For a change of air - and water, we headed South the time. Brodick to Girvan, having not been near Girvan since 1979, and never visited by boat. We came in at nearly HW, and met Waverley reversing out in a hurry. There was no sea to speak of and the bar was well covered. The pontoon is way up the river to STBD. Plenty of fishing boats around - but much quieter than Tarbert or Campbeltown!
There is about 1.6m at LW - with VERY soft mud, so we were attached until the next tide anyway! Decent HM -Roddy.
Off down the coast on the next flood, to Wig Bay in Loch Ryan. Atlantic swell/surf DOES get to the mainland coast south of Girvan, for a few miles. All of Loch Ryan is fairly shallow, some of it VERY shallow, so anchoring off the sailing club in Wig Bay was done with a fair bit of tide checking! Car ferries in & out of Cairn Ryan all the time. Very constrained by depth, so they stick to the channels like glue.
A cracking sail was had past Corsewall Pt, and over to Bangor. Funny how the North Channel gets called a busy shipping lane, since apart from 2 ferries - we saw nothing other than a few porpoises! We spent 2 nights in Bangor - and went into Belfast to the Titanic exhibition by train. Excellent decision and well worth a visit. However it is so busy -you must pre-book, you can't just turn up.
Next day - with the tide we headed past the Copelands and off to Peel on the west coast of IOM. Basically 50 miles, again hardly a boat to be seen. Peel has a HW +-2 hours window to access the flap gate, which proved simple. As my wife's brother lives south of Peel, we spent 3 nights ashore and explored. An interesting island (TT race aside).
We sailed back to Bangor via the Mull of Galloway, getting a little foul tide as we neared Bangor , but nothing too bad. Next morning a short hop up to Glenarm. (The forecast was F6-F7 "later", so I didn't fancy that with the tides on this coast)
Despite what the advertising says - there is nowhere in Glenarm to buy a meal. 2 pubs and a general store -that's your lot.
Next morning it was blowing very hard, so we found a bus going to Coleraine - via the Giant's Causeway, up the coast road. A fascinating wee trip. The sun came out as we got there, and remained out most of the time. Ballycastle got a couple of hours before we headed back to Glenarm.
The next day we took the conveyor belt (tide) up to Rathlin, hitting silly SOG east of Ballycastle (11Kts). The menu in the Manor House is not bad, and considerably better than the burger 'n chips of the nearby pub. Walk out to the East lighthouse for the view- about 30mins each way. An impressive view.
On the following morning we had about 15Kts Easterly, not so handy to get at Sanda, but with the tide coming in, we were able to sail a beam reach to Sanda letting the tide do the East for us. Not a soul in the Bay there. We ate at the pub - after a walk to the lighthouse.
Very well cooked & presented, but expensive. No wonder people shun the place these days. We met the man who used to run the pub, doing bird inventories at the lighthouse. A rather bitter state of affairs on the island it seems.
Timing another tide we scooted up past Campbeltown, and ended up in Carradale Bay, where we topped up on numerous suicidal mackerel after a lunch stop. The rest of the trip to LochRanza was with the gennaker up, in sunshine! LochRanza was mobbed!
Back to Ardrossan via Brodick, and we caught yet more mackerel while waiting for the ferry to clear out of Ardrossan.
We didn't have time to go further west - beyond Malin Head... but it looks an interesting coast . We'll be back some day.
Probably West of Kintyre again next year, but North or South... difficult decision
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