Saturday, 31 May 2014

Harris and the final sailing days

It was lovely to arrive on Harris on a beautiful, calm afternoon after the kicking we had all had on Skye. Leaving Graham and Paul to do the anchor watch (otherwise known as testing out the local fish and chips!) the rest of us guys headed for An Cliseam in the company of Isi Oakley who had brought her brand, spanking, new roadbike down for me to cycle to the hill and what a joy it was!
It was a good chance to catch up with Isi who moved to the island earlier this year. Isi knows all about the Scottish weather as she has been working in the outdoors as a winter mountain leader but even she stated she had to reconsider her idea of what a windy day was since moving to the islands. 
It was gutting to get to the summit just as the mist moved in, meaning we did not get the views far out west. Not that anyone was too daunted and we headed back doon the hill in high spirits. I was particularly happy to be cycling back down the hill to Tarbett. We said out goodbyes (and big thankyous) to Isi and headed back for the boat in the knowledge the winds were picking up and we ony had a small weather window to get back across the Minch.
That weather window was at 5 the next morning when we made our first attempt to leave the island only to be turned back by gusting 30 knots of wind to reassess the situation. 
This is where experience comes in useful and for the next while Graham looked at various, weather forecasts and watched the clouds realising the gusts we had experienced were funnelling down a glen from the island and half an hour later saw is setting sail again and sure enough coming through the gusts and out into the Minch.
This was not to be a crossing with many views and one of Wendy's many jobs was to act as the foghorn, letting any other vehicles know we were around.
We sailed through the mist into a beautiful, sunlit Badachro Bay. A perfect end to an amazing sailing jourey. 
As well as being beautiful, Badachro turned out to be a warm and welcoming place to spend the last while sorting out kit, cleaning the boat and of course having a few beers. 
A good fun night was spent in the bar with Tom, Sue, Mary and Peter who look after The Isle of June Yacht Charters. My crew were also not finished their work in supporting the challenge.  A big thankyou to the guests and owners of the Badachro inn for their kind donations. 
And a very big thankyou to Tom and Sue (pictured above) for looking after me so well, before my  journey back on land began again. I still have not got over the chicken and sweet potato curry!

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