New Rudder installed in a straightforward manner and we managed to depart Ardfern as planned on the last of the ebb tide on Saturday morning.
Both of us were nervous and decidedly unpracticed, but we managed to get ourselves down Lock Craignish and through the opening Dorus Mor with a gentle 4 knot favorable current! Then we decided to raise the sails… The wind came up nicely and before you know it we were sailing at 8 knots with a 2 – 3 knot tidal push towards Fort William.
We decided not to push through all the way to Fort William but instead to take Simon Currin’s recommendation and anchor in the little Loch Corrie under the Morven Hills. Very nice! Interesting anchoring however in 60ft of water…
We got up early Sunday (5:00) in order to take advantage of current and to get to Corpach – the entrance to the Caledonian Canal – which we reached just before 9:00am and went straight into the Sea Lock.
Transiting up towards Neptune’s Staircase a series of 7 or 8 up locks we made about every mistake in the book – failing miserably to dock the boat at every opportunity, unable to throw rope to helpers on land – you name it, everything seemed to go wrong – and tensions were running very high – but we managed to keep everything controlled.
We locked through with a Belgian boat – and had people watching all our mistakes – and as we progressed up the Staircase, we chatted with spectators – all quite an ego boost (until we made the next mistake!)
Fortunately but the end of the day we were pretty well practiced and things ran smoothly…
It’s great to be back on the water and on our way again!!!