Jura, Corryvreckan and Colonsay

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We introduced a new itinerary for 2016 – Jura, Corryvreckan and Colonsay.  This proved to be a success, with great feedback from guests, and we are running a similar cruise in 2017.  Skipper Tim gives his account of the cruise: (Photos by guest Elizabeth and skipper Tim)

It’s a different start to this cruise, it’s Saturday and we’ve got eleven guests aboard eight of whom have been before so there are some familiar faces – but this time we are going south.  Not been south for a while, years in fact, last time was on Zuza and we have some guests who sailed on her. It means there are tides to work out, this being Corryvreckan territory as well as the Dorus Mor and the Sound of Jura where going against the tide is not an option unless you want to go very slowly and burn lots of fuel. 

First night it’s anchor down in Eileen Dubh Beag a little known anchorage north of Scarba. The morning appears calm so it’s over to the Garvellachs but this being open Atlantic there is too much swell running for landing but we thread our way in and out of them. Then across to the famous Gulf of Corryvreckan and its whirlpool. It’s calm but it doesn’t disappoint as we spend an hour or more drifting and motoring in the Gulf. Then it’s into Glean Nam Muck, west-loch-tarbet-jura-by-tim-wearThe Bay of Pigs which is situated on the north end of Jura in the Gulf. A quick reminder by the Gulf as we enter, as HBJ rides the swell, our stabilisers work so well. Guests ashore for walks up the hills which offer fine views of the tide and the standing wave caused by a shelf where the bottom comes up from 190m to 27m. Others stay on the sandy beach in the bright sun.

Then it’s through the Dorus Mor and anchor down behind Eileen Righ just north of Crinan. Morning wet and windy so it’s walks ashore in Crinan but the afternoon brings flat sea and it’s a gentle motor down to Craighouse on the southeast end of Jura.

Tuesday and the sun is out so walks ashore at Craighouse. Last few times I have been here it’s been dark as taking part in The Scottish Islands Three Peaks Race so it looks somewhat different, prosperous and busy.  After lunch on board it’s up the Sound of Islay past 2 distilleries and round to Nave Island off the NW coast of Islay. A little visited place and the Grey Seals which are pupping are very concerned and inquisitive as we go ashore. Only  one building on the island with a big chimney and it has everyone confused as it’s meant to be a chapel? This is open Atlantic as well so big swell running so it’s over to West Loch Tarbert for the night and blackberry and apple pie for pudding picked at Craighouse in the morning.

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In the morning it’s walks ashore and even a swim. Beautiful wild place with fantastic raised beaches. Late morning and it’s a calm motor up to Balnahard Bay on the north end of Colonsay for lunch, after which a couple of hours were had on the sandy shore. Then up to Loch Spelvie for the night as a bit of a blow comes in.  In the morning walks around Croggan and a quick chat with John and Cathy who live on the shore, John used to skipper HBJ before he went over to the dark side by working for Calmac. First sighting of an otter for one of our guests. Late morning anchor up and lunch on the way to Port Ramsay at the North end of Lismore with short excursion on the shore.

Friday morning into Oban in time for everyone to get ashore before a big blow arrives.

And a final comment from one of our guests

“Just to say how much I enjoyed the Jura Corryvreckan cruise – it was outstanding as we reached such remote beautiful places”

DID YOU KNOW?

Monachs. The main islands of Ceann Ear, Ceann Iar and Shivenish are all linked at low tide. At one time it was possible to walk all the way to Baleshare, and on to North Uist, five miles away at low tide.