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The North

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Fairwinds Round Ireland - The North
Tory Island to Portsalon, Loch Swilly

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Wednesday 4th August Tory Island - Portsalon

By now we were looking forward to stopping in one place for a while . . .we were too tired (again) to contemplate a dawn start to get a fair tide, so left just after eleven and accepted that we would have a foul tide most of the way to Loch Swilly it's not as strong to the W. of Malin Head, though, so it wasn't too bad. We left Tory in brilliant sunshine and about 20 knots of wind. The wind was supposed to be North or North Westerly, but was once again further forward of the beam than advertised, and we were almost close hauled all the way to the mouth of Loch Swilly.

While on passage the toilet broke - the little handle that switches between in and out modes was no longer doing anything. I realised that I had left the spare pump at home, so we resigned ourselves to the bucket for the rest of the trip. I have to say that the cheap Compass heads has been a complete pain in the proverbial, with the nasty cheap pump mechanism (this was the second one in a year) requiring copious quantities of vegetable oil on an almost daily basis to keep it functioning.

As we rounded Fanad Head into Loch Swilly the wind came aft and we had to drop the main due to the usual rolling. We motor-sailed the four miles down to Portsalon under genoa and Volvo.


There are visitors moorings at Portsalon round red buoys with no pickups, you have to lift the whole buoy to get to the enormous and reassuringly new looking chain underneath. As usual we had only been on the mooring an hour or less when the rolling started there is not much protection from swell here, but any better anchorage would be even further down the Lough and a longer trip back to the mouth in the morning. Loch Swilly is the best sailing area on the N. Coast, and again it is a place that could easily be explored from Scotland on a much shorter trip.

Portsalon is a holiday village new houses and apartments and hundreds of kids in wetsuits, on pedalos etc. We went ashore briefly for what would be our last pint of Smithwicks in the Republic and had a chat with one of the very few locals to be found in the place.

Teelin Aranmore Burtonport Tory Island Portsalon Portrush Home to Scotland