Leaving Edinburgh was a hard decision, but going towards the Caledonian channel filled us with excitement, so in spite of waking up at 6:30 on Sunday, 15th July, we were thrilled to set sail to Inverness!
During most of the trip we were lucky with the weather, we had current with us and we managed to sail with a spinnaker for more than 17 hours, averaging 7 knots speed !! That meant, however, that both Jelle and I were awake for an awful lot of hours, as night sailing was not super easy and we did no shifts. We did manage to witness a beatiful sunset, however, which made all the weariness melt away and brought smiles to our tired faces.
After 35 hours of sailing and motoring (at some point the wind died!) we threw our anchor at the most peculiar little place, called Cromarty.
The anchorage was sheltered and featured a tiny, picturesque village on one side and old, oil rigs at the other side! Quite a unique sight!
The local rowing club showed interest at our Libra, although admittedly, more interest towards Jelle, as the ladies were often chatting with him and giggling.
We left our pretty anchorage on Thursday, 17th July and headed towards Clanchnaharry sea lock, the entrance of the Caledonian channel. We left with current with us, as carefully planned the day before (thanks Navionics & Reeds!) and we were lucky enough to be escorted out of the bay by the most beautiful creatures!
We passed the first two locks and moored at the Seaport marina for the first night. It is official, we are in the Caledonian channel, which we hope it is a path to find gold, considering the huge entrance fee we had to pay!
After 7 locks and 3 swing bridges we succesfully reached Loch Dachgarroch, one of the four lakes of the channel. It is so beautiful here, it feels like the time has stopped and the only things left growing are the flowers and trees.
Yesterday we crossed Loch Ness, the biggest lake in the UK and famous for its snake-dragon monster, Nessie. We did try to look for her, but with no success, so we compromised with a cute sticker instead 😉
Crossing Loch Ness took us half day, mainly due to the strong wind against us. The scenery was breathtaking and we enjoyed our voyage nonetheless.
Later in the afternoon we reached Fort Augustus, where we moored for the night and spent the whole day today too. We saw the pepper mill, the smallest lighthouse in the UK (maybe in the world!), an old Abbey, and strolled around in some amazing spots around Loch Ness.
It is quite busy here at Fort Augustus, which became more evident while crossing 5 ascending locks, one after the other in cold and rain, accompanied by a big group of spectators!
I guess that explains why the grass is always greener here, it rains a lot!
We still have 16 locks and 6 swing bridges to cross so stay tuned!