Campbeltown (Scotland) to Rathlin (Northern Ireland) 34.5nm, Sailing around Britain 2014

Date posted: 28 July 2014

Before I tell you about our sail from Campletown to Rathlin let me tell you that Campletown has a strong association with the whiskey trade, at one time there were thirty seven distilleries in Campbeltown, now only one exists here, Springbank, which also produces, Hazelburn and Longrow.

Remnants of a golden era still exit, within the architecture of the town, Sean and I spent an interesting morning in the rain walking amongst the narrow passages and standing in archways reading about various buildings.

Representation of an ancient Dalriadic boat by George Wylie

Representation of an ancient Dalriadic boat by George Wylie

 

 

 

 

 

 

Campbeltowns second name was ‘The wee Glasgow by the sea’, this is owing to the fact that almost all the architects that worked here at the turn of the last century were based in Glasgow, and we can certainly see their influence. Sadly one feels that today’s architects are more constrained by budgets, as the two pictures of tenement buildings demonstrate. The block built in vibrant red sandstone hides delightful communal back gardens and wash houses ( now sheds), the modern back yards are concrete! There is a real mixture of styles exhibited here within a basically early Scottish Renaissance period.

Argyll street / Barochan place tenements

Argyll street / Barochan place tenements

 

These are in stark contrast to some of the more elegant earlier social housing buildings

These are in stark contrast to some of the more elegant earlier social housing buildings

 

The wash houses and drying greens, coal cellars and many internal original stairway features made this tenement building worth studying.

The wash houses and drying greens, coal cellars and many internal original stairway features made this tenement building worth studying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are so many grand buildings in Campbeltown, I particularly liked the sheriffs court house, with a central tower in the gothic period and the town hall dating from 1758, which had many vicissitudes, the original building had mixed sex prison cells, over the years it has been used as meeting rooms, a town hall and committee rooms, it has been used for a multitude of social uses over the succeeding years.

Sean  and Viv beside the town hall.

Sean and Viv beside the town hall.

Although it poured with rain and was all a bit grim, we still enjoyed ourselves. Amusingly there are no official yacht facilities near the pontoon. It’s a five minute walk to the nearest public toilets and about a seven minute walk to the local swimming pool, where yachtsman can have a shower for £3.60! Alternatively as Marina did, she used her concession for a swim and then showered for £1.90.

We had to pay our berthing charges at the Royal hotel, for us it was £17 per night, with electric included. We replaced one of our gas bottles here for £30.99.

 

On night one we gathered in the cockpit, and used the laptop to watch ‘French Kiss’ with Meg Ryan, we spread ourselves out under the cockpit tent, with lots of cushions, popcorn, muffins, tea and alcohol and thoroughly enjoyed the film.

Night two we went for dinner at the Black Sheep restaurant attached to the Royal hotel, which is the closest to the marina. We then came back and watched another DVD.

I got up early this morning and made a Lamb Moroccan dish, which I then left to cook in the Mr d’s eco thermal cooker, ready for this evening.

This morning also found us queuing at the Springbank distillery at 10am for a guided tour. I have to say this was one of the better guided tours, I was especially keen to do this tour as Springbank and Laphroaig are my favourite scotches, I prefer the underlying taste of peat and smoke in both. I particularly liked the family ethos of the distillery, the ‘factory’ employs 77 local people, and only the bottling process is automated. As you walk about you get the sense of history, and the importance and pride given by the locals to the distillery.

A wee dram of Springbank to start the day!

A wee dram of Springbank to start the day!

We left the marina to head off to Rathlin at midday; Marian had prepared a detailed passage plan. There was a lot to consider today, the marina guide suggested that we went through Sanda Sound, which is exactly what happened. Its springs today, so the tide is at its strongest, which meant as we came through Sanda Sound into the Mac Donnell Race we were averaging 9 knots.

The tide was coming from the southeast, and the wind from the northwest, so we performed a crab like motion as we sailed over to Rathlin Island. We were tracking 263’ but the course steered was 230’, we needed the 263’, but we appeared to be side onto Rathlin Island the whole afternoon, a very strange sail.

Plenty of wind today, and once we were round the Mull of Kintyre the wind was perfect for a good sail over to Ireland. We encountered some quite rough water between Sanda and the mainland, lots of over falls and dirty water, not helped by the effect of tide against wind.

We did our usual hour about on the helm, I started by coming off the pontoon at Campbeltown and Sean ended the day by bringing her onto the pontoon at Rathlin. On the way into the harbour, we noticed a small boat towing a fishing vessel, so we approached and offered help, which they declined. Ten minutes later the fishing vessel came into the harbour under her own steam, so I don’t know what that was about.

Our last glimpse of Scotland as we sail round the Peninsula of Kintyre

Our last glimpse of Scotland as we sail round the Peninsula of Kintyre

 

The Celtic multi national flag, covers all our options!

The Celtic multi national flag, covers all our options!

 

Rathlin Island  approaching Rue Point.

Rathlin Island approaching Rue Point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinner was very welcome, washed down by a couple of beers from the Orkney Islands! We had planned to stay a couple of nights, but there doesn’t seem to be very much here, so we may head off tomorrow afternoon when the tide is favourable, I’ll let you know!

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I hope you enjoyed reading about this section of our trip from Campletown to Rathlin on our journey sailing around Britain, if you did please leave a comment.

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