Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Croeso I Cymru

We are now resting happily in a marina berth in Conway, surrounded by very expensive looking boats
We have travelled quite a way over the last few days, having left Peel at 2.30am on Monday morning. After a slow start in pitch darkness we were pleased to pass the calf of Man at first light

After an uneventful motor sail we felt relieved to arrive in Holyhead  by teatime.
It is not until you visit Holyhead that you realise how massive the breakwater actually is. It took several years to build, is over a mile long and took the lives of 40 workmen. We decided to stay in the marina for the night but were shocked to discover that the marina no longer exists, having been destroyed during winter storms at the beginning of the year. We were fortunate therefore to be able to pick up a buoy at the Holyhead Sailing Club. I am pleased to say that the marina is currently being rebuilt and should reopen by next year 

My brother Mal was very pleased to discover that the Sailing Club sold Black Sheep beer and so he was able to introduce me to this delicious beverage.
After a day of reflection we have today sailed the relatively short distance to Conway past the Great Orme, where we are going to stay for a couple of days in order to enjoy a small family reunion before the trip down the Menai Straits.

This is a picture of The Great Orme

Sunday, 15 July 2018

No 4G in Peel

Having used up all my data allowance, I am now reliant on WiFi in order to use tinternet
Yesterday was spent going around the Isle of Man on various buses. We visited Douglas, Laxey and Ramsey before returning to Peel to meet up with Peter and Fenella who live on the Island

Today we have visited Peel Castle and are preparing ourselves for the trip to Holyhead tomorrow. My brother Mal says that he really likes the Isle of Man and particularly  Okell’s bitter. He was however rather scared by the lifelike model of the dreaded Black Dog of Peel Castle

Mal is thinking about buying a massive motorbike in order to ride around the TT circuit, so any advice in this regard would be gratefully received. He would also like to hear if anyone could lend him some tight leathers to try.
I will write again whenever I can find free WiFi 

Friday, 13 July 2018

Dolphins and fair wind on the way to Peel

After a leisurely breakfast in Ardglas, we set sail at lunchtime for gentle 30 mile trip to Peel on the Isle of Man

The time past relatively quickly and was enriched by a visit from a group of dolphins which swam next to the boat for about 10 minutes. Sadly, the anticipated sighting of Minkie  whales did not materialise
I learnt that it is very difficult to photograph dolphins ... particularly when you are also steering but try to imagine the scene from this photo!!

We were pleased to arrive in Peel just before high tide and when it was still light, so were able to enter the inner harbour after only a short wait.

I really like Peel, which is fortunate as we will be staying here for a few days for crew change and sightseeing.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Down the coast to County Down

Today’s theme has largely been: rain, cloud and little wind.

We left Bangor early and enjoyed heavy rain for most of the morning

The crew modelling her vintage sailing onesie

. Unfortunately the visibility was poor but thanks to a favourable tide we arrived in Ardglass in good time to have a meal in the very welcoming Golf Club and then settle down to watch the football.
Ardglass is a lovely little harbour which dates back to the early 18th century. It once had a booming herring fleet but sadly it is looking a little tired now

The golf club is housed in a building that claims to be one of the oldest club buildings in the country. It has a spectacular view towards The Isle of Man, where we hope to be heading tomorrow.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Dawn off Ballygally Head

One of the highlights of this trip has been to come to Northern Ireland and to sail past Ballygally Head with Lucy on board.

We did this early this morning and so arrived in Bangor in time for a late breakfast 
We were delighted to welcome Lucy’s father, Peter and sister, Felicity on board and we spent another pleasant afternoon chatting, drinking tea and eating ice cream.
This is a most picturesque coastline and we hope to enjoy more of it tomorrow when we hopefully head to Ardglass which is about 35 miles awayI don’t think we will start so early tomorrow!

Black Head

Avoiding the Larne ferry

Monday, 9 July 2018

A lovely day in Glenarm

My friend Tonny left on the 10 o’clock bus to Larne this morning in order to get to Belfast airport to catch a plane to Gatwick
Before long however I was delighted to welcome Peter aboard, along with Lucy and Will, my new crew mates.
We spent an enjoyable afternoon chatting  drinking tea and eating strawberries before Peter had to get home to tend to Molly his cocker spaniel.

In the evening we were interested to watch some rehearsals for the Orange day parades which all take place on Thursday
Tomorrow we’re off to Bangor...... early start to catch the tide!!

Sunday, 8 July 2018

More headlands on route to Glenarm

The excitement from yesterday’s football took its toll on the crew, so a gentle morning was spent reading the papers and generally recovering.
As lunchtime approached we felt ready for the arduous task of motoring the twenty miles to Glenarm in a flat calm sea.
After passing several headlands like this one:

we arrived at Glenarm by early afternoon.
This is a very pretty town with a picturesque Main Street and two welcoming pubs.

They are also hosting a traditional All Ireland’s  wife carrying contest here next month , in Glenarm Castle. Sadly I will miss this as I undoubtedly would have won.

Tomorrow we bid a sad farewell to yet another crew mate. My friend Tonny has been a great support in enabling us to negotiate the treacherous tides of the inner Hebrides and I am most grateful to him for his help. In his place we welcome Will & Lucy who are here to not only provide local knowledge and expertise in our journey South but also take over the running of the boat whilst the skipper has a rest in anticipation of the semi final against Croatia.