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Old 21 April 2016, 02:58   #1
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A Run In at Loch Sween

I confess.. I love my Guppy to bits ..its the best small boat in the universe. I guess we all say that about our own boats though.. it justifies to ourselves why we bought them in the first place.

The compact size and ease of portability is my number one attraction to this boat. I have found that on impulse..I can throw it in the car and head off to whichever boating area I choose. It can be launched anywhere.. with ease. It is extremely sea worth for its 2.75 meter size and gives me the confidence to use in open seas.

So far..I have been using my Mariner 3.3HP to propel her .. and have found she could plane at speeds around 12 mph with only myself on board ..but no luggage. Carry any anchors ..camping gear etc and she was stuck at 6 mph displacement speeds.I felt it was time to choose her permanent power plant.

I didnít want to loose the easy of carrying an outboard across a shore without a hernia or sack trolley .. so that limited my choice to around 25Kg weight. I wanted a four stroke...I cant hear a thing when my two strokes are whining away at my back. Ok two strokes are light to carry but a pain to listen to and reek fumes. I wanted max horse power for the weight .. so found that I was targeting a 6HP engine. Any bigger and weight jumps to double figures. Yamaha had a cash back offer on in April.. so their 6HP was the cheapest of the reputable brands. The deal was done .. and I was now heading to Loch Sween to run my new engine in.

I arrive early to get the parking space closest to the slipway ... in the sleepy village of Tayvallich. The Guppy was assembled beside the car then wheeled over the road to the water on the transom dolly.



In the water..the outboard looked a far more suitable size for the Guppy than the tiny 3.3HP .. if looks count.



I left a pound or two in the honesty box for my launch .. then rowed clear of the pier ..while the lady opened her shop. The day was beginning to waken.

The outboard awoke with a single pull. It burbled quietly as I eased away from the shop. The lady never turned her head. I wondered if she would have shot me a dirty look if I had filled the still morning air with smelly two stroke fumes.. and broke the beautiful silence with a high pitched whine. I was already loving my new engine.



I passed through the rocky entrance to the inner basin of Tayvallich ..pleased that I passed the red and green markers on the rocks..in the right way. It meant I was in the channel...and not somewhere I could get into bother.



Run in instructions told me not to idle for long periods ..so I now eased the throttle half way open. The guppy easily rose gracefully from the water and went on the plane.



A speed check indicated that I was doing 13 mph. A big smile appeared on my early morning face. I head myself think.. yup Gurnard..great choice in outboards. You can easily go in the tide races of the sea now.



I kept the engine around half throttle and varied to three quarters throttle ..as my efficient wake skittered silently behind the boat.. leaving a neat white scar across the grey seascape



There were many things to see and explore in Loch Sween..but I was now on a mission. I was heading for the open sea. I wanted to land on an island in the Sound of Jura..that can have a vicious tide race around it in certain conditions. It was still spring tides..so to play safe .. I wanted to approach it at high tide. I didnt have time to waste.



With Castle Sween now far behind..I knew I was in the Sound of Jura .



..and heading for Eilean Mor..the largest of the McCormaig Isles. In the backdrop of the photo .. are Islay and Jury..both world famous for their tasty coloured water.



To be continued...
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Old 21 April 2016, 07:55   #2
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Looks like a lovely setup with the 6 now!

Yet another brilliant story! Cant wait for the next instalment...
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Old 21 April 2016, 08:37   #3
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Hi Steve..yup..for a lone skipper ..its an ideal adventure size..and will get me most places I want to go.

Before crossing to the McCormaig Isles ..I had a brief stop to let the running in outboard cool.. and also to photograph this very cool bird. In the interest of its safety ... as it is a very rare parrot.. I am not divulging its location too precisely ..other than say ..its not a million miles away from the Isles.

I presume the parrot is awaiting its mate coming from Africa..to start a new family. There was no sign of its other half yet. I was delighted to see such a rare bird for the UK..but cursed myself for not having the long lens ..for a better photo. Luckily..I was 50 yards from it and the standard lens still captured it well enough to positively identify.

Now you don't see those kind of seagulls every day in life









To be continued ...
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Old 21 April 2016, 09:11   #4
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>>>I left a pound or two in the honesty box for my launch.

Good man... I dropped a decent donation for the 2wks we were there last year... that very sheleterd slip plus handy adj pontoon are a great resource and a pleasure to support.

I like Sween and all such similar lochs that give a real feel of being on the sea but allow you to do as much or little as you fancy on the day.
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Old 21 April 2016, 15:08   #5
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Great pics gurnard good spot the parrot keep it coming.

Cheers
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Old 22 April 2016, 03:18   #6
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Thanks for looking in Fenlander and Jeff..its appreciated

In the west of Scotland .. the wind can often increase at full tide or low tide.. but this was not the case this time. The sea turned to a glassy mirror like smooth surface. The Guppy glided across to Eilean Mor as if in a trance.



Not long later .. I was in the safe haven of the islands natural anchorage..



.. and heading for the man built landing stage ..



..where I abandoned the boat and took a wee walk to..



... The house Billy built. ... which was originally a bothy ... and kept locked ...



..but is now left open ..and is an information centre for the island.



The island is now owned by the Scottish National Party (SNP) and they built the bothy. However ..long before their time in power .. Saint Cormac landed on this island ..and built his chapel..while living in solitude..in a cave at the southern end of the island. Its these ancient memorials that I wanted to explore.

While inside the SNP bothy..I head a noise which reminded me of a session in the Scottish Parliament buildings in Edinburgh. I went outside and watch a gaggle of geese ..honk and howl at each other as they came into land ..
Nicola Sturgeon..eat your heart out ..the geese have more to say than your recent policies. But I appreciate my political views can be away with the birds at times.



In the interest of trying something new.. I took a 1 minute short video of the Guppy floating along over the waves ..around 12 mph cruising speed.. powered by the 6Hp engine. Its on Loch Fyne ..not Loch Sween..but it will hopefully give you the “feel” for being in the wee boat ..floating along on a new adventure.



To be continued....
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Old 23 April 2016, 06:56   #7
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Another great thread & photos.

That 6 looks ideal for the F-Rib - must be a huge step in performance, and more comfort knowing you have that extra power when needed.
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Old 25 April 2016, 08:08   #8
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Hi Lakelandterrier.. yup..its an ideal setup for my solo adventures

My reason for landing on Eilean Mor was to visit St Cormacís Chapel and the other ancient sites on the island. St Cormac (sometimes referred to as St Cormaic) lived at the beginning of the 7th centuary. He founded a few chapels in the area .. and is reputed to have lived in a cave here which he used as his hermitage.

It always amazes me that these ancient Saints and Monks often crossed to small islands surrounded by treacherous tide races ..and went by coracle !! The Garvellaches also have an ancient Monkís Beehive Prayer monument.. so it is not unusual for this area.

This is the entrance to his cave.. Historic Scotland had barriers over the entrance saying it was dangerous and now collapsing..so I didnít go into it.



This is the view from the cave entrance..with the remains of the corridor walls leading to the cave.



On the highest point of Eilean Mor ..is a solitary cross. It is a replica of the original 14th centuary cross .. which is now preserved in the National Museum of Scotland.



Finally..I wanted to visit the chapel..built in the 13th century.



Im not religious..but I love spending time in ancient monuments.. trying to imagine the atmosphere of the place when in use. I imagined a small congregation singing psalms and saying prayers as a minister preached his spiel to those that listened...as I stood in the dark silence of the old stone walls.



The area was also famous for the beautifully carved headstones ..one of which is still in the chapel.



I left the island an hour later.. with a feeling that my soul was somehow cleansed by my experience..and I felt a pound or two lighter as I left a small donation in Billyís House for the upkeep of these monuments of a long forgotten time.



I was now heading back to Loch Sween to visit a magical place..called the Fairy Isles.

To be continued ...
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Old 25 April 2016, 10:20   #9
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Lovely spot... That's yet another One on my "to do list" now Gurnard,Cheers
Glad you're happy with the New Boat,looks ideal!
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Old 15 May 2016, 04:27   #10
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Have you finished this one?👍 I was enjoying it but you seem to be of on other travels


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