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Tarbert 18th August

Yacht Quintet
Visitors' Berth
Tarbert Marina
East Loch Tarbert

18th August, 2005

<-Campbeltown 17th August Rothesay 19th August->

We didn't wake early this morning. We were both completely knackered after yesterday's voyage, me steering all the day and Clive barely able to breath for his horrid cold. He did seem better this morning though. His cough didn't actually rattle the rigging the way that it did yesterday. And we are talking again.

Click for a larger imageThere was no wind first thing so we didn't rush, but by 11.00o'clock we were getting bored so we upped anchor and motored out of Campbeltown Loch, past the splendid lighthouse on Davar Island and out into Kilbrannan Sound. It was a fairly cool but bright, clear day as we turned north.

We had debated going to Rothesay on the Isle of Bute today but it looked too far so we headed for East Loch Tarbert at the entrance to Loch Fyne. This is little more than thirty miles and would have us in at a reasonable time to shower and eat ashore.

It was gone 1.30 when I was summoned on deck to hoist sail, so I put away the PC and went out into the sunshine to work the deck. We were just south of Carradale on the peninsula. Before long we were making a little more than three knots between the shores of Kintyre and the Isle of Arran.

As we approached the north end of Arran, the ferry pulled out from the quay at Loch Ranza and chugged its leisurely way across Claonaig Bay. The wind started to build and before we knew it we were racing towards Tarbert.

Click for a larger imageBy 6.00o'clock we were following a Sunsail boat through the narrow entrance where, so many years ago I managed to pile a GSA boat, Celtic Flame I think it was, against the flatrocks just inside the entrance. I was careful to advise Clive to get well inside the harbour before he turned towards the visitors' pontoons.

There was no room to moor alongside and we debated going round the back of the pontoon, but I was wary of the depth, so low in the tidal cycle, to get round the end. So we decided on double parking, second in from the end, the last berth already being double parked by the GSA boat Hebridean Flame.

As we ducked close behind a moored boat to turn in parallel to the pontoon, we rattled the bottom. Not much, just a little lurch and a tickle along the iron keel but I'm glad I'd already pulled the centreboard up!

We didn't quite get the mooring right the first time and had to back up a little and try again, but the second attempt was fine. Then it was over to Hebridean Flame to have a nose at this boat which I have tried to charter but which always seems fully booked.

They were a nice bunch of blokes aboard, just on their way back from Oban, doing the end of summer delivery from the outer Islands back to the autumn mooring at Largs. They were a particularly nice bunch as they invited us to look around the boat and then offered us a beer each. Thank you chaps. Then it was off to shower and change and then down to the Victoria Hotel.

For those who have never been to East Loch Tarbert, the Victoria Hotel is the yellow building on the north side of the harbour, and I mean 'seriously YELLOW!'

It is definitely a sailors' pub. There are photographs of local and not so local boats above the bar, lots of photographs. The partitions have J class boats etched on the glass. Even the carpet has a J class yacht motif. But best of all it does pretty good food.

I ordered king scallops with black pudding and haggis which was delicious and I followed it with beef and Guinness pie, just the usual pub casseroled meat with a separately baked pie crust dropped on top but, nevertheless, excellent.

Clive had a simple steak which arrived without the requested three peppers sauce, but which omission was eventually remedied. He said it was a pretty ordinary steak but the sauce and accompaniments were very good.

We had the house red, an Argentinian blend of merlot and shiraz, which was also very good. Then we went back to the Guinness. And, Trevor, please note that neither of us upended his glass on top of his head when we had finished.

We wore team shirts tonight, expecting that the crew of Hebridean Flame would be calling in for a beer on their way home, but, by midnight they hadn't turned up so we retired to Quintet and were very soon sleeping the noisy sleep of sated gluttony.

Les Sutcliffe

<-Campbeltown 17th August Rothesay 19th August->