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The North

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Fairwinds Round Ireland - The North
Aran Roads to Tory Island

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Tuesday 3rd August Aran Roads - Tory Island

We got our anchor at quarter to ten, then it was sails up and a fair wind for Tory most of the way - but with a little bit of beating at the end of course . . . Tory is a fascinating place for various reasons - it's the most remote of Ieland's inhabited offshore islands, and it is the only one still to have a king, albeit a democratically elected one. Various people had warned us that the inhabitants were all quite mad, and although we didn;t see any direct evidence there was a feeling that this is very much its own place.

En route to this mad mini-kingdom we enjoyed some modest sunshine and a sea that was almost blue, although it was chilly in the North Westerly breeze. Approaching Tory I went to take the main down and discovered that the boom had parted company with the mast at the gooseneck, so left the boom hanging on the topping lift and flaked the sail. We were tied up in Tory's excellent harbour exactly five hours after getting our anchor in Aran Roads. The harbour is dredged to 3m although care is needed in the approach if you arrive at exact LWS as we did. The secret is to stay close to the breakwater and hope nothing is coming out. Once inside the wall is smooth and there's a ladder, but keep clear of the steps as this is where the ferry berths. Only three or four fishing boats use the harbour, so there is always room and it's perfectly sheltered.

We were both shattered after the late night; things were getting cumulative and we were looking forward to a rest, but we were on the home stretch now. I mended the gooseneck - just a new bolt required - then we went for a short walk round the West end of the island and onto the N. coast. We came back to the boat, ate then immediately fell asleep.

Tory Island - Low Water
Main Street, Tory Island
Kathy on the N. Coast of Tory
The Tory Island ferry

We got up again at eleven and went over to the pub to see if there was any craic to be had and if maybe we would get to meet the King of the island, but Tuesday is obviously a night off for Tory so we went back to Fairwinds and bed after a pint of Smithwicks. I have to say that the pub - a surprisingly large and modern hotel built by a returning expatriate - is not very yacht friendly; the answer was a very definite no when we asked if it might be possible to have a shower.

I would recommend Tory harbour as a good stop if passing this corner of Ireland we would certainly like to go back and see more of the island. It's not that long a passage direct from Barra or Islay either - worth considering if the wind is right.

Teelin Aranmore Burtonport Tory Island Portsalon Portrush Home to Scotland