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Portpatrick to Bangor 25 September 2022

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  With a forecast of strong winds later in the afternoon we deemed it prudent to head for home in the morning.  We set off at 08.45 and got into Bangor just before 12.00. Even then we had a brisk headwind, giving us a lumpy trip back, though because it was a headwind it wasn’t as uncomfortable as Friday’s beam sea crossing.  A couple of short videos gives a feeling for the trip: The trip was uneventful (fortunately) and finished with a successful docking in Bangor using our new custom made docking ropes.  Very pleasing. Followed by a restorative coffee.  Happy days. Saying goodbye to Portpatrick - we’ll be back. Our route:

Portpatrick - an absolute gem 24 September 2022

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  Portpatrick town and harbour as seen from close to the grand Portpatrick Hotel We have been exceptionally lucky with the weather - a northerly breeze accompanied by clear blue skies and a warming sun. Beautiful. The Southern Upland Way starts (or ends) in Portpatrick.  It is a coast to coast long distance footpath, stretching 212 miles from Portpatrick to Cockburnspath on the east coast.  We decided to walk the first mile or two along the coast to Killantringan Lighthouse at Black Head.  With sun beaming down on us it was a fabulous walk - a bit like walking the SW Coast Path in Cornwall and Devon.  Along the way at the sand beach in Port Mora we were treated to a local driftwood sculpture - some people have a wonderfully creative eye.  A driftwood sand monster in Port Mora A bit further along the path is Killantringan Lighthouse, now disused as a lighthouse but actively used as a private house - what a place to live! By the time we got back  - it was about a 6 mile round walk - we w

Bangor to Portpatrick 23 September 2022

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  Left Bangor shortly before 14.00 to head for Portpatrick for the weekend.  After a calm beautiful morning we thought the crossing would be a sunbathing, relaxing breeze.  It was certainly a breeze - a really fresh breeze from the NNW, meaning it was broadside to us, making what should be a fairly short trip, feel long and lumpy.   Apart from the many lumps the main excitement was playing chicken with two large American navy RFAs.   Lazaway is the small pink vessel crossing in front of the two large turquoise vessels. We made it! We have busy since our last blog posting - at least Gordon has been.  Several jobs that needed doing have been sorted. Clockwise from top left: the inverter, wrongly installed in Plymouth, has been fixed by Brian Hanna in Bangor; a new 400amp fuse replaces the wrongly installed 300amp fuse; new visual cm gauge installed on the two fuel tanks; new double USB port installed at the flybridge helm; all the engine anodes have been replaced (5 per engine - though a

Troon to Bangor 26 August 2022

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  Early morning rain sweeping along the Ayrshire coast Up early and away from Troon marina at 06.30 for quite a long haul home to Bangor.  The sea is calm as forecast, and there is a bit of rain about, also as forecast. Although we started on the flybridge we had to retreat inside after about an hour.  This actually is the very first time since we got the boat that we have travelled in the saloon.  It feels a little strange, less connected to our surroundings.  I dare say we will get used to it. Our inside helm with chart showing our position as we approach Ailsa Craig, with Ailsa Craig visible on the horizon  The only excitement today was being the filling in a Lazaway sandwich, where the white bread slices were Stena ferries.  We could see the ferry from Cairnryan catching us from behind and the one from Belfast coming towards us - we were right down the middle. MarineTraffic showed it up rather well (as captured by Gordon): The rest of the run home was uneventful, arriving Bangor ju

Tarbert to Troon 25 August 2022

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  Entering the Kyles of Bute on a beautiful day Left Tarbert at 10.15, destination Troon.  Despite rain before breakfast we set out with light winds and lots of sun.  The sea was pretty calm. Gorgeous. Our first adventure was to go through the Kyles of Bute, a narrow and extremely picturesque route. Leaving the narrowest point of the Kyles - the automatic pilot worked brilliantly through here. Next, we headed round to Kip to refuel. Diesel at Kip is £1.50 per litre, at Tarbert it is £1.58, at Troon £1.84, at Portavady £1.82, and we think it is still over £2.00 at Bangor.   When we filled up we took 676 litres, which works out at 21.46 litres per hour since our last refill. This is very consistent with previous figures. Within 45 minutes we were on our way again heading for Troon. A 3 hour run with an ETA shortly after 17.00. The run down to Troon was fresh at times, but not rough.  Arrived into Troon to a lovely big berth - apparently someone else’s permanent berth available tonight on

Tarbert and Skipness 24 August 2022

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  Tarbert has quite a large marina for leisure boats but it is still an important and active fishing harbour - the immediately adjacent Loch Fyne is renowned for seafood produce. Apparently the controversial ring-net fishing method (used for herring locally) was invented by Tarbert fishermen.  The method was too efficient, and while briefly outlawed in the mid-1800s, it was used well into the 1900s. By 1921 there were 40 pairs of skiff vessels ring-net fishing for herring from Tarbert.  Harbour Street became lined with ‘Farlans’ - purpose built, salt-filled barrels - and women who gutted, cleaned and cured the fish.   When the numbers of herring crashed in the later 20th century local fishermen turned to catching shellfish, and particularly prawns - Langoustine.  Today’s boat names are ever hopeful or sentimental: As a result of reading a very positive article in the Guardian in the middle of June we decided to take the bus to visit The Seafood Cabin at Skipness, a little place a few m

Campbeltown to Tarbert 23 August 2022

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  Look at that lovely wake leaving Campbeltown accompanied by the satisfied hum of well fed engines  Roddy was as good as his word and turned up at 10.30 with replacement filters (actually branded Fleetguard).  His is a lovely man who has dealt with lots of the fishing fleet in Northern Ireland, but is winding down now.  He can tell a story. After a coffee we went down the hole and changed both Donaldson filters (to Fleetguard) and the Racor that we didn’t change a few days ago.  The port engine took a few attempts to clear the air in the pipes and get the fuel flowing but before long it was running nicely.  The starboard engine fired up first go.  We left Campbeltown at  14.00 and as of now (14.30) we are heading into the Kilbrannan Sound and both engines sound lovely. As we get farther up the Sound the island of Arran is looking wonderful: This is from Clive’s mountain identifying app PeakFinder - very clever We’ve made it safely into Tarbert harbour - it’s a very attractive place to

Campbeltown and friends 23 August 2022

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Herring Gull with Lazaway behind  A day spent in Campbeltown - pretty horrid weather in the morning - a lot of rain and a brisk easterly breeze, and not particularly warm.  Several houses had their fires lit. Our first job in the morning was to investigate the Donaldson filters.  We took the port Donaldson off and instantly could see that it should have been changed long ago.  It was filthy inside, despite the automatic indicator showing that it was still okay.  This, we are sure, is the source of our problem.   Next problem was to find replacements.  The Campbeltown chandlery was shut and not answering the phone.  The Marina Manager, Callum, came to the rescue.  He not only recommended Roddy of L&A Marine Engineers, but also offered to give us a lift to collect the filters from Roddy if he had them.  As it happened Roddy did not have them but ordered them from wholesalers in Glasgow, saying they should be with him tomorrow (probably morning).  Roddy would then bring them down to u

Bangor to Campbeltown 21 August 2022

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  Setting off from Bangor at 08.30. Happy as Larry - how naive?! Passing Islandmagee and Isle of Muck - still in blissful happiness  We left Bangor at 08.30 to head for Campbeltown and the Clyde for a week.  With a fresh westerly the ride was rolley but not uncomfortable.  Having said that, some glasses and other kit ended up on the floor - we still have to get the hang of putting everything away or tying it down. We made good time (to start with), until the port engine started coughing - it would lose power briefly then carry on happily.  However this got worse and worse until it gave up the ghost altogether.  Once we stopped the port engine we realised that the starboard engine was starting the same nonsense.  It gradually (actually quite quickly) got worse.  The idea of the second engine dying prompted a call to the Coastguard to let them know our predicament.  While we had any power they asked us to call in every 30 minutes to update them.  The end result was that the starboard eng