MARLIN trip to Clyde, via Isle of Man 2012: Girvan, Arran, Great Cumbrae, Bute, Ramsey.

I mainly use tides favourably (this helps a lot) and motor at my displacement speed (5 to 7 knots). It is a lot of effort to get my dinghy out from under the deck, inflate it and launch it - so I prefer to dry out to go ashore where feasible.

Sun. 19 August: Leave Liverpool Marina 13.50. Leave via shipping channel, cutting across wall at ALPHA buoy to head for Derby Haven on the Isle of Man. Plan to pass close to rigs (Hamilton North and Oil Storage Installation) so get a call from VOS INSPIRER reminding me of the safe distance to pass (500m for rig and 800m for OSI). More info on Liverpool Bay Field. A big seal was directly in front of me and kept looking at me until the last minute when it dived. Anchor 11pm in Derby Haven (take care to avoid mooring buoys on way in; I anchored north of the tower; the lights from Ronaldsway Airport allow one to see the buoys). Fairly calm and quiet night.

Oil Storage vessel:

Mon 20 August. Off 7am to west (adverse current) then through Calf Sound at 8.30. This had adverse current of several knots, but by heading in further east than the main S-going stream, I was able to shorten the distance needing more revs. Seals hauled out on rocks watched me go through Calf Sound.

Head for Mull of Galloway, Corsewall Point, then to Girvan (at 7pm). Current mainly favourable and wind/waves from aft quarter. Girvan is accessible easily about 2 hours either side of HW, I went in at HW+4 hours but there was no swell in the entrance and I draw less than 1 metre. I berthed alongside a fishing charter boat on the outer end of the pontoon. Easy to go ashore for a meal (Harbourhead restaurant) and drink. Note that harbour now dries to silty mud in the innermost corner (between root of pontoon and shore). Calm night.

Views of Girvan harbour.

Tue 21 August: Leave Girvan at 7am (least depth 3ft under my keel). Head for Arran, passing Ailsa Craig. Pass pod of dolphins approaching Arran.

Ailsa Craig: from Girvan at sunset, from the northeast in the morning and from the west (gannets galore).

Head for Holy Island to enter Lamlash Harbour. Pick up a visitor's mooring (green outer buoys with "fee payable" on them) at 10am. Row in to the stone pier to go ashore for supplies. In calm conditions nearer high water, it would have been possible to go alongside the stone pier - taking care not to obstruct the Holy Isle ferry.

Holy Island, Lamlash with the mountains behind, Lamlash stone pier.

Leave Lamlash 11.45 and head for Millport on Great Cumbrae. Arrive 2pm and decide to go alongside pier. There was a blustery southerly blowing but this would push me away from the pier. The skipper of SEREN LAS (a fishing/excursion boat) helped me tie up (thanks). Ashore for a quick walk then leave at 2.30.

Millport on Great Cumbrae

Head up Largs Channel to Rothesay on the Isle of Bute. Arrive about 4pm in a very heavy downpour. I could not contact the Berthing Company on VHF but the Harbourmaster (ch16) was helpful: berths to west are without water or electricity and they had available pontoon berths to east: but wait for ferry to leave. Actually the berths were nearly all empty - and the berthing company's hut was not manned.

Rothesay

Leave Rothesay (after taking a meal and drink) at 5.13pm. Head north up East Kyle in pleasant weather. At Burnt Islands, adverse current was a knot at most in the north passage. Head into the sheltered anchorage of Caladh Harbour. Some boats were moored here and one was already anchored: so not much space for me. Very calm and quiet overnight.

The narrow north entrance to Caladh Harbour from my anchored position.

Wed 22 August: Leave Caladh 8.30am. Down west Kyle - in increasing wind. Enter Loch Fyne: strong gusts of wind. Decide to go to Portavadie Marina for fuel. This is a newish marina in good condition but not full.

Portavadie marina; Loch Ranza castle from my mooring.

With gusty conditions (prevailing wind from W) I decided to skip Tarbet and head for Loch Ranza. The entrance to Killbrannan Sound had very strong wind funnelling up. Yachts reefed down to table-cloth sized mainsails were heeling in the gusts. I took up a visitors mooring at Loch Ranza (blue, free) at 13.30 but it was quite lumpy on the buoy.

Decide to proceed to the more sheltered harbour at Lamlash, arriving at 4.45am, taking up a visitor's mooring. Gusts were still quite impressive but the sea state was quite slight. Clacking halyards and buzzing fittings were noticeable. I decided to stay aboard - and get an early night. The wind eased overnight.

Thursday 23 August: Leave Lamlash at 5.25 (before sunrise at 6.00, but still possible to see potential hazards such as fishing marker buoys). Head for Corsewall point (arrive 10.13) passing close to Ailsa Craig and proceed down North Channel (with favourable tide) reaching Mull of Galloway (13.05) then head for Point of Ayre, still with favourable tide. Quite lumpy with sea from ahead mainly. I planned to round Point of Ayre at about local slack: but was too late and the current had turned by 3.45pm. I had several knots of adverse current and had to push up the revs for 10 minutes to get through and hug the coastline into Ramsey. Arrived Ramsey 5.15pm (local HW 16.08) and took up a berth rafted up on the town quay. This was a drying berth, to a flat seabed, and I was aground at 8.15pm.

Mull of Galloway and Point of Ayre

Views of Ramsey harbour at about half tide.

Friday 24 August: Leave Ramsey at 5am (with just enough light to see and avoid pot buoys). Head for Liverpool passing Morecambe Gas Field . (See also Rivers field). Arrive (mainly head sea) Liverpool Marina 4.15pm.

Morecambe Bay Gas Field(main rig and one satellite rig); A queue of ships coming into Liverpool behind the tanker NS ARCTIC (111107 tons dwt)

If higher resolution versions of the above images are wanted, please contact me. All information given in good faith, but please do not rely on it.

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