Our tenth anniversary season got off to a wonderful start with both vessels on a one-way cruise from Holy Loch, near Dunoon, around the Mull of Kintyre to Oban. The weather was kind with little wind, and periods of sunshine while the wildlife put in an appearance too.
Skipper Iain on the Glen Tarsan was ably assisted by Chef Stephen, Engineer Gavin and Bosun “young “ Stephen
Skipper Sandy on the Glen Massan was supported by Chef Andie, Engineer Ray and Bosun Claire
For much of the journey the boats travelled together from the Clyde in south Argyll to The Inner Hebrides and Oban in the north of Argyll.
The first stopover for both vessels was the charismatic anchorage at Carrick Castle in Loch Long where both chefs competed for the best first dinner on board ever! Steve and Andie each provided their legendary seafood buffet with mussels, languostines and crab. There was plenty of birdlife about with large rafts of eider and guillemot, and close sightings of porpoises and seals.
Sunday got off to a rainy start as the boats set off for Bute but, as it often does on the west coast, the weather cleared to provide a lovely sunny sail from Rothesay to East Kyle in the stunning Kyles of Bute. Previously guests enjoyed a visit to the amazing Mount Stuart. There were more birds to be seen, in particular rafts of eider, with razorbills, cormorants, guillemots and gulls also spotted.
Monday began very socially as the guests of Glen Massan joined the guests of Glen Tarsan for breakfast. Both Skippers were very focused on the weather as it was the day to “round the Mull” which can on occasion be fairly exposed. However, the weather Gods smiled on our vessels which enjoyed smooth seas and some sunshine as they navigated the Mull of Kintyre and onwards to Jura. With great views of the Isle of Gigha on the East and Islay on the west, our vessels held for Jura, anchoring off Craighouse. Much of the marine wildlife was still out and about with common dolphin, porpoise and common seal all spotted as well as fulmars, kittiwakes and black guillemots.
Tuesday dawned and guests from both boats went ashore for a guided tour of Jura distillery followed by both vessels then cruising the length of Loch Sween, past the ruins of twelfth century Loch Sween Castle to the charming village of Tayvallich. The Osprey nest on Loch Sween could be clearly seen as the vessels cruised past and already the pair of Ospreys were in residence. Guillemot and Canada geese were also spotted. Stopping over in Loch Sween, some guests took the walk to Carsaig beach on the west side of the peninsula and were rewarded with excellent views of Jura and some seals.
On Wednesday both boats cruised to picturesque Crinan for a lunchtime anchorage with buzzard, oystercatcher and heron spotted on the way. The weather had become a bit dull, but spirits were raised with a birthday cake for a guests on the Glen Tarsan at afternoon tea and the sight of a pair of rare northern divers at the mouth of Crinan Bay and some porpoise. The vessels then continued on their voyage north, leaving Jura behind, passing into a delightful small island landscape with the Craignish Peninsula on the mainland on the right and the “Slate Isles” and Isle of Scarba on the left. The journey was aided by the following sea of the “tidal gate” Dorus Mhor and the sun appearing from time to time finally anchoring in Fearnach Bay in Loch Melfort for the night. Buzzard, oystercatcher and heron were
On Thursday morning, all guests on the Glen Tarsan went ashore for a sunny walk on the shores of Loch Melfort followed by a wonderful short cruise to the Sound of Seil for lunch. Guests went ashore to walk over the humpbacked Clachan Bridge joining tiny Seil Island with the Scottish mainland. The late afternoon sun provided a perfect cruise in Hebridean light as the Glen Tarsan headed for Duart Castle on Mull and then to the next inlet on the Mull Coast, Loch Spelve for overnight. The Glen Massan guests opted for a trip ashore at Easdale, joining the Glen Tarsan in Loch Spelve. The combined wildlife count for the day was wild goat, red deer, a white tailed eagle, seals and great northern divers. Loch Spelve is famed for its otters but unfortunately none were feeling sociable.
On the Friday morning, it was time to head back over the Firth of Lorne from Mull to Oban and disembarkation with memories of wonderful voyage from South to North Argyll around the Mull of Kintyre.