Matt Don­ald and Paige Gro­gan find Scot­land is the ideal place to start their round-the-world odyssey

Yachting Monthly - - CONTENTS -

Sail­ing around the world, start­ing with Scot­land

Sail­ing Scot­land in early spring was won­der­ful; an ideal way to start our global ad­ven­ture. There are plenty of ar­ti­cles and videos about sail­ing in the trop­ics, with white sandy beaches and crys­tal-clear wa­ters, but not half as many about sail­ing in beau­ti­ful Scot­land. Con­stantly sur­rounded by green moun­tains, we of­ten felt like we were sail­ing through the pages of a fan­tasy novel. Whether it was seals, deer, dol­phins or the oc­ca­sional whale, there was no short­age of wildlife. Scot­land is rich with his­tory, so you can of­ten find your­self an­chored be­side cas­tle ru­ins with no one else but the odd cuckoo around.

We bought our Con­test 41 Nova at a small ma­rina north of Oban in Loch Cr­eran, a stun­ning part of the world sur­rounded by moun­tains and for­est. After get­ting her ready for our trip with help from Ewan, the owner of the ma­rina, we were ready to set sail at the start of May 2017. We de­cided to do a shake­down cruise with fam­ily, and planned to leave our moor­ing at Cr­eran and sail up the Sound of Mull to Tober­mory. We would then spend two nights there and fit the fi­nal parts of our Hy­drovane, so that we could start mak­ing our way back to­wards Cr­eran via Loch Aline and Oban.


We fi­nally slipped our moor­ing on 27 April with fam­ily aboard for our first sail on our very own yacht. After spend­ing the pre­vi­ous night plan­ning, we knew we had to be un­der­way no later than 0800 to catch the tide leav­ing the loch. Cr­eran’s en­trance is a dog­leg, which makes it a very shel­tered loch but quite in­ter­est­ing to sail. The loch is well buoyed and we man­aged to get out with­out any prob­lems. We set course to­wards the Sound of Mull with a south-east Force 4 and be­fore long, we’d shaken out the can­vas and Nova be­gan mak­ing good

speed. Once we’d made it to Lis­more Light, we headed north-west up the sound to­wards Tober­mory. We ar­rived just after 1430 fol­low­ing a good sail of 33 miles and picked up a swing­ing moor­ing.

Tober­mory is a colour­ful place to visit. The story goes that one day, the owner of the Mish­nish de­cided he wanted to re­paint the front of his pub. Un­for­tu­nately, the only colour he had was bright yel­low. Hop­ing no one minded, he painted the en­tire pub and went off to bed, ex­pect­ing to be told he must re­paint in the morn­ing. The next day, to his sur­prise, he found all of the neigh­bour­ing build­ings were be­ing painted bright colours: the en­tire town loved the newly painted pub and de­cided to fol­low suit. We couldn’t re­sist pay­ing a visit, treat­ing our­selves to a few pints and some pub grub in front of the fire. The next day, feel­ing a little worse for wear, we left the swing­ing moor­ing early and moored on to one of Tober­mory Ma­rina’s pon­toons. This al­lowed us to spend the day fit­ting the last parts to our Hy­drovane, which we nick­named Heidi.

peace and quiet

With our third crew mem­ber Heidi the Hy­drovane in­stalled, the fol­low­ing day we left Tober­mory to head back to­wards Cr­eran. Our first stop was just a few hours down the sound at the gor­geous Loch Aline, where we de­cided to an­chor for the night. We were the only yacht there at the far end of the loch.

It was so peace­ful that we could have spent days there. Un­for­tu­nately, our guests needed to get home, so the next day we upped an­chor and car­ried on with our jour­ney.

The next port of call was Oban again, only half a day’s sail from Loch Aline, and we ar­rived in time for lunch. The wind had picked up con­sid­er­ably and after head­ing to the nearby is­land of Ker­rera, we had an in­ter­est­ing chal­lenge in pick­ing up a swing­ing moor­ing.

Once we’d suc­cess­fully se­cured Nova to the swing­ing moor­ing, we headed to shore. We de­cided to spend two nights at Oban be­fore we headed north back to Loch Cr­eran to say goodbye to our guests and start our ad­ven­ture.

A week sail­ing this part of Scot­land proved what we had al­ready ex­pected of the place: the views are amaz­ing and the sail­ing su­per. After our fam­ily left, we spent an­other two months sail­ing the west coast, go­ing round Skye and all the way out to the He­brides.

We can def­i­nitely say it has been one of our favourite places to sail so far and would en­cour­age ev­ery­one to go and visit to ex­pe­ri­ence the views for them­selves. Even with the rain and mist, it is still a lovely place to visit, and any damp­ness is worth it for the days when the sun shines and the dol­phins play in your bow waves. It’s safe to say we can’t wait to visit again on our re­turn to the UK.

Matt and Paige did a num­ber of shake­down sails on their Con­test 41 Nova be­fore leav­ing the UK

The pair even­tu­ally spent two months cruis­ing Scot­land, in­clud­ing Ar­madale on the Isle of Skye

Wildlife en­coun­ters are com­mon while sail­ing Scot­land

Matt Don­ald set off with his part­ner Paige Gro­gan to sail around the world in May 2017. Fol­low their ad­ven­ture at www.liv­ing­with­the­

Loch Cr­eran will al­ways be spe­cial as it was where the pair first sailed Nova

Scot­land’s ex­quis­ite moun­tains of­ten left them feel­ing as though they were sail­ing through the pages of a fan­tasy story

paige and Matt plan to re­turn to Scot­land

tober­mory pro­vides a colour­ful back­drop and some friendly hostel­ries

Sail­ing in Scot­land is of­ten through crys­tal-clear wa­ters

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