All up by half 7 ready for our start through the canal. Supposed to open for 8am but they are a bit like Pembs up here so it was 9am before the locks opened for business. Very relaxing few hours in flat water motoring at no more that 4 knots. 1st set of lock gates consisted of 5 rising locks which can cause a bit of turbulence if you open the sluice gate a little quickly. A little like white water rafting in a confined space. Stopped for a pint at the Cairnbaan Hotel which is situated next to the lowering locks. Much quicker to navigate. Headed off to the sea lock then at Ardrishaig to continue our planned trip to Tarbet. Quite breezy, and as luck would have it bang on the nose. So up with good old faithful number 3 and full main for a beat to Tarbet. Wind picked up a tad so we reefed the main and that made life a lot more comfortable. 4 tacks saw us freeing off at the entrance to Tarbet and safely in by 6ish. Been for a hot shower and set up a FaceTime chat for Ben and his girls. Think they would have stayed on for ages but had to end the call to go and get some food. Off into town now to feed and water 4 hungry (and sweet smelling) sailors. Plan tomorrow is head to Cambeltown, a trip of approx 30 miles. Had our evening meal at the Sea Bed restaurant in Tarbet and very nice it was too. Plenty of seafood options(sorry James) oh plus a rib eye steak for Ben. Back on boat now for a nightcap of tea or coffee and a bit of planning for our leave time tomorrow. Best get to Cambeltown as forecast for Wednesday is looking bleak so may be stuck for a day or 2. Well enough of me waffling on for now. Speak to you all tomorrow. Sleep well.
Popped down town at half 8 for breakfast and to get some supplies for the boat. Left Tarbet at about half 9 for a 30 mile trip to Cambeltown. Once again our old favourite the number 3 was in play with a single reef in the main. All this because the wind was on the nose again. A cracking sail nevertheless, which meant we actually sailed 48 miles to get here. Cambletown seems a pretty little town with the berthing being one long pontoon. At the moment the pontoon is full with many boats having to raft. Pity the poor boat alongside us as we are in full game playing mode now at 2345pm, maybe a tad noisy for a while. Decided to tow our para vane and spinner today as we saw lots of diving Gannets. This resulted in me catching 1 mackerel and Ben catching 6 mackerel but only landed 4. Still it made for delicious fresh mackerel sandwiches when we moored up. Yum yum. Went for shower at the local leisure centre as we were told it was open till 9pm, so a bit disappointed to get there and be told it actually closed at 8. Time was 8-10pm. Darn. Shower in a can again and out for food. Indian tonight and very nice too even though we were the only customers. He did seem genuinely pleased to see us. Back on boat for night cap and games now so will sign off and write again tomorrow. Sleep well.
Forecast bad for next 2 days so looks like we are harbour bound. Been up tourist information and over to Bluebell cafe for breakfast. Showers are in the local Aqualibrium so headed over there to get clean. Was the same £3.40 for a shower or a swim so Ben, Chris and I went swimming then showered. Passed an hour nicely. Back to boat and sort out a bit before heading to town to find some cable ties and jubilee clips. Popped into some of the local establishments to check their wares before heading to the Bangladeshi Indian restaurant for food. Bit of a shock that they don't sell beer or wine. Nice food tho then back to the royal hotel for a pint before retiring to the boat. Only 3 games of sequence tonight of which Chris and Ben won 1. Then checked boat was secure before going to bed. Night all.
Lazy start but a hearty (or heart stopping) breakfast. My turn to chef this morning while Chris and Ben tightened the rigging. Doug sorting stuff at chart table ready for possible early departure tomorrow morning. More maintenance after breakfast with a clean up of galley area, replenish diesel and water plus a trip to the shops for food. Boat all sorted now and up The Black Sheep Pub for a lunch time passage planning meeting. It is a recently refurbished pub directly over the road from the pontoon gate, so convenient too. Have booked ourselves into the Royal hotel for evening meal at 9pm cos didn't fancy Indian again. Nice food in the hotel tonight and wine was ok too. Back to boat for a very quick nightcap then early to bed. Night all.
Strange ringing in my ears at 6 o'clock until I realised it was Chris's alarm. Yippee a days sailing ahead. Not so yippee now having looked out of the window. Chucking it down with rain and still feels to blowing a bit. Bloke on the boat opposite(Taplice,nice name), who told us he was heading to Bangor this morning, informed us that the met office was giving 5-7 south east today. Checked forecast on IPad and it was correct but due to drop off so we bit the bullet and suited up after a cuppa. Headed out of Cambeltown with 2 reefs and the number 4. Bit lumpy but not too bad. Soon lost a reef then set number 3 after lorn sausage sandwiches. Put kettle on hold to shake out last reef so now sailing well and not a force 7 in sight. Thankfully. Sun has come out and rain gone away so much cheerier teddies on Maelstrom now. Scotch pies for lunch but unfortunately the wind has died as forecast so under engine by about half 3. Hope to make Bangor early evening although tide is against us now. Arrived safely in Bangor NI at 19.55hrs and in marina berth E15. Been for a couple of pints and picked up a fish supper for tea. Ate on boat with a glass of red wine. We are aware that maybe white wine would be a better accompaniment for fish but out of white at the moment so will need to restock both wines soon. Just planning tomorrows trip before a quick shower and bed. Sleep well.