Earlier this summer we wrote about the Three Peaks Race - From Barmouth to Fort William via Isle of Eriska, and Mr Gayle and his crew had to seek shelter at Eriska at the end of June 2013 as a storm was building up and the race had to be aborted. Driac was left in Eriska's care until now. Mr Gayle has been so nice to write about Driac's beautiful journey back to its permanent home to Milford Haven:
As a Edinburgh resident, it is noticable that the Edinburgh festival is over, children are back at school, and in a few weeks time the autumn breeze will blow summer leaves.
On reflection 2013 proved to be a great summer to visit the west coast. We had an almost unprecedented long spell of sunny days and very little rain. My summer ended with a memorable sailing trip departing from Eriska.
It was starting to get dark and a greyish light began to bathe Lismore. We had finished our supper and the tide had begun to go south. Visitors to the Island earlier in the summer might have noticed Driac, a pre-War wooden yacht, on one of the hotel's moorings. I was tasked with skippering the delivery passage back to her permanent home in Milford Haven.
As we let go of the mooring a thought crossed my mind. There was a chance that I could become remembered as 'that fella who ran aground in that old wooden boat'. There are a line of rocks between the shore and Airds Point that are a submerged banana skin which I could easily slip on. I knew that there was plenty of water underneath the yacht's keel and I kept a nervous eye on the depth sounder. What could possibly go wrong?
We motored out past the familiar outline of Glas Eilean. I breathed a sigh of relief that we had not gone aground, and then in a few moments we got the sails up and we were on our way. My plan was to get as far south in one chunk as possible. We had plenty of fuel and were relatively well victualled. Mrs B had kindly slipped us a parcel containing some homemade provisions (a large shepherd's pie, a tarte, a fruit cake, and a marmalade sponge). Aunts are definitely the Patron Saints of nephews!
We gently passaged south, soon passing Oban and then Kerrera. Before too long we were down at Insh Island, and as we passed down the coast of Seil I went below to put the kettle on. Shortly after we could make out the profile of Easdale. I remembered having dinner at the hotel with dear old Mr B one December. The next day we took the wee ferry over to Easdale along with the islander's giant Christmas tree! I understand that Easdale was once owned by a former Chairman of the philately company Stanley Gibbons, and that they produced Easdale stamps.
The lighthouse on Fladda and its slightly lower yeoman on Dubh Sgeir, stood like dutiful sentries guarding the entry to the Sound of Luing. With the lights behind us we passaged down the eastern coastlines of Lunga and Scarba, with Luing on our port side. Two flashes from the light on Reisa an t-Struith suddenly popped out over the dark horizon with the crystal clarity of a pair of diamond earrings. When the north end of Jura was on our beam we had the first thirty odd miles in the bag. I decided that it was time for me to go below and get my head down.
We were able to undertake the complete passage in three large chunks. The first leg ended when we put in at Rathlin Island (just off the Northern Irish coast). After a night alongside we went a little way down the Irish coast before crossing over to Holyhead, where wesheltered from a southerly gale for twenty four hours. We then reached Milford Haven on the third and final push, having logged a total of 432 miles.
The autumn is a good time to start planning the next year's adventures and holidays. I hope to do a little more background reading, as what little I do always uncovers something interesting. For example I have only just discovered that Eriska is the Gaelic for water-nymph island. Here are some ideas for Eriska guests with yachting and outdoor tendencies.
The Firth of Lorn is often overlooked as a cruising ground. I highly recommend visiting the Cuan Sound. The Loch Melfort area is definitely worthy of a visit, and both Loch Spelve on Mull and Loch Aline on the Morven peninsula provide picturesque anchorages. I frequently fantasise about undertaking a malt whisky cruise. After sampling the many delights of Islay, and the distilleries on Jura and Mull, the hotel and spa would make an ideal location for a spot of pampering and recovery. Ben More and the Paps of Jura provide possibilities for combining yachting and hillwalking and can easily be visited within a loop that includes a visit to the hotel. The more spiritually minded might like a trip to Iona, or even the more local site of the monastery on Lismore that was established in 564AD.
Some years ago I was on a sailing trip in the US, up in New England. A friendly group of locals told me that their buddy was planning a transatlantic trip from Portland Maine to Portland in England. Another of their friends had sailed from Yarmouth Maine to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight. I knew that there are also towns called Belfast, Bangor and Portsmouth in Maine, but a quick look at my atlas revealed that there is also a coastal town called Port Clyde. They also have a North Berwick, but it is inland and therefore would be an impractical departure point. I wonder if a cacographic lager enthusiast might enjoy a passage starting in Tenants Harbour Maine, on a quest to get home for some Caledonian amber nectar?
These thoughts of transatlantic adventures aside, more realistically I fancy trying Eriskay to Eriska. I suspect that it would be about seventy miles, and in the prevailing south-westerly winds it would be ideal for an old boat like Driac that sails best with the wind on her beam.
My final idea for an adventure came to me during a vivid dream on that first night when I went below for a snooze. As I dozed I must have had a few things rumbling around my mind. The week before I had re-read Roger Oliver's book on his voyage around Britain and Eire. In the dream we had sailed around Britain, starting and ending at Eriska. We picked up the hotel's mooring and then rowed ashore. Beppo was on the beach with Dibley, his trusty labrador. As we stepped ashore Beppo said "good evening Gentlemen, I have had your dinner jackets cleaned". That would have been a most stylish end to a great voyage!
Happy adventuring in 2014, Vernon Gayle
Read more about the Three Peaks Race here
A rather wet morning at Isle of Eriska today! This week's West Coast Weather took us a bit by surprise with some really nice and sunny days - it was actually quite warm at the start, however as you can see above the autumn weather was just around the corner! But as they say, the glass is half full, not half empty - we are enjoying the beautiful autumn colours!
Today: a cloudy start with outbreaks of rain, these heavy and driven along on strong to gale force south-westerly winds. It may become brighter with frequent blustery showers later in the day. Winds will continue going west to north-westerly but staying strong to gale force. Tonight: showers will continue overnight and these most frequent over Argyll and Kintyre.
Monday: looks to become bright with blustery showers these mainly over Argyll where they will be wintry on the mountains. Staying windy with gales in the isles.
Tuesday: is projected to be a bright day with showers and continuing strong winds.
Wednesday: looks promising with more sunshine and just a few showers and much lighter winds.
Thursday: is projected to cloud over again, with patchy rain.
Friday: looks to offer heavy clouds, however it looks as if it may stay dry, which continues over night.
Saturday: is projected to stay cloudy, but with patches of rain and slightly warmer temperatures compared to the other days in the week.
Autumn colours and strong winds, leave the umbrella and pack your best water proofs to enjoy the island and the beautiful colours Eriska has to offer! Have you had a day of hiking there is no better way to relax than to spend it in our sauna or steam room at the Stables Spa. Sauna's and steam rooms are known for their relaxation, and research also tells us that sauna's can help muscle spasms, seasonal affective disorders, and high stress levels. Coming to Eriska soon? If you are going for treatments in the spa, our therapists recommend using the steam room and sauna beforehand to open up the pores and relax the muscles, an easy way of getting even more out of your pampering and relaxation.
During this week's West Coast Weather we have definitely had a mix between seasons. Beautiful colours, heavy rain, sunshine, and 'strong' winds. The picture above was taken driving towards Eriska on Friday evening. Beautiful colours of orange and pink towards north west and ice blue in the south. Next week's West Coast Weather looks to become quite similar with some days staying dry, sunshine at the start of the week and outbreaks of rain.
Today: a bright day with sunny spells but also some showers. The showers will be much more isolated and Eriska looks like it may stay clear. We have our fingers crossed. Tonight: some mist patches may form particularly around the lochs. Light winds and colder temperatures.
Monday: is projected to be a bright day with sunny spells developing despite a few showers continuing to affect the Ayrshire area at times with light winds.
Tuesday: looks to be mainly dry and bright with moderate northerly winds.
Wednesday: a bright start but clouding over with outbreaks of rain
Thursday: looks to become quite cloudy wet and windy.
Friday: looks to become mainly dry and cloudy with moderate temperatures.
Saturday: although the Friday looks to stay dry, Saturday is projected to become cloudy and wet, with lighter showers throughout and slightly increasing winds.
Another week with unpredictable weather ahead, but we keep smiling as long as we have a few rays of sun! Last Thursday was sunny and quite a comfortable day spent outside on the island. If you are arriving to Eriska this week, bring light waterproofs, a jacket would be sufficient, umbrella's and wellies are as always available at the entrance of the hotel in all shapes and sizes if you religiously keep to the morning, afternoon or evening walk.
During the last week, our West Coast Weather have slowly changed we are getting ready to welcome September and autumn at Eriska. The picture above was taken from the bridge before sundown last Tuesday.
Today: looks to be mainly cloudy, with a little light rain at times, though much of the time dry, with a few brighter spells. The rain looks to become more persistent and turning heavier later. A breezy day. Tonight it will stay cloudy with outbreaks of rain and breezy mild winds.
Monday: rain will remain persistent over much of Mid and North Argyll including Mull, heaviest in the more mountainous areas. There may be a few bright spells.
Tuesday: the rain over the majority of Argyll looks to be easing. Elsewhere looks to be dry bright and quite warm.
Wednesday: is projected to be mostly dry with rain reaching us later before spreading south overnight.
Thursday: looks to become brighter with some sunshine and lighter showers. Cooler temperatures.
Friday: is projected to be dry with a few sunny spells despite it being quite cloudy and will stay dry overnight.
Saturday: looks to continue with sunny spells and will stay mainly dry, staying overnight.
Summer has definitely started leaving us it seems and we almost start looking forward to the days of sunshine once again. It does however not stop our guests from enjoying afternoon tea inside with our freshly made sandwiches, Eriska shortbread, freshly baked scones, and the surprise third cake, or their evenings and after dinner drinks in front of the log fire. Although we do not offer lunch for non residents, afternoon tea is available everyday subject to availability.
Last week's West Coast Weather didn't offer much opportunity to enjoy recreational activities outdoors at Eriska, with grey and heavy clouds lurking around the coast. That did however not stop eager guests from playing a game of croquet - as a matter of fact it was busy in the patchy rain! The picture above was taken on Thursday (22nd August), it went slightly dark as I was fiddling with some settings on my camera, but I think is shows the little sunshine we had that day! Next week's weather does however look to be dry with some more sunny spells!
Today: a chilly start in places, then a dry bright day with some good sunny spells and it looks to be quite warm in the sunshine, winds will remaining light. Tonight: the sunshine will continue throughout the evening followed by a dry night with some long clear spells. There may be mist or fog patches forming.
Monday: looks to be mainly dry and bright, with some sunny spells and quite warm again. Some rain looks to be spreading from the northwest overnight.
Tuesday: is projected to start with some patchy rain, but becoming drier and brighter from the west.
Wednesday: is projected to be staying dry and bright.
Thursday: looks to be starting out dry start but occasional rain may appear, spreading east.
Friday: although the temperatures looks to stay with us, Friday will become wet and grey. It does however look to be dry overnight.
Saturday: drying overnight, Saturday continues to be dry and cloudy, however the temperatures looks to be staying relatively stable.
With the weather staying relatively dry, why not make the most out of it? If you are staying on the island a trip to the Spa before trying out the many trails Isle of Eriska, or take a trip to Kerrera to hike around the circular 6 mile route cutting across to the other side of the island to enjoy views of Mull and Lismore. If you are out for the day, Kerrera Tea Garden offer traditional and home cooked foods, including their own baked bread and cakes - the perfect place for a treat after a walk. The Kerrera Ferry Time Table can be found here or you can get the shuttle from Oban to Kerrera.
Another picture describing the west coast weather from the last week. Clouds with a few rays of sun and frequent showers! Looking at what's in store for us next week it looks like summer unfortunately left early this year leaving us to pack with us that extra waterproof layer when going for a walk or just out to the car at the start of the week.
Today: It has been a rather cloudy morning with scattered showers projected (and as I write this I can see the drops start falling outside...). Showers looks to be turning heavier and more frequent throughout the day, perhaps with a rumble of thunder. The evening looks to be drier as the showers will ease.
Monday: looks to be mostly dry with sunny spells to start the day, some showers building but well scattered and a few places staying dry.
Tuesday: is projected to be sunnier, with lighter winds and less frequent showers.
Wednesday: looks to be much like the Tuesday with sunny spells and dryer grounds.
Thursday: is projected to be cloudier with light rain throughout the day.
Friday: looks to be another cloudy day with the showers lingering, which looks to become heavier overnight and might leave us with a very wet Saturday morning.
Saturday: looks to end the week just like it started, cloudy with showers and a few sunny spells. The rain looks to be continuing over night.
Although this week's weather doesn't look like the ideal holiday there is no shortage of things to get up to when the weather doesn't allow us to work up a sun burn while playing a game of putting or having afternoon tea on the front lawn! Keep an eye out for the next blog post to see what you can get up to on the rainy days this week - there are many ways of avoiding the wet cat situation when on holiday!
We are welcoming August with very shifting weather. The West Coast Weather for the last week has been difficult to plan around but has brightened up significantly in the evenings, making them perfect for pre-dinner walks. The next week on the west coast does however seem to be a bit colder, with continuing showers and
This Evening and Tonight: the showers have died out and left some evening sunshine. It might however be clouding over in the east later with some rain developing.
Monday: a cloudy start across the east with a few light showers. Brightening up from the west by the afternoon with just a few showers, which looks to be passing us. Somewhat warm temperatures will continue.
Tuesday: looks to become quite cloudy with possible showers
Wednesday: starting with a bright morning and looks to be mainly dry but with some showers developing in the afternoon. A few rays of sun are likely to be coming through as well.
Thursday: is projected to be quite cloudy in the early morning, but brightening up later during the day before the showers return midday.
Friday: looks to be slightly warmer despite the clouds and heavier showers.
Saturday: pretty similar to Friday, but with lighter showers continuing during the night.
Although the weather forecasts have been quite discouraging the evenings have brightened up significantly, leaving the eager camera enthusiasts with great opportunities to capture the Eriska wildlife and the beautiful colours Scottish nature has to offer.
If you have taken any pictures of the beautiful nature on and around Eriska you would like to share, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and a little bit about why or when you took it and I will share them on our Pinterest profile.
Last week started with absolutely lovely warm temperatures and clear blue skies - West Coast Weather with a difference! Although some clouds did eventually catch up with us the temperatures were mild. The mild temperatures looks to be continuing, however the rain looks to be catching up with us for last week..
Today: there will be the odd heavy showers lingering into the evening but most places becoming dry with some late sunny spells. With light winds and clear spells some mist and fog patches are possible through the early hours today.
Monday: looks to be start with some early mist and fog patches but will soon clear to leave a bright day with some sunshine but also the occasional heavy, slow moving shower with a risk of thunder and good temperatures.
Tuesday: is predicted to provide some sunny periods and fewer showers.
Wednesday: Tuesday's weather seems to continue but feeling fresher later during the day.
Thursday: looks to be cloudy and muggy on with rain to clear leaving a brighter evening.
Friday: looks to keep the rain coming and the temperatures up with a few sunny spells throughout the day.
Saturday: looks to get a slight drop in temperatures and possibilities for thunder, otherwise a few sunny spells look to be coming through during the day.
A slightly humid week is projected. Time to hydrate and appreciate the few days of 'real summer' we do get on the West Coast of Scotland lies ahead!
After high expectations for a week following the good weather present across the rest of the UK, we were delighted to welcome the summer temperatures and sunshine to Isle of Eriska Thursday evening!
We have had quite a few groups staying with us this month and they could not have arrived at a better time! Days by the beach, jumping from the bridge and tours on Bloodhound have been enjoyed over the weekend!
Living something that almost looks like a fairytale we start wondering about what lies in store for us next week..
Today: Overnight there were low clouds and mist, which slowly thinned before disappearing this morning. It looks to be a nice and dry afternoon with some patchy cloud and sunny periods. Still feeling very warm but not as hot as recently. Later tonight there will still be good temperatures, but some low clouds and mist looks to be returning and staying overnight.
Monday: Looks to have clouds clearing through the morning with many places seeing another dry and very warm day with sunshine.
Tuesday: is projected to be dry and very warm and mostly sunny weather will continue through with some clouds appearing in the evening.
Wednesday: looks to be cloudier with some thundery showers starting to develop, but it will still warm and somewhat humid.
Thursday: is yet again cloudier with some showers. There will also be some sunny spells, and become quite humid as the temperatures are still staying above the 15s with possibilities for thunder.
Friday: looks to be much like Thursday, slightly warmer with clouds and sunny spells with possibilities for thunder.
Saturday: is projected to stay the same in terms of temperature, but with heavier clouds and rain.
Although some clouds and showers are projected at the west coast next week don't forget the sun spray! I think I would bring it with me everywhere! I don't know about you but just the smell of sun spray makes me think of summer!
I try each day to learn something new in an attempt to improve myself daily.
This may sound like a grand foolproof plan but at this rate I am not really making progress and sometimes not even standing still as I seem to become more forgetful-- well that's what all the team around me keep highlighting!!
So today as I drove out to get the papers I was listening to the history of St Swithens Day and hence the new obsession with the weather forecast for tomorrow
Swithun was initially buried out of doors, rather than in his cathedral, apparently at his own request. William of Malmesbury recorded that the bishop left instructions that his body should be buried outside the church, ubi et pedibus praetereuntium et stillicidiis ex alto rorantibus esset obnoxius [where it might be subject to the feet of passers-by and to the raindrops pouring from on high], which has been taken as indicating that the legend was already well known in the 12th century.
In 971 it was decided to move his body to a new indoor shrine, and one theory traces the origin of the legend to a heavy shower by which, on the day the move, the saint marked his displeasure towards those who were removing his remains.
The name of Swithun is best known today for a British weather lore proverb, which says that if it rains on Saint Swithun's day, 15 July, it will rain for 40 days.
- St Swithun's day if thou dost rain
- For forty days it will remain
- St Swithun's day if thou be fair
- For forty days 'twill rain nae mare
So what is ahead for this week and in particularly tomorrow!!
Today: After a stunningweek last week today will remain- Dry with some sunshine but rather more cloudy than yesterday.
Monday:Rather cloudy with still a little rain over higher hills- maybe at tis point we should highlight that St Swithen is burried in Winchester which is expecting a sunny day!
Tuesday:Rather cloudy and breezy with still a little rain, mainly over higher hills
Wednesday: It will be a dry and bright day with sunny spells.
Thursday:Rather cloudy but shuld at least remain dry
Friday: Dry, brighter and warmer on Friday with sunny spells and light winds.
Saturday: Largely fine and dry at first but it may change overnight into sunday where there may be some cloud and outbreaks of rain.