Plockton, Kyleakin, Ornsay & The Biscuit Tin Castle

It is the tail end of the sailing season and again picking our spots to shelter from gales, it seems to be 1 day sailing and 3 days of gale is the current formula.  Plockton was todays destination and it was actually a very pleasant sail from Rona with the sun out and win in the sails – turns out it was the best we would have for a while.  Plockton was a very sweet inviting bay with a castle on the hill, looking picture postcard perfect when we sailed in as the sun was setting behind it.

Duncraig Castle – Plockton
Approaching Plockton

One of the first bays we have been to where there was a dedicated anchoring area in a prime position inside the mooring buoys (normally mooring buoys get priority and you anchor outside this area – on the edge where the wind will catch you, just out of the shelter).  We cruised by the mooring buoys to check out the price (knowing it was going to blow up the next day) as we had read they were £5 a night but closer inspection on the tags actually revealed £15 per nights so being the thrifty (broke without jobs) sailors that we are dropped the anchor – for free.

Turns out it was another wifi black spot (there are many of these in the UK), meaning we had to have a beer in the local pub to hook into wifi and check the weather – lucky we were on anchor and not paying for a mooring buoy as we could then afford a pint each.

We snuck around the corner (a short 3 miles) to Kyleakin (under the bridge to Island of Sky) to set ourselves up for the next leg through Kyle Rhea which is a sound (or run) which is very tidal and must be taken with the tide or you will be going backwards.  On arrival we got that little beep beep indicating wifi signal and after checking the tides, wind and weather and looking at the options for mooring/acnhor in Kyleakin under the bridge where the tide and current was strong, we decided to head back to Plockton for two days to wait out another gale before heading south.

It was also here that we received communications from Australia that we would be getting a visitor from home Nov/Dec!  First to come and visit and stay on Red Roo, which also means we have our first ever deadline, needing to be at a certain place on a certain date – well actually more of an aim as we can always catch a train and pick them up and bring them back to wherever we are, but the aim will be to be in London to meet them.  Next job finding Red Roo a berth in the River Themes!

Finally made passage for Ornsay through Kyle Rhea and were even able to time a side passage into Loch Alsh and Loch Duich to see the Biscuit Tin Castle before going through the sound with the tide.  Eilean Donan Castle (thirteenth century) is one of the most recognised castles in Scotland, and probably appears on more shortbread tins and calendars than any other, hence it’s nickname – biscuit tin castle.

Picked up a mooring buoy in a bay off the Isle of Ornsay, just as the sun was setting (and the wind and waves really starting to whip up).  Fees for the morning payable at the pub however after waiting out the gale onboard the entire next day (not safe to launch the dingy to go to the pub and pay), we phoned offering a credit card payment only to be told “that’s fine have those two nights on us – it is rotten weather out there and we don’t envy you rocking around in the boat”.  Therefore early the next morning (sparrows fart 05:00) we took off for the short trip into Mallaig before the wind could again gather momentum and ruin the day.

Kyle Rhea

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