On our way back from Glasgow to Largs we catch a glimpse through the train carriage window of our boat in the harbour - easily recognisable by the two bright orange KiKa flags blowing in the wind. Once on board we sit down to plan our route and timing for the following days, with the knowledge that we have a flight to catch from Belfast to Amsterdam on the 30th. Thanks to advice we got from our friend Iain from Gemini, we decide to change our route to Northern Ireland via Stranraer and instead we head to the island of Arran to first stop in the north at Lochranza and then via Lamlash to Campbeltown before crossing the Northern Channel to Glenarm in Northern Ireland.
During our stay in Glasgow the weather was grey but now as we depart Largs we have good weather and head out between Great Cumbrae and Little Cumbrae Island towards Arran. The sailing is fantastic with breeze of 18 knots on the nose so we tack our way up to Lochranza in fairly gnarly water. At Lochranza we pick up a mooring buoy and become directly aware of the lack of shelter from the northwesterly wind. Leontine, on going below is struck with sea-sickness, which for both of us sets the atmosphere for the rest of the evening. Leontine puts on one of her special sea-sickness plasters and the next morning, feeling much better, we set off south to the sheltered bay at Lamlash on the east side of Arran. The trip itself is what real sail lovers call ‘champagne sailing’ downwind in 20 to 30 knots of breeze - Whiskey Romeo 4 behaved beautifully as we cruised at speeds up to 10 knots in the sunshine.
What a difference between the shelter at Lamlash and the lack of shelter at Lochranza. We take the dinghy to shore and explore the town which, as we experience everywhere in Scotland, is very hospitable and friendly. During the night we hear the mooring buoy tapping against the hull of the boat and Roland goes on deck to check and discovers not only that it is practically becalmed, but more importantly that the boat on the adjacent mooring buoy is just about to bump into our bow. Roland hangs up fenders fore and aft to avoid any possible damage and as the wind picks up again manages to get back to sleep in the knowledge that all the boats will be lining up bow to the wind.
The following morning again we are rewarded with beautiful sailing weather as we set off to Campbeltown. We are in good time and explore the town and find a good restaurant where we first do some whiskey tasting before Roland finally orders his Haggis starter as he points out this is the last evening in Scotland before we set out towards Glenarm in Northern Ireland.