Sail Around Islay

“Let’s Sail Around Islay this weekend” two of my lifelong friends said. It seemed like a good idea on Monday of this week. However, I am writing this blog on Saturday morning having been drifting off the Mull of Kintyre for all of last night with no wind.

Our pledge was that we would leave Largs Marina on Friday afternoon and sail around the Mull of Kintyre, circumnavigate Islay and return to the marina late on Sunday – with a few island stops en route. I can tell you now – that timetable is shot.

sail around islayThere is currently a thick haar between the north coast of Ireland and the bottom of the Mull of Kintyre. We are drifting with no wind in the North Channel and a reluctance to start the Iron Donkey (that’s the yacht’s engine to non sailors!). Such is technology, I have a signal on my mobile phone and can upload this blog from our yacht when I complete it.

We will take a decision shortly about our sail around Islay trip – there is a school of thought that says we forget about our sail around Islay, head for Campbeltown and reflect on out aborted trip in one of the local hostelries whilst sampling some of the fine Campbeltown malts that were matured only a short distance from the harbour.

Our boat is a Moody 35 – with plenty of room onboard for three chaps like us – none of us snore (honest) and we each have our own sleeping space. The grub on board is acceptable mainly thanks to Mr. Fray and Mrs. Bentos. We don’t drink when at sea (safety first), and revel in sailing on the west coast of Scotland with all the distilleries that are close to hand, virtually only an overnight’s sail away from our marina base.

We often sail through the night so we can enjoy a full day ashore taking in the sights on the islands, drams and very important to us gourmands; the sea fish that we either cook on board having purchased lobster and scallops straight from the fishing boats, or else eat in the great bars that feature close to the shoreline on many islands on the west coast of Scotland.sail around islay

Our boat “Shenanigan” has served us well in the years that she has been owned by my friend of over 40 years, “Stevie the handyman”. Stevie is fairly clueless when it comes to DIY – he is called “the handyman” because he lived right next door to our school. Also on board is “Big Fraser, the mechanic”. Happily, Fraser is a mechanic and all things mechanical / electrical on board are in good hands with Fraser. And me? Well, I’m just happy to advise and recommend the menu and drams for our trips. .

If you have ever had any thoughts about visiting the west coast of Scotland and haven’t done so – you will not be disappointed if you do visit. The people and the scenery are wonderful. Travel here by car, train, bus or plane (there are airports at Campbeltown, Islay, Barra and Tiree, to name a few) and stay in one of the very many small hotels and B&B’s that are in the area. We Scots can guarantee you great hospitality, food and drink – but we stop at guaranteeing good weather.

The Iron Donkey has just sprung into life – we are on our way to Campbeltown. Islay, we’ll see you next time there is a favourable wind.


Whisky Ian.