Thursday, April 26, 2012

I want to sail in Scottish waters

So if the Solent isn't top of my list of places I want to sail, where is?

Well if the title of this post didn't give the game away hopefully the flag in the photo above will. For some time now I've wanted to sail the waters around Scotland.

I've visited the Highlands and Islands quite a few times on family holidays and just loved it. Wild moors with nothing but herds of deer, idylic sandy beaches, crystal clean waters, impressive mountains rising out of the sea, Gaelic culture, stone age remains, friendly locals, good sea food and air as strong as an iron girder forged on the Clyde.

But I've never sailed those waters apart from a couple of afternoons in a dinghy and the inevitable CalMac ferry (above) and yet the area seems ideal for yachts.

There's been a big push to "Sail Scotland" and facilities have been expanded, and while we were on Islay we saw them building a big marina. But usually looking out to sea you'd be lucky to catch sight of a single yacht, which is strange given its under an hour's flight from London, with no passport required.

What about the weather? you're probably thinking.

Well ok it isn't exactly the Caribbean, but it is surprisingly temperate, given its the same latitude as Hudson Bay and Labrador in Canada, places where icebergs drift and polar bears go wandering.

But Scotland is warmed by the gulf stream and typically is only a few degrees cooler than the rest of Britain, though it might indeed be a good idea to stock up with Musto base and mid layers before heading up there.

And on its doorstep there are all sorts of really interesting places: sail for just a few days and you're in untouched wilderness.

One day, hopefully soon, I'll find out for myself.

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