Jane very kindly drove us over to Kyle and we climbed into our dry suits and cast off at 0930. The forecast wasn't brilliant - NE 4 to 5 occasionally 6 but the wind was light from the SE and we hoisted the full main. Once we passed under the Skye bridge there was a horrible tidal lop that saw waves breaking aboard from every angle but we put a tack in and sailed into clear water. The sun shone, the wind blew and the Nancy flew as though sensing that she was close to home! However it was not be too easy and the wind veered and forced us to start beating again as we closed Cat Island lighthouse. George Glasgow on Ceol na mara joined us to welcome us home and as we beat past the lighthouse in NE 4 Calum's seal trip boat Sula Mhor greeted us with all the tourists asked to give a loud cheer as we head for home. Off the wind now the Nancy surged up into Plockton bay with cars on the shore honking their horns and Dave McGhee and Charlie 36 taking snap shots of us as we sailed up harbour to tie up against the pontoons at 1230. Home at last to a great crowd of locals as a welcoming committee! We charged our glasses and gave a toast to "the Nancy" because she was the real star! Her sailing performance, her beautiful lines had been admired by all and staunchly she had stood up to a terrible beating despite her years. It was a truly joyful occasion and the end of a wonderful dream for me. I will take her on other trips though in the future. Perhaps to Stornoway, to the outer hebrides and around Skye. Plockton local boats are designed to cope with such conditions and she had done us proud. I hope that other owners of small boats will be encouraged by my endeavours to tackle longer voyages. Thanks too to all my crew members - to Neil, Angus. Gordon and Malcolm. Each had brought their own individual skills into play and had made the incredible journey possible! Grateful thanks to all my wonderful friends who have supported me in this mad venture and thanks too to all who have donated to Sports Relief - your contribution is greatly appreciated by me and has made the trip worthwhile - much more than a personal indulgence. But be aware - you haven't heard the last of the Nancy yet!


After a poor nights sleep between checking that the Nancy was ok at low tide at 3am and getting the shiping forecast at 0520 we set off at 0730. The wind was light from the North west but petered out after 1/4 a mile. Malcolm resorted to rowing and after a mile a wee breeze filled in from the SE f3. This was surprising as the forecast wind was NW 3/4 occasionally 5. After about half an hour we shook out the deep reef and our progress improved, Visibility was still poor but eventually we picked up Sleat Point and the wind backed to the NW f4. Progress was now superb and the Nancy surged forward at over 6kn shipping a lot of water over the gunwhale but nothing that the bilge pump couldn't cope with. Off Armadale the wind eased away to nothing and Malcolm resorted to rowing once again whereupon the SE 3 breeze filled in. This took us to Isle Ornsay by 1330 but it fell light again and we found ourselves becalmed and facing a foul tide at Kyle Rhea, We found a wee  bolt hole out of the tide and eventually by 1900 it turned in our favour and we beat through and up to Kyle of Lochalsh, rowing the final 500 yards to the pontoons and berthing at 2130.We were pretty cold and tired but Jane and Calum welcomed us with hot coffee and drams! It had been a very long . frustrating and tiring day but we had completed the Fourth leg and only the final 9nm to Plockton remained to be conquered. What a great wee boat! Once again it had been an amazing trip in such a small boat. Every goal is hard fought for but all the sweeter when achieved!


tuesday 4 may 2010
Malcolm and I caught the first ferry to Craignure and arrived in Tobermory at 0900 to find the Nancy dismasted! At first we thought she had capsized but the harbour master confirmed that the mast had fallen down on the monday of its own accord! A bottle screw had unscrewed itself apparently with th motion of the boat against the pontoon! Anyway = we rerigged her and set sail atb 1030 into a N4/5. It wasn't a pleasant sail upwind across the mouth of Loch Sunart and when we tacked we felt the full force of the wind and decided to abort due to the seas which constantly broke aboard and the heavy squalls. We turned tail and headed back to Tobermory. However just South of the lighthouse the wind and sea eased and the wind backed and.we made a unanimous decision to have another shot!  This time we were successful and after 7 hours of beating we were off the lighthouse and freeing sheets for Eigg, We enjoyed a small dram to celebrate and had to row clear of the confused seas off the lighthouse. Visibility was atrocious (barely 1mile) but we made our landfall by steering a compass course of 040 degrees and entered Eigg harbour at 2030 very tired and wet,  As the weather was so bad we decided to camp out in the community hall reception area which had showers and toilet facilities. Without doubt this was the hardest and most dangerous leg of the voyage and we were both greatful to have it behind us.


I am preparing for an early morning start (0500) from Bowling to get to Oban in time to catch the 0750 ferry to Craignure. Crew for this leg is a Plockton man, Malcolm Mackenzie, who is well qualified for this rather dodgy leg around Ardnamurchan. We dont have a great forecast - Tuesday W3 or 4 and Wednesday N 3 or 4 but it looks even worse later in the week with persistant and strong Northerlies so fingers crossed.   I've left my camera cable on the Nancy so cant download any photos. DOH! Instead I'v downloaded a photo of the boat that I wish I were in for this leg - Seol na mara!