Planet Retirement can sometimes be a bewildering place and with a scarcity of UK retirement blogs out there (other than those proffering financial advice) I thought I'd keep my own.

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Tuesday, 16 June 2015

A Circuit of Arran - Days 3 and 4

At Lochranza we saw Oyster catchers with their unique shaped beaks and red legs as well as black guillemots which in the UK are very much limited to the West Coast and islands of Scotland as well as Northern Ireland. 

A shag passed us in its low flight over the ocean and on land we saw red deer grazing their way through the village and regarded as a pest by the local people. 

Leaving to head east on Wednesday and then southwards to Lamlash we heard our first cuckoo of the year and noted that even if we were well wrapped up against the chilling sea breeze, seals were basking on top of rocks in the sunshine. Unfortunately we had to wait for our next mooring to gain any benefit from the sun's heat as on our voyage southwards the sails blocked out its rays and my layers of fleeces remained intact.

We were just commenting on the fact that we had not spotted any dolphins on our trip when the tell-tale noise of air being expelled through the blow-hole of a cetacean gave the game away and the fins and tails of porpoises were soon clearly visible.

With gannets undertaking their vertical dives at all points of the compass, we thought we had seen our complete wildlife collection for the day. However, returning to our dinghy on the jetty after a stroll around Lamlash itself, we came across a pair of swans and on the back of one, between its slightly raised wings, nestled two cygnets.

In the shelter of the bay at Lamlash with the town on one side and Holy Island on the other, we benefited from a heat trap sheltered from the wind chill and I finally removed those layers. Perhaps it really is June and for the first time on this trip I didn't wear socks in bed.

Indeed the next morning we didn't even turn the boat heater on and so with the benefit of a benign temperature we headed out from the bay and across the Firth of Clyde towards Troon and so completing our circuit of Arran. 

Whilst sailing in these waters as well as other yachts there are numerous working vessels. So we spotted a ship laying cable, the Caledonian MacBrayne ferries that connect the Scottish Islands to the mainland and various small fishing trawlers all with nets extended. There are certain rules of the sea governing who has right of way. It's a bit like playing Rock, Paper, Scissors and although yachts under sail can take priority, even they must give way to boats that are actively fishing.

So our final day's sailing was devoted to altering course on a number of occasions in order to avoid any serious shipping incidents. Indeed I must have been so busy watching the various fishing exploits taking place to port-side that I completely missed the silent arrival on the scene (presumably from the huge depth beneath) of a submarine. Curiously, and despite the well-established naval base just to the North, in all our years of sailing we had never actually come across one of those off the bow before. No avoiding action was needed; it had no difficulty in outpacing us!

1 comment:

  1. The first picture is especially gorgeous. And the list of wildlife truly impressive.