Nik throws in the towell – just too cold and too wet
You may remember that I posted some films from NIk about his journey around the UK in his boat. Sadly he has decided that Scotland in an unheated boat is a tough proposition and will be throwing in the towell when he gets to Oban.
It is always a shame when a bloke gets to the best bit and has to stop filming
We were slightly worried that we wouldn’t get the first flight up this morning but we were the last boat in of six. It is a very good job that we moved the boat last night so we were closer to the front of the waiting pontoons because it does appear that this decides your position. Not when you arrived. So we might have arrived the previous afternoon but if someone cheekily pushes to the front on arrival they’ll beat you into the loch.
Typical of the conditions since Stonehaven it was wet and windy, the strongest winds saved for when we were motoring down Loch Oich. Thankfully the swing bridges and locks worked perfectly and we were soon moored up, with shore power at Laggan Locks. Very briefly the thick grey clouds became thinner white ones and we enjoyed lunch in the cockpit. Before normal service was resumed, the boom tent came out, and the rain started.
Given that we were finished by 2:30pm we decide to walk part of the Great Glen Way. In the end the round trip was about 10 miles. Then Pam managed to rustle up a great evening meal with the very limited ingredients that I still have on board. We really need to find a supermarket.
Unrelentingly bad weather in Scotland is making this trip far too much of an endurance test. I was looking forward to the 20 mile trip along Loch Ness, but 30-35kt winds on the bow and unremitting rain made this yet another day of endurance with very little fun.
When we got to Fort Augustus at the South West end of Loch Ness we planed to go up the flight of locks. We radioed the lock-keeper and he said that the next lock up was approximately 4:30pm. Since it was about 2:15pm at the time we went for an explore and a pub lunch. Got back to the boat shortly after 3:30pm and radioed to confirm the time only to be told that because we weren’t there at 3:30pm and a commercial vessel wanted to come down, the next flight up would 9am the next day. We were less than impressed. At the bottom we had no shore power, but at the top there was shore power and that is why we wanted to overnight at the top not the bottom. Given that the night time temperatures drop to 8 degrees having shore power Papillon has an electric kettle, toaster, heating and water heating. Hardly the lap of luxury at the best of times shore power makes somewhere cold, wet and windy a lot more bearable.
I’ve made the decision that Oban is my final port and that after that the boat goes up for sale. Rivers and the Med appeal and the Western Isles on a 40-50 footer with a group of guys but not on a 24 footer solo. I’ve had a lot of fun doing short weekend sails on Papillon, but she is simply too small for an extended trip.