Skye and Small Isles 6-night cruise: 17th – 23 September
Oban – Loch na Droma Buidhe
Our first steam provided great scenery, especially in the spectacular late summer light. One very distant eagle was spotted soaring over the Morvern hills and we had guillemots, razorbills and gulls galore, but no gannets this time. We anchored in Loch na Droma Buidhe and sat down for our first meal: apricot and mozzarella salad; salmon ballotine; and spiced apple crumble.
Loch na Droma Buidhe - Rum
In the morning we steamed across to Bloody Bay but our stars for the summer, the two white-tailed eagles, where nowhere to be seen. As if to make up for lack of eagles a Minke whale appeared just south of Ardnamurchan, but only a couple of the guests were able to spot it in amongst the big waves. After the crossing our guests were happy to hear the sound of the anchor dropping in Loch Scresort on Rum. On our shore walk we peeked in through as many castle windows as we could (not the ballroom ones obviously as these are raised specifically to avoid peeking), “aaaww”ed at the very cute Highland pony foals, spotted dippers along the river and buzzards soaring in the sky, and then returned to the boat to dry off before dinner. Martin served up farmhouse pâté on toast; pan-seared pork chop on bed of parsnip purée with honey roasted beets and parsnip; and lemon posset for dessert. Also that day we had noticed a manx shearwater bird struggling to fly for a long time at Rum. Skipper Cameron and myself went and rescued it, it was most likely water logged so we dried it out and then set it free off the bow. Hopefully it had a happy ever after!
Rum - Canna – Tobermory
We steamed from Rum to Canna with lovely views of the Rum Cuillins on the way. On leaving Loch Scresort we spotted about 15 harbour porpoises, popping up all around us in the calm seas like little car tyres. Canna was basking in the sun and we went ashore to sip in some vitamin D and stretch our legs. We walked across to Sanday, then to the 6th century Celtic cross and to the prison tower on the way back. Canna yet again captured the hearts of our guests and many “I love Canna” badges have now been bought by our guests over the summer. Back onboard we got news that the forecast was to change so we were forced to retreat back to the Sound of Mull. Our steam down was happily interrupted by some very bow riding happy common dolphins as we were passing Muck!! Soon enough we were steaming into the Sound of Mull and into Tobermory bay. That evening’s dinner was butternut squash and goat’s cheese risotto; pan fried sea bass on a bed of buttered greens and sautéed new potatoes with funnel chanterelles (picked by the chef on Rum!); and fresh berry pavlova for desert, which was delicious!
Tobermory to Carna
The morning was spent exploring Aros park, the shops in town and/or by walking to Rubh na Gall lighthouse where the lighthouse keeper very kindly made us coffee and tea. After lunch the guests visited Tobermory distillery to sample some of the local drams. We set of in the late afternoon and as we passed Calve Island on our way to Loch Sunart a majestic golden eagle flew past the boat! We anchored at the South side of Carna and sat down to another lovely dinner: beetroot couscous with balsamic glazed beets and feta cheese; beef and black pudding pie with creamy mashed potato; and the best ever (as voted by the guests) sticky toffee pudding for desert!
On Wednesday the winds were howling, but to be stormbound in Loch Sunart is not necessarily a bad thing as it’s one of the most scenic lochs in Scotland. We went ashore to explore Glen Bay and the Ardnamurchan nature centre, came back for lunch and then set out to along the loch in search for a sheltered anchorage and for a bit of sightseeing. We had little luck in finding a sheltered spot so we opted for heading back to where we anchored on the first night in Loch na Droma Buidhe. The guests spent the evening fishing, playing scrabble or reading whilst waiting patiently for dinner which a few hours later was revealed to be spinach and orzo salad with haloumi, red onion and olives; fish pie with smoked local haddock, salmon, trout and prawns; and strawberry cheesecake for desert. Whilst we were filling up our stomachs we felt sorry for the bellowing stags on the hillsides that fast for the whole length of the rutting season!
Loch na Droma Buidhe - Loch Spelve
On the way down the Sound of Mull we spotted a white-tailed eagle in the distance on one of the Green Isles. More eagle action was followed at the Morvern side with two white-taileds sitting on top of the ridge surrounded by ravens potentially attempting to steal a bite of the eagles’ breakfast. We steamed past Duart Castle and into beautiful Loch Spelve. Guests enjoyed the shore walk with five lapwings being the highlight and the scenery was lovely. Back onboard we were treated to a fantastic dinner with Loch Spelve mussels (home to Inverlussa mussel farm) for starter; parmesan crusted chicken on a bed of butternut squash purée with roast potatoes; and bread and butter pudding for desert.
After a big breakfast we set out for the last leg across the Firth of Lorne and up the Sound of Kerrera. So again we were saying our farewells to another fantastic group of guests with whom we’ve shared many laughs and good moments. Hope to see you back again next year for more adventures!