Caledonian Canal , Loch Ness and Nessie!

Se sailed through another lock, through a swing bridge and then there was Inverness marina and thank god.  Both vinni and I were tired as hell.  Vinni hoisted me up the mast so I could make some repairs and then we collapsed into bed and both of us slept the sleep of the dead for an hour or so.

 

Off to Clanchnaharry Inn for dinner and then it will be back for an early bedtime (no sex – we’re tired as all hell).

Inverness and the canal

 

Well – no rest for the wicked, I guess.  We wandered down along the canal to the Clachnaharry (lovely name isn’t it?) Inn for dinner, only to be told – no tables, they’re full. After some discussion, they suggested we go to the Castle Inn (yes Inverness has a castle just like all Scottish towns). A taxi deposited us in front (right next to the castle) after a 10 minute ride.

It was a true Scottish pub with lots of ale being drunk and everyone watching and discussing the football game.  We had mussels and they were the best damn mussels we’ve had in a long, long time.

Taxied home to Capri and hit the sack (hard).

Thereafter we spent a lot of time trying to get everything repaired. I spent almost 3 full days trying to get our short-wave radio to show a GPS position and finally had to give up when I reached the limits of my technical skills and the limits of our measuring equipment.  This will just have to wait until we get to a harbor with a skilled technician (Dublin??).

As we sailed into Inverness, I spotted a carpentry shop right next to the canal and walked down to see if they could make us some new wood for our bowsprit. Very friendly fellows, they had no teak but they did have Ikoro wood (poor man’s teak) and next day they had made up new wood, this time 30mm thick instead of the 10mm teak we had and all for the unbelievably low price of 95 pounds (including the labor to cut it).  This was the deal of the century. So I carried it all back and got busy mounting.

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Easy as 1

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2

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3 easy peasy

All done in about 4 hours – looks really good.

And as you can see – guess what?  It rained.

I spent the mornings trying to find an internet (no luck). Finally the big day came and we ascended the Muirtown lock a series of 4 locks that raised Capri about 14 meters and set us on the way into Loch Ness.

We stopped at the pier at the top of the locks for the night and guess what was there right alongside

No I didn’t buy one. We did see quite a few scots wearing them around town – just normal dress here for the men – Vinni kept wondering if they were wearing anything underneath (what is it with this fascination women have with kilts and if the men wear anything underneath – I mean women usually wear underwear under their skirts – don’t they? Or have I been misinformed?).

Here at the top of the locks a big sailboat wearing a worn Norwegian flag pulled up next to us.  It was crewed by 4 norwegian “jenter” (jente is Norwegian for girls). Beautiful all as most Norwegians are, they were also big, meaning big boned and tall.  They had just finished doing the atlantic circuit, down from Norway, across with the ARC+ last year (where they met our friends Lars and Lisa and got to know them well), sailed in the carribean all winter, then back across the atlantic, they were now homeward bound. Although not before crossing Scotland, and then taking a quick little sojourn to the Orkney, Outer Herbrides Island, and the Faroe Islands before heading home.

They certainly got both my and Vinni respect – a long journey and not one most women would undertake in an all woman boat. There were two generations on board – two women about 50 and two young women in their twenties.

Early next morning they took the staircase down and we sailed out onto Loch Ness, cameras ready (after all – somebody has to take the first real picture of Nessie and It might as well be us – then we’ll be rich and famous and can afford to buy a bigger boat). By the way it was raining.

Nessie was there just a second ago – she looked right up and grinned at me – honest to god!  Would I kid you?

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we made lots of friends along the way

Halfway across the Loch, we dropped the hook for the night, grilled some lamb chops, boiled some new potatoes and opened a bottle of Vinni’s favorite wine, Chateauneuf du Pape. This wine usually makes Vinni a little frisky and did so tonight also.

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Incredible morning

Somehow I suspect Tolkien saw this when he was writing Lord of the Rings and coined the words “The Misty Mountains”. Mornings like this take your breath away.

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There’s Nessie!!!

High Lat, baby, High Lat

 

Amongst sailors, there’s a concept called “High Lat sailing”, meaning high latitude sailing. Depending on who you ask – this starts at either 55 degrees north or 60 degrees north (or south, of course).  If it starts at 55 degrees, wwell then Vinni and I are “High Lat” sailors since Copenhagen is above 55 degrees north.  If 60 degrees then we don’t quite make it.  But I will say that if you’re sailing up here in the north and there is snow on the hills around you (in june) then you are most definitely “High Lat” sailing. Look at the videos – lots of snow on the hills.

 

Did someone say we were going on a trade winds passage? Bikinis and bare chests???  What the hell are we doing here?

Here’s some video of god given land – indescribably beautiful – despite the rain

 

The other end of Loch Ness narrows down and here you find Fort Augustus, which is quite touristy for a place so far up in the highlands. Everyone is very interested when you are locking up or down and Capri is already the center of attention in hundreds of tourist pics.  We are always the biggest boat locking and we’re also a sailboat which excites a lot of comment. Quite few come over to talk to us – “have you sailed all the way from Denmark? Where are you sailing to?  Are there only the two of you?” And much much more.

They’re all just floored when we tell them that we don’t know when we will be back in Denmark and we have a goal of circumnavigating.

The locks here are manned by 4 “bimbos”, my apologies to any women who take offense at that, but these 4 young women were more interested in talking to each other and checking out how good they looked in the uniforms than they were in doing their job.  We tried for 2 hours to raise them on the VHF (they are supposed to answer and all the other locks answered right away)without luck.  We talked with some other sailors at the locks and they had the same experience.  One of them, who sailed the canal regularly said” it’s always that way here”.

We spent a night in Fort Augustus, trying to catch up on writing and we went out for dinner – going to a local pub afterwards for a beer.  The brits have just voted for Brexit, which one would think would be  the main topic of conversation since it will have a profound effect on the country – but most seem relatively disinterested.

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Fort Augustus locks

By the way – it was raining.

From Fort Augustus, we lock up 5 locks and sailed out onto Loch Oich – an indescribable sail. Certainly, we’ve never read much about in it the sailing books we read – and we simply can’t understand why – this was beyond belief. A true “once in a lifetime experience”.

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Grilling lamb chops

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waterfalls along the way

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