit dreich, with a complete covering of cloud, and the nearby mountains were only dim outlines in the mist. The dull skies made it seem later than it actually was.
After a power nap, we got washed and changed and freshened up, then made our way as usual along to the saloon for another scrumptious meal. We started with canapés of venison pâté with whole blackberry on an oat biscuit, as well as chorizo wrapped cheese. This was followed by juicy tender chicken, tenderstem broccoli, more chorizo, celeriac and a delicious gravy. I really couldn’t manage a dessert, no matter how tempting it looked. Our meal was washed down with wine and finished off with the inevitable whisky. 🙂
Afterwards, we all sat around talking, laughing and passing the time in the usual pleasant way as darkness fell. We could see muted lights on the Glen Tarsan but, apart from that, there was only the twinkling of lights from the remote little dwellings we could see in the distance. It had stopped raining, but there was still that ever-present mist that formed a dew on your skin and made your hair curl.
It was about 11.00pm when Trevor and I decided to turn in. Once again we were the last ones out of the saloon, and we went below decks to our tiny cabin and settled down. We could hear the sea slapping gently against the hull of the Glen Rosa as she rotated slowly on her anchor, and we soon fell asleep in our comfortable bed.
Still no sign of Nigel.