FABULOUS RALLY - PERFECT WEATHER - BEAUTIFUL SCENERY
Reports to follow in due course.
Thanks to Ian Fisher and his team for a brilliant National week!
Trevor Thomas SOA Nat Hon Sec.
It is too long since we have had Shrimper Week in Scotland and this is being put right in 2010 by arranging a weeks sailing in the Firth of Clyde, and with the possibility of an informal second week cruise either through the Crinan Canal to Oban, Isle of Mull and the inner Western Isles area, taking in perhaps Iona and Fingal’s Cave, or alternatively a cruise in the Loch Fyne area and south to Arran.
We now have 33 boats registered.
The Firth of Clyde is a sheltered but wonderfully scenic cruising area with destinations ranging from sheltered bays to busy fishing harbours and marinas. Long lochs penetrate far into the highlands whilst its outer reaches comprise a scatter of islands, each of a different size and character. Land based attractions include castles, archaeology, sub tropical botanical gardens, distilleries and some beautifully restored Victorian toilets !
The week will be centred in Rothesay on the Isle of Bute and we will day sail from there but with one night away planned after a BBQ – option to return to Rothesay for the night.
Rothesay (reputed to be the warmest place on the Clyde as the Gulf Stream pours straight in) is a former Victorian holiday town, which is ideal for the Shrimpers in that are shops, restaurants of all kinds, pubs, accommodation from grand to simple, and plentiful diversions, all close to hand to a harbour which will be for our sole use.
Each day’s sail is approx 5nm to 10nm each way and would be the means of getting to the days social event. These include a BBQ, a visit to the Marquis of Bute’s Victorian Gothic Mansion, and cycling opportunities on Bute and other islands. There will also be one or two races.
Start and finish will be at Kip marina (45 mins drive from Glasgow). The second week would likely finish at Oban where there is a very scenic rail connection to Largs/ Kip via Glasgow in order to fetch cars and trailers back to Oban for recovering boats.
To provide a broad picture of the plan:-
Fri 11th June – recommended arrival and launching day. Launch at Kip Marina (near Greenock) by crane or slip (H.W 12:00), leave cars/trailers. Local accommodation and overnight marina berths available.
Sat 12th June – Last minute launching, sail (9nm, fair tide, 2 hrs) to Rothesay on the Isle of Bute, our base for the week. We have a dedicated area in the inner harbour with access to toilets and showers. The harbour is in the centre of the towns with shops, restaurants and accommodation close to hand. If needed there is a regular ferry to the mainland, landing one mile from Kip Marina.
19:00 Welcome buffet supper and briefing at the Isle of Bute Sailing Club
Sun 13th June – Easy sail in and around Rothesay Bay. Port Bannatyne for picnic or lunch in café ashore. Return to Rothesay for supper - own arrangements or join others at the nominated establishment(s)
Mon 14th June – Kyles of Bute area (7nm, 2hrs each way). Picnic lunch at Caladh, which is a small bay tucked in behind a rhododendron covered island at the northern end of the Island of Bute. Explore ashore. Return to Rothesay for supper - own arrangements or join others at the nominated establishment(s)
Tue 15th June – Race Day. Two races in Rothesay Bay, hosted by the Isle of Bute Sailing Club. Fish and chip supper at the Isle of Bute Sailing Club.
Wed 16th June – Mount Stuart, the Marquis of Bute’s Victorian Gothic Mansion, is one of Britain’s most spectacular Victorian Gothic houses (6nm, 1 1/2hrs each way). Anchor and dinghy ashore. Tour of house and lunch.
Evening – Ascog (3nm towards Rothesay) BBQ. Overnight at anchor or return to Rothesay.
Thu 17th June – Millport – an island to the south west of Bute. (8nm, 2 1/2hrs each way). Circumnavigation of island by bicycle. Return to Rothesay for supper - own arrangements or join others at the nominated establishment(s)
Fri 18th June – Short day towards Loch Striven. This day may be needed as a fallback in case one of the previous days is postponed due to bad weather.
Evening – Dinner/ prizegiving at the Victoria Hotel in Rothesay
Sat 19th June – return to Kip Marina and depart for home, or commence informal second week cruise. I would like to stress the informality of the second week. The exact arrangements will be decided by the participants at the time, however two possibilities are:
- A passage through the Crinan Canal to Oban, returning to Kip Marina on the 25th to collect cars and trailers, drive to Oban to collect boats.
- A cruise round Loch Fyne area and south to Arran.
Sat 19th – return to Kip Marina and depart for home, or commence informal second week cruise
Fri 25th – Oban to Kip Marina by train to collect cars and trailers, or other arrangements depending on where we end up
Although the weather in Scotland can be changeable, the plan is for inshore, sheltered sailing so we are unlikely to see big seas. There are plenty of shoreside activities if a distraction is needed, either because of bad weather or for mutinying crew. These include Rothesay Castle, a swimming pool, Botanical Gardens, numerous scenic walks, bicycle hire and golf. The fact that our base is right in the middle of the town and that we are returning every night makes it easy to find comfort if the weather is poor, and will help those that prefer shoreside accommodation.
I have been liaising closely with the Tourist Information +44 (0)8707 200619 in Rothesay who see the Shrimpers as a significant tourist attraction. They are working with us to organise some events and evening entertainments during the week. They can also provide details of accomodation.
Dinghys will be useful for getting ashore at the picnics etc. although if you don't have one I'm sure you'll be able to get a lift from someone else.
Launching has been arranged at Kip Marina at £85 for craning both ways, car and trailer storage, or £30 for use of slip, car and trailer storage. The slip is somewhat narrow and shallow but I have used it and found it satisfactory. It is accessable for three hours either side of high water, which on Saturday is at 12:00. To avoid congestion at the crane it is recommended to arrive and launch on the Friday. It will then be possible to take a marina berth at Kip or travel to Rothesay.
More thoughts on 2nd Week
The second week of Shrimper Week should be regarded as an informal cruise, organised at the time by the people who will be taking part. There are around 18 people who have said that they will stay for the second week and I would expect that there will be a number of sub groups going to different places and with different timescales.
Some alternative plans might be to remain in the Clyde area for the second week and cruise around Arran, Loch Fyne etc.
Having said that here are some details about Oban and the possibility of craning out and fetching the trailers.
The marina at Dunstaffnage is the closest one with a hoist. It is around three miles by road from Oban town centre. There are a number of slipways actually in Oban and these can be found on the following website http://www.boatlaunch.co.uk/
The best way to recover the trailers is to travel by train from Oban to Glasgow and then Glasgow to Inverkip (there is a station close to the marina at Kip) and then drive back to Oban. This round trip will take a full day but both the train journey and car trip are very scenic. I would expect Friday 25th June to be the day that most people do this. Train journey details can be found at www.thetrainline.com There will be no need to book in advance.
Imray C63 is the only chart I use for the area. This is a nice waterproof planning chart with lots of insets for the various harbours that we will use
The website above will give you other charts for the area – C65 will take you to Oban and C23 to Inverness. The Chandlery at Kip Marina has a few of these charts in stock (as of 7th June)
Apart from the insets however these are fairly large scale and are not much use for other anchoring and close inshore work etc. For more detail you may wish to consider the Imray 2800 series and 2900 series.
The two Pilot books I have used in the past are:
For Clyde Area up to the Crinan i.e. planned first week and second week option of cruising to Arran:- Clyde to Colonsay (Yachtsmans Pilot) (Paperback) by Martin Lawrence
For the second week option of Crinan Canal to Oban:- Yachtsman's Pilot to the Isle of Mull (Paperback) by Martin Lawrence
The Pilots contain a lot of detailed safety and hazard information but are not really necessary for cruising, especially as we will be cruising in company. They are factual rather than containing much in the way of opinion or descriptions of towns and sights. I would say that they are not really necessary.
You might find these sites useful for further reading material
Lastly, here’s a custom map I've built for the week.Zoom in and see exactly where we're going.
Here is the booking form, in a choice of formats, giving full costs:
Ian Fisher - Black Sheep (435)