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Rothesay 19th August

Yacht Quintet
Visitors' Berth
Isle of Bute

19th August, 2005

<-Tarbert 18th August Rothesay 20th August->

Having decided we would go to Rothesay today, we thought that we had better leave reasonably early. Rothesay Harbour fills pretty quickly on a Friday afternoon as many boats from Inverkip and Largs, going away for the weekend, make Rothesay their first stop.

Talking to the boys on Hebridean Flame, it turned out they were going to Rothesay too. There might be a party yet!

We got away early, for us anyway, 10.15. Are you impressed or what? As we motored out of East Loch Tarbert into sunlit Loch Fyne, a local fishing boat came roaring in. Do Scottish fishermen have a different 'knot' to the rest of us? The sign in the entrance says 'SLOW, Max 4 knots'. I would have put him at ten knots at least.

Click for a larger imageWe hoisted sail just outside the harbour entrance and were making quite a reasonable speed in the light air and against the incoming tide. At 11.00o'clock we watched a rain squall pass to the south of us. It's not like weather to miss us. We usually get the lot.

Click for a larger imageWe could see Hebridean Flame a couple of miles southeast of us. Even under cruising chute she was barely making any ground so we debated whether we should motor now, down to Ardlamont Point, and get round into West Kyle while there was still a bit of tide running north. I went below to check the depth of water through the channel north of Sgat Mor and as I came back on deck Clive seemed to be involved in some sort of weird sailing freemasonry ritual. I didn't ask what it meant. One doesn't like to pry.

Moments later I saw what looked very much like a whale spout in Asgog Bay. I scanned the water but no sign of the whale. Apparently it has been a good year for whale and dolphin sightings. We've not seen anything bigger than a dolphin on this trip yet.

Click for a larger imageWe motored around Ardlamont Point and turned into the West Kyle but there was not a lot of wind. We motored on, catching up with three yachts, including Hebridean Flame, tacking up the sound.

But there was no way that we were going to point high enough to make reasonable progress. And we really wanted a berth in Rothesay tonight.

Click for a larger imageEventually, as we approached Tighnabruaich, the wind started to go aft so we rehoisted sail and began a great reach towards Burnt Islands and the narrows into East Kyle. It was great fun as we managed to stay with and even overtake the more modern yachts. Mind you it didn't last long and we tailed the fleet through the narrow channel for the run down to Rothesay.

Once through the narrows the wind went very square and just didn't have enough pressure to move us against the tide, we did seem to be pushing tide all day, so we hauled down our sails and motored towards this evening's harbour. Pretty soon the other boats around us were doing the same.

Hebridean Flame motored alongside us and we were handed two cold cans. These guys are just wonderful! We gratefully sipped our beer as we followed our benefactors into Rothesay Bay.

Hebridean Flame disappeared round the breakwater, into the harbour and once we'd given them some time to make fast, we called them on the radio to ask whether there were still berths available. They confirmed that there was just one pen left vacant and they promised to be ready to take our lines when we arrived. So, within a few minutes we were inside the harbour with eager hands tying us to the pontoon. Immediately we invited them for drinks, Pimms of course, on the first sunny afternoon in weeks. I then dashed off to the Co-op to buy more lemonade, ice and a few beers in case Pimms was not to the guests' liking.

Eventually the boys came over and perched in and around Quintet's diminutive cockpit sipping Pimms, exchanging stories and admiring Quintet. I think 'compact' and 'cosy' were adjectives that were voiced a number of times.

They really were quite abstemious, leaving part way through the second jug and leaving Clive and me to hoover up the remaining half jug.

On arriving in Rothesay, I had seen a poster on the dock advertising a concert this very night at the Pavilion; Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham, duet of fiddle player and accordionist extraordinaire. I telephoned and confirmed that tickets were still available and then dashed up the street to pick them up. This meant that we had to shower and change and eat before 8.30 if we were to get to the Pavilion early enough to get a good seat; seats were not preassigned.

I went for the team shirt and blazer look. Clive stayed with the jeans and fleece. I asked him why his fleece was covered in grass. He giggled as he recalled that this is what he was wearing when he fell in the ditch.

We dined at the West End fish and chip Café before going on to the concert. The fish and chips were good. The concert was wonderful.

Click for a larger imageThe Rothesay pipe band did a brief but spirited performance and then the fiddle and accordion took over. The music was great and the stories were hilarious. I wonder where they're playing next?

Click for a larger image

Les Sutcliffe

<-Tarbert 18th August Rothesay 20th August->