Category Archives: boats

Skye – the latest Ferry Dog

It comes with the job – it would appear that being a ferry skipper is not complete without a version of ‘Man’s best Friend’.

Here she is all ready to cast off the good ship Belnahua at North Cuan – our latest refugee from the dog pound —

Wait a minute! They say dogs look like their masters —

Maybe that’s why my missus would like to bring Skye home with her 🙂

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Posted by on March 28, 2018 in boats, Isle of Luing


Dawn till Dusk with the Belnahua

‘Dawn till Dusk’ – ‘if only’ say the ferry men and women – yes we have a lady skipper too and they are all expected to be up at ‘dark-a-clock’ to take their turn (in pairs) to bring the Belnahua from it’s mooring in open water to the island jetty in time for the first run of the day at 07.30hrs.

She’s at the jetty now and you may board her – if you can find her —

One of the benefits of being retired is that it’s usually OK to travel in the second – or third wave of the day – drive on in daylight and enjoy the five minute crossing —

admire the snow-capped mountains on Mull glistening in the sun as we did today on the 10.35hrs crossing —

or keep an eye out for the occasional sea eagle – seals – otters and other wildlife that find food around here in abundance —

The ferry dog having made the crossing many times at half hour intervals over the years has seen it all and has been known to swim the tidal race on his own when boredom gets the better of him —

Our drive over well gritted roads in temperatures just above freezing to Lochgilphead and Ardrishaig went well —

but the short winter days meant it was dusk by the time we made the return crossing —

and there was the Belnahua waiting to take us safely once again over the narrows of Cuan Sound —

and home —

to Luing 🙂


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Posted by on November 29, 2017 in boats, Isle of Luing, out and about


CRF 250 Rally beats the Oban logjam

With the traffic in Oban at a standstill due to road re-surfacing where all the industrial estates – super-markets and schools collide we can’t blame the motor-homers this time. In my eyes it’s the Council Planners to blame – or to be correct – the complete lack of planning.

It’s October – most of the tourists have been and gone. The few that are left are in the main heading for the islands via the ferry port in the town centre. Traffic is at a standstill this week – and next probably as there is not a lot of action taking place on the roadworks despite the number of colourful hard hats in attendance. There have been times when stationary traffic has snaked all the way from Dunbeg – a northern outpost of the town to Soroba in the south. Disruption to local schools and businesses must be immense.

Local geography means there’s no chance of a bypass anytime soon but what happened to night time working? The roads are virtually clear from 19.00hrs through to 07.00hrs the next day.

No worries – particularly when you have a slim-line Honda CRF 250 at your disposal – perhaps we should all have one —

She slips quietly through the stationary traffic as if it wasn’t there and takes to the little-used backroads when neccessary leaving the motorists to their over-heating grid-lock —

Mind you – I did think I’d blown it when I discovered two sections of my backroad detour under water at the bottom end of Loch Nell but if the wee CRF doesn’t have enough ground clearance with her 21ins front and 18ins rear wheel then little else does. I doubt if it was much more than hub deep and no doubt the lower engine cases were needing a wash anyhow.

The 16 miles from town centre bike park to ferry usually takes about 20-25 mins and today was no exception – despite the stationary traffic in town and added mileage on my revised route so a 15.00 hrs kick-off had me at the 3.30 ferry with ease —

Even the Skipper was impressed – but not for long —

it takes a lot more than that to impress a ‘ferry dug’ 🙂



Tall Ships passing Fladda Lighthouse

What a difference a touch of sunshine makes. We enjoyed it’s warmth as we waited by the North Cuan ferry ‘terminal’ for the Hotpoint truck* to arrive with promised delivery of our new appliance around lunchtime and watched the gannets dive from a height for fish.

They were so spectacular – at times they appeared to pick their prey up from under the noses of a couple of angry grey seals who would actually leap out of the water as they attempted to nab both bird and fish!. A party of about fifty shags and a variety of ducks and seabirds joined in the fun as a large shoal of fish funnelled through Cuan Sound. Even David Attenburgh would have been hard-pressed to decide what to point the binoculars at next.

Later in the afternoon with the new dishwasher safely across the Sound on the small ferry – up our rough farm track in the rear of the Yeti and now nestling happily under the draining board in the kitchen we were on our own side of the island looking west to Fladda Lighthouse when a couple of tall ships came through on the breeze —

My own photos weren’t much cop but thankfully H made a better fist of it —

They knew what they were doing and passed through the narrow navigation channel twixt Fladda Lighthouse and it’s neighbour with the unpronounceable gaelic name under full sail as if threading the eye of a needle —

Magic – especially here in the Sound of Lorne on the way up to Oban with the Isle of Mull in the background —

I did say two ships but unfortunately we were without camera when the second passed through. She carried two gaff rigged masts plus four square rigged topsails complemented with a trio of foresails all filled to perfection. A wonderful sight.

Makes me wonder why our 17ft 6ins gaff-rigged Lune Whammel gave me so much trouble to rig for the very first time t’other day —

At least I know where this bit goes even if it was hard to tell by looking at the rigging what right way round it goes —

and wee H was no help at all while she was falling about laughing 🙂


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Posted by on August 30, 2017 in boats, Isle of Luing