Tall Ships Ketch – Inverness to Inverkip

By Tall Ships - August 12th, 2019 | Posted in Voyager blogs No comments

Day One

Once we had all arrived at the Ketch we were shown around and told where everything is as we were eager to start. But we couldn’t leave until the next day so we got the dinghy out and practised our rowing and paddling skills, also testing to see if the engine worked properly and just have fun. Later on we had chicken fajitas for tea and played games until bedtime.

Day Two

Today was our first day of our journey and our destination was Fort Augustus. We crossed Loch Ness and had to go through around 10 locks where someone would have to be at the front and back of the boat to make sure that the ropes were kept tight and 2 people would have to be on land walking the boat along the locks then having to tie it on. We then docked in the nice little town of Fort Augustus.​

Day Three

Today we went through several more locks and it was pretty chill, by now we knew what we were doing at the locks and we knew each other better. By the end of the day we were at the top of Neptune’s Staircase. After we moored up for the night we all decided to go on a walk around the local area. We also learned some sea sailing theory.

Day Four

We started early and, chased by the RNLI lifeboat, descended down Neptune’s Staircase, a series of 9 locks outside Fort William. It turns out that unusual topics are raised during the process of locks, including local particulars such as the porridge factory on the hill (if looked at closely resembles water pipes but do not be fooled!) and the haggis that have two legs shorter on one side to be able to easily navigate Scottish Highlands, but are restricted to only going one way round a mountain.

Beyond the lock staircase we left the canal for the first time and hit open water. We changed from haggis spotting to bird spotting. As well as grebes and gannets, we also saw two pods of dolphins, a couple of porpoise and a seal that surfaced right next to the boat. The sun shone uninterrupted despite looming storm clouds. Decided to make the most of it and the deck was littered with sleeping crew.

The wind picked up later in the day and for the last half-hour we were able to launch the sails and reached the grand total of 3 knots (a lot more impressive than it sounds) before mooring off a small island across the bay from Oban. Worked on the shaft and explored the surrounding mile-square of land before turning in.

Day Five

Set off from Oban around 3 o’clock time and were able to get the genoa and the main sail up thanks to wind being in the right direction. We did unfortunately have to bring the sails down during the night as the wind dropped too low for the sails to be used, which was slightly annoying as I was looking forward to getting to sleep without the engine on.  The watches started at 6 and went through the night until we moored up in Cambeltown. We were able to do 3 hours on and 6 hours off throughout the night. It was alright during the night a bit rough. There was an hour that was so rough that it was worse than sailing all the way across the Bay of Biscay. Every one of us when on deck made sure that we all had plenty of layers on to stay warm on watch.

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