‘That’s sup­per taken care of’

Yachting Monthly - - PILOTAGE -

scal­lops, but he doesn’t need it when sails his other boat, a Hall­berg-Rassy 38, which he bought un­seen off the in­ter­net and keeps in Cam­bo­dia, where he car­ries out vol­un­tary den­tistry work dur­ing the win­ter months. But dur­ing the summertime it’s the lo­cal wa­ters that pro­vide him with a rich har­vest of seafood. We sailed close in un­der the rocky head­land just South of the har­bour mouth where Ken­neth had set some creels. The first one is hauled to the sur­face and con­tains a lob­ster and a small crab. Two oth­ers con­tain three more crabs – all size­able eaters. Ken­neth baits his creels – made from re­cy­cled plas­tic milk-bot­tle crates – with dead mack­erel. He checks them from Scor­pio ev­ery other day in the sum­mer sea­son.

‘That’s sup­per taken care of,’ said Ken­neth as he un­wound a hand line with two un­baited hooks and trawled it astern of Scor­pio. Within min­utes he had a mack­erel on the line and Am­monite, fol­low­ing us astern, hooked three more.

The wa­ters sur­round­ing Lewis are alive with crea­tures of all kinds.

‘If I see some seabirds fuss­ing around the sur­face I know there’s a whale nearby,’ said Ken­neth, who showed me pho­to­graphs he took from Scor­pio of a 10m Minke whale. ‘And there are bask­ing sharks, too. They swim along with their mouths open about a me­tre wide.’

Out on the misty horizon the men­ac­ing shape of a fish­eries pro­tec­tion ves­sel was sil­hou­et­ted against the hazy sky.

‘I won­der how ef­fec­tive they are,’ said Ken­neth, ‘be­cause they of­ten sail with their AIS switched on which, of course, means that rogue trawlers can see them!’

Next we sail a biscuit toss away from a rocky ness and find our­selves in just 1m of wa­ter. ‘It’s tight, but safe,’ said Ken­neth as we turned hard to star­board and picked up a moor­ing he had laid pre­vi­ously in the an­chor­age of Tob. We had 2m un­der the keel as the tide dropped re­veal­ing two weedy spits of rock com­ing out from each side of the en­trance. We were com­pletely pro­tected from all winds, en­cir­cled by high rock as though in a mini Lul­worth Cove. Am­monite rafted up be­side us.

‘The He­brides has hun­dreds of an­chor­ages like these,’ said Ken­neth as he showed me the chart, ‘one ev­ery four or five miles, with per­haps Ben­bec­ula be­ing the ex­cep­tion.’

The great fea­ture of the He­brides for yachts­men is that these an­chor­ages are all small in­den­ta­tions and ac­cessed quickly, un­like the main­land lochs that take much longer to get into and out of.

Ken­neth has three bower an­chors ready to de­ploy: a Fortress on the bow roller and two col­lapsi­ble stock Fish­er­mans on each bow. ‘I of­ten use all three,’ he said.

Ger­ald popped a tin of beer and re­flected on the beauty of his cho­sen home: he’s orig­i­nally from south­east Lon­don. ‘I worked as a me­chanic tend­ing print­ing presses,’ he said, ‘and peo­ple kept drop­ping dead be­fore their time. I thought: “I’m go­ing to be pretty fed-up if I drop dead be­fore I’ve sailed round Bri­tain.”’

So he set off from Har­wich in Am­monite, but got no fur­ther than Stornoway. ‘I had found a place where there was very lit­tle tar­mac, no print­ing presses and just a few crofts. I stopped be­ing an­gry as the place seeped into me, and now it’s my home.’

Ken­neth baits his creels with dead mack­erel and checks them ev­ery other day dur­ing the sum­mer

Moored yachts en­joy­ing the peace and quiet in a cor­ner of Stornoway Har­bour

Skip­pers Ken­neth and Ger­ald dis­cuss the nar­row en­trance to the an­chor­age of Tob

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.