27th June - Footloose through the Irish Sea

For our second Footloose adventure of the season we venture south from Oban to capture the magical and mysterious spirit of three different cultures bound by their Celtic roots.

Many thanks to John Noorani for many of the images used on this weeks blog.

27th June 2017.

Guests arriving at Oban were piped aboard and welcomed by the crew with a drink on deck as we set sail for our overnight anchorage off the Isle of Gigha.

28th June 2017.

Our morning port of call was Port Ellen, Isle of Islay where our Footloose option was a walk on the Ardelve Peninsular where two local specialities were spotted; some Chough, nationally a bird on the Red list, and several Hares.

The strollers enjoyed a tour and tasting at the Laphroaig distillery. 

We spent the afternoon cruising the North Channel on passage to our overnight anchorage Port St Mary, Isle of Man.

29th June 2017.

This morning we berthed alongside in Douglas where guests enjoyed free time to explore the town.  The Footloose guests embarked on an afternoon walk from Baldrine to Groudle Glen, returning to the ship by horse-drawn tram, Derby Castle led by Rocky.

The strollers were taken on a guided tour of the Legislative Buildings, Tynwald which is the oldest continuous parliament in the world, followed by afternoon tea.

We remained alongside in Douglas overnight and were entertained after dinner by local musicians.

30th June 2017.

From Douglas the Footloose walkers strode out for a full day walk from St John’s to Peel, with a packed lunch.

The strollers visited Peel Castle and the House of Mannanan in the morning followed by an afternoon spent in Castletown.

We remained alongside in Douglas overnight.

1st July 2017.

The Footloose option today was a full day walk from Port St Mary to Port Erin.

The strollers enjoyed an excursion to the Laxey Wheel in the morning followed by a scenic tour which included Cregneash and views of the Calf of Man.

We set sail in the early evening and cruised north to our overnight anchorage in Loch Ryan.

2nd July 2017.

Whilst the walkers strode out from Portpatrick this morning on a cliff top walk towards Killantringan Lighthouse, the strollers explored the Logan Botanical Gardens.

Sailing north over lunch we landed on Sanda in the afternoon where all guests enjoyed walks on the island and lots of local wildlife was spotted, including a herd of deer, a porpoise and plenty of seals.

 

We anchored overnight in Loch na Mile, Jura.

3rd July 2017.

This morning we landed on the Isle of Jura where the walkers went on a morning walk and the strollers visited Craighouse.

An otter was spotted in Loch na Mile shortly after we landed, and a Crossbill in the pine woods.

As we cruised up the Sound of Jura during lunch we passed VIC 32 heading south. VIC 32 is the sole surviving coal fired Clyde Puffer, although technically a naval Victualing Inshore Craft, built by the Royal Navy in 1943 for re-supplying naval ships in harbour, the design was very much that of a classic Clyde Puffer. At one time they would have been a common sight in these waters as they used the Crinan Canal to get to and from the Clyde rather than travel round the Mull of Kintyre. This also limited their size as they were designed to the maximum dimensions to fit the canal.

We anchored off Crinan in the afternoon for walks along the canal towpath.  The image below shows a swallow catching flies over the Crinan Canal.

Our final overnight anchorage was off the Isle of Kerrera.

4th July 2017.

We cruised into Oban this morning for embarkation to take place.