Saturday, 24 July 2010

On the West Coast

A busy day alround. The swing bridge was fixed, and so we were able to leave Gairlochy at 8am. Neptunes Staircase, a flight of 8 locks awaited. We arrived at 10am, to find the people coming up were still in the locks, and we finally started the long descent at about 1030.

Going down is less hard work than coming up, but not without its adrenaline rushes. You have a line running from the front and back of the boat, each wrapped around a hook on the lockside, which you release gradually as the water level drops. In the third lock the stern rope jammed, leaving the boat hanging from the lock wall. Robin grabbed a knife and cut the rope before any damage could be done. He then had to throw a new rope to one of the lockkeepers to stop Catabout drifting across the lock into the boat on the other side.

After a stop to refuel and top up the water tanks, we eventually left the canal and back to thinking about tides again at 4:00pm, heading down Loch Linnhe for the Corran Narrows. Here the land "pinches" the movement of water in the Loch, so that the water can run at 6 knots - you want it to be going in your direction! There is also a ferry that links the two sides at this point, so we had to time our run through the narrows with the ferry's sailings.

Once through, the Loch opened out again, but sadly we didn't get the full benefit of the views, as the weather closed right in. Got to the Sound of Shuna and moored for the night. What a day.

56 34.947' N 05 22.862' W

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