30thJuly. A bright morning on Gigha allowed us to visit the beautiful Achamore gardens – varied colours in the sheltered walled garden, shades of green in the lush woodland and a fabulous view north up the Sound of Jura from the viewpoint. After a delicious cup of coffee and fresh-baked shortbread at the Gigha Gallery we picked up another pint of Wee Isle Milk and set off for Port Ellen on Islay, about 20 miles to the West.  Before we left we added our contribution to the cairn at the Boathouse cafe/campsite made up of stones left by visiting yachts.

The rain held off and a light breeze from the North provided perfect conditions to put up the Gennaker and give Grace (a dinghy sailor) some experience of helming a yacht. The wind increased as we approached Islay so we furled the big sail and close-reached at speed towards Port Ellen, following a clear transit (lighthouse in line with radio masts). The white-painted buildings of the three southern distilleries (Laphroig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg) were clearly visible along the coastline as we approached, as was the smoke-stack from the maltings, enticing us in with an aroma of peat smoke. 

Arriving in port we found the pontoons crammed full with yachts, so much so we thought we’d be forced to anchor in the bay, but we found a spot, rafting up against another boat.  We discovered that 21 boats, mainly from Holland, were sailing together in a ‘Round Britain Adventure Cruise’. We had ended up next to the organiser’s boat, a rather beautiful and unusual Koopmans-built Sentijn 37 called Shaula. Fortunately they were staying another day, which meant we wouldn’t need to move Nova, as we were planning a day on land that suited us well and we settled down for a well-earned supper.

  • Distance: 23nm. Sailed 3h
  • Wind: NW3-5


On our passage ‘Around These Islands’ Anne is writing about each trip, and Jonathan is writing some more ‘technical’ blogs, from our perspective as ordinary cruising sailors. We are sharing what we’ve learned, and welcome your thoughts too. Please remember that this blog – and your comments – are public.

There’s also a special focus on 12 key ports on our planned route, with articles from These Islands and a series of podcasts from Chrome Media called ‘Around These Islands in 12 Ports’.


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