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Sarah looking over a beautiful Harris beach

After leaving Canna Island on a rainy morning, we decided to sail to the Outer Hebrides – which is a group of islands in the North Atlantic off the West coast of Scotland.

It was a cold, wet and bumpy sail crossing the waters known as the Minch (we didn’t come across any blue men though) but at least we got to sail most of the way. On the way the wind direction changed several times, so we constantly had to look into new places to anchor for the night. But we ended up at a very beautiful anchorage at Floddaymore Island, where we saw an eagle and several deer while entering the narrow entrance.

It was not the easiest anchorages as the water is either quite shallow or really deep and the low hills didn’t offer much protection from the wind. We tried to drop the anchor 3 times before it set well and we would feel completely relaxed about the distance from shallow water or rocky shoreline.

Anchoring is an art and a religion we might get into in another post if someone is interested?

anchorage at loch Maddy

Steves birthday at Loch Maddy

The next day Steve could celebrate his birthday. As the sun was not shining and it was pouring with rain, it seems like he hasn’t been well behaved the last year (which apparently is only a Danish saying). So we motored to the next harbour at Loch Maddy, where we wanted to take a walk around the little town. But when we had landed on the pontoon we were met by a friendly guy who told us, that the pontoon wasn’t fastened to the seabed and could not hold a boat. We learnt that it had been damaged by a dredger working on the ferry dock the previous year and there was an ongoing dispute with insurance companies, so we had to go anchor around the corner.

Steve had ordered a pancake layercake for his birthday, so Sarah spent 1,5 hours cooking pancakes for the delicious tiramisu pancake cake.

Feeling like in the Caribbean in Scotland

snow bear sailing boat in East Tarbert Harbour

After another slightly wobbly anchor night, we sailed north to the town of East Tarbert on the Isle of Harris for some shelter from strong winds coming from North. We had some great days there, where we were met by a friendly harbour master who gave us a tip to take a bus ride to their beautiful beaches on the West Coast of Harris

So after having some difficulties figuring out if we were on the right bus, we tried to sit back and relax while we drove into the very stony landscape. Nothing revealed that right around a corner we would be met by blue bounty water and fine sandy beaches. It was a sunny day and we could walk with bare feets in the sand and dip them in the water (that was very cold as we remembered we were still in Scotland).

We had a dinner at a hotel in Tarbert, which seemed to have been really fancy and still had a bit of worn down grandeur. It also exhibited a window where there author of Peter Pan had scratched his signature in a pane of glass.

In the hotel bar a band was playing oldies but goodies. They were very charming because they played with so much happiness and enjoyment, so it was easy to ignore that they seemed a little unpolished.

Scalpay – The island of Sheeps

Eilean Glas lighthouse on Scalpay
Eilean Glas Lighthouse, Scalpay

We moved the boat to the short distance to north harbour in Scalpay. Both because we had heard wonders of the tiny bistro there and because we had met a great couple who had their boat moored there and wanted to exchange stories (and technical thoughts) over a glass or two of wine.

The east side of the island features the distinctive Eilean Glas Lighthouse which is one of Scotlands oldest lighthouses built in the 1780s, North Harbour is on the West side of the island and the entrance is really shallow, the chart had a big black sausage shape on it which we couldn’t figure out what was, but as the tide was flooding with 1,5M above the chart datum, we felt ok going in. (Antaries Charts are indispensable for exploring and navigating harbours and anchorages in Scotland)

The island is really cute and there are sheep and young lambs walking freely around everywhere.

We found out that the big black sausage was a century old barge called Cretetree that was built in Aberdeen using concrete. In 1961 it had been grounded in the corner of the harbour, not it would seem in its originally intended position where it should have formed a breakwater and working pier in the harbour. An old local fisherman told us that it had been used to store lobster nets and other fishing gear.

We also had a beautiful dinner at the North Harbour Bistro, where we especially enjoyed the starter and the fries that were really well done.

Salmon starter from the north harbour bistro

After the dinner we met up with Paul and Andrea and talk about life and boat stuff over a drink. It was a great evening.

Visiting Snow Bears home port Stornoway

We thought the wind looked perfect for anchoring at the dramatic islands of Shiant Islands but as we were approaching the wind shifted and we saw the chances for a reach all the way to Stornoway.

So we dropped anchor and had a lunch break at the Shiant Islands whilst watching thousands of birds swimming around us in the water.

The dramatic Shinto Island

Continuing on to Stornoway we got a good reach until we suddenly had to much wind for the UPS we were flying. That sail is just a so difficult as it works great in 15 knots but at 18+ it is a struggle to furl.

Stornoway is a cute fishing town with a big castle built on opium money. It used to only be the rich people who could go into the park, but now it is all open to the public.

We also took a bus out to the Calanais standing stones that are approximately 5000 years old and discovered that there are many of them in this area as we passed more on the bus.

The 5000 year old standing stones

We had a fantastic meal at The Fank where they made some great salads, broccoli and crème brûlée.

So after a few emotional last days on british soil (and a last fish and chips) Steve is now ready to depart from the UK – Indefinitely!

Faroe Islands here we come 🇫🇴

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