Memories of a Scottish summer
The Club’s Scotland rally in June begins to seem like a distant memory as autumn marches on and the days grow shorter.Mike and Pat Dittner had kindly agreed to organise a get together in the western isles in what proved to be a very popular event with seven yachts attending. The Dittner’s yacht Detemer is now based at Dunstaffnage and they were joined by Tim and Anne Bizzey on Storm Petrel, James Hester on Eliza and Bill and Pam Preece on Bonny May all having sailed up from the Clyde. In the fullness of time Michael Forbes-Smith had chartered Clan at Inverkip, and to complete the party Lindsey Gill chartered Eloise from Dunstaffnage.It was then to the delight of everyone that Hunter Peace and Lazy Life decided to make a classic 1200 mile round trip to join the party from the Solent. With seven yachts signed up, five owned and two chartered, the stage was set.On Saturday the 14th June the yachts and crews gathered at Lochaline in the Sound of Mull. The start of a rally is always a time of anticipation as the yachts trickle in, lines are picked up and the crews settle in to the accompaniment of a welcoming wee dram or two.Lochaline sports a fine new pontoon with facilities. The Loch has a narrow shallow entrance opening out in to a sheltered anchorage, a popular first stop for yachts heading west out of Oban.The weather forecast had been showing encouraging signs for some days so on Sunday morning the crews took in their lines and set sail westwards down the Sound of Mull, destination Loch Drumbuie about 15 miles away to the west. With anchors holding well the word was out that the barbeques were to be fired up early enough for the feast to be finished before the descent of the midgies. The barbeque went with a swing until the cry of ‘midgies ahoy’! A beach has rarely emptied so quickly, within minutes everyone was back on board where there was reasonable shelter from the beasts.On Monday the cruise left the shelter of the Sound and headed further west to Coll, a barren and exposed island with few trees but a charm all of its own. Thanks to Pat’s careful planning we sat down to a delicious dinner together in the Coll Hotel and afterwards made our way back to our bunks well satisfied and ready to move on.Tuesday took us off in all directions, some north to Rhum and others south east towards Iona and Staffa, the latter a ‘must’ for lovers of music and unique geology. On Storm Petrel we visited the Treshnish Isles, had a wonderful close up view of Fingals Cave and then found shelter for the night in Gometra on the south side of Mull.By Thursday it was time for everyone to gather together again in Tobermory with its chocolate box charm in order to catch up with the others and swop stories of where we had all been and to enjoy our last night together. A truly remarkable week ending in a final dinner in the THA building having been piped ashore in fine style by our resident piper from Clan.Friday was a time of fond farewells and good wishes as we took off to our various destinations with universal agreement that this had been a wonderful adventure in amazing surroundings and thankfully in wonderful weather. For us it was time to move on to explore further afield with many more fascinating places to visit.A big vote of thanks goes to Mike and Pat for their hard work and careful planning which served to make this such a pleasurable experience for us all.The Little Ship Club remains true to its tradition of cruising in good company.