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PLAN 3: NORTH WEST HIGHLANDS. [Shown right is Badachro - Day 3]
(Permission for the Northern extension to the cruising limits and the relevant charts will be required for this route)
DAY 1 Isle Ornsay - about 1.5 hours away from Armadale. Anchoring well out in the bay, you have the option of eating on board or ashore at the hotel Eilean Armain. The Duisdale House Hotel has moorings which you can use if you are eating in their Chartroom Bar or just having a drink there.
DAY 2 Plockton is one of the most attractive villages on the West Coast. Yellow visitors Moorings are now available for a charge, although they are disconcertingly close together. Don’t leave your dinghy tied astern or it may foul your neighbour. There is a "dinghy dock" so you don’t even need to get your feet wet going ashore and there is also a pontoon which you can tie the yacht up temporarily to get stores if the tide is right. Once ashore there are a variety of pleasant eating establishments and several shops. You may get a surprise "alarm call" when the early train goes past the moorings.
DAY 3 Badachro, Loch Gairloch. Another very secure anchorage. There are a few visitors moorings available here and you will probably be charged for them when you go ashore. The Badachro Inn has undergone much improvement recently so if you haven’t been for a few years it is worth another visit. There is also a pontoon in Flowerdale Bay, Gairloch where overnight alongside and can walk ashore to the Old Inn, get water, diesel and other shoreside facilities.
DAY 4 Summer Isles. If you get the tide right around Rubh Reih this will be a very pleasant passage – make sure the forecast is right for coming back though! Tanera Mhor is the largest of the islands. No facilities here so if you are feeling very energetic or hungary you might press on up to Ullapool. It is not a particularly interesting sail as the wind will probaly be straight off the nose or vice-versa but Ullapool has a several excellent restaurants and a selection of shops. If you do make it this far remember it will be quite take at least two days to get back here unless you are planning night sailing!
DAY 5 Loch Ewe – break your journey back by anchoring off the Isle of Ewe or at the rear of Inverewe Gardens. A walk ashore in the gardens is entirely possible as there is a jetty and if you are not a National Trust member you should really should pay for the pleasure. If you wish to eat ashore you will need to go right to the head of the Loch. Look out for the whole British Navy doing their annual exercises in Loch Ewe in mid-summer!
DAY 6 Eilean Fladday, Raasay. Mentioned briefly on the previous page, either of the two anchorages here provide an alternative to Rona. The North anchorage has a tendency to be weedy so if the wind is appropriate the South tends to be better. Don’t make the mistake of trying to go through the middle at high water – at low water fresh mussels can be found between the islands. Save the white wine for the Moules Marinere. Again if you feel the need for civilisation you might like to press on to Portree. Alternatively you may wish to stay on the mainland side and sail up Loch Torridon to Shieldaig or to the head of Loch Torridon. Church Bay, Raasay has visitors moorings with a beautiful view of the Cuillins and handy for the Raasay Hotel but these get a bit "rolly" if the weather is not settled.
DAY 7 Armadale – tide back through Kyle Rhea and then back to our moorings at Armadale. If you want an early start then this is your best option unless the weather is awful (strong winds from South East to North East). Ashore, good food can be found at the Ardvasar Hotel about 15 minutes walk away from the Old Pier, about 200yds from the Isle of Skye Yachts Workshop where we have shower facilities. The Pasta Shed on the ferry pier also serves evening meals up to 20.00 - take you own booze if you decide to go there.
Pictured above left - The picturesque village of Plockton