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18 August 2023

Lonely bays and ruins of monasteries

At half past eleven at night the chain rattles and the anchor drops off the Isle of Gigha. A rough trip from Tarbert around the Mull of Kintyre lies behind us.

Here in the shelter of the small island we can recover from the long exhausting day leg and sleep peacefully trusting the anchor watches. Few sailors meet us during the day and just as lonely and quiet are most of our anchorages - and there are many of them. A sheltered bay on the west side of Jura Island invites us to go ashore: With the dinghy, we land on a gravel beach, behind which marshy meadows and fern-covered slopes extend. Over narrow paths and chest-high ferns we go uphill, where fields of heather and a dreamlike view of the bay and the anchored ship are waiting. We also can't let the Eileach an Naoimh, the „Holy Isle" in the Firth of Lorne pass by without exploring the island. Surrounded and dotted with spectacular rock formations, it too is rich in green grass and ferns. In the 6th century, the Irish saint Brendan - according to tradition - built an early Christian monastery there, whose well-preserved ruins can be visited not far from the shore cliffs.

These small shore excursions are really nice diversions from the daily routine on board, after which, full of impressions and mosquito bites, we set sail for our last anchorage on the west coast in Craignure Bay off the Isle of Mull.