Scotland and Norway 2009

Oban to Fort William, and part-way up the Sound of Mull

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We sailed North West from Oban and stopped for a few hours at Duart Castle, home of the head of Clan MacLean.  His Lordship was in residence and showed us around.

Duart dominates the entrance to the Sound of Mull and is one of relatively few castles in Scotland that is habitable today.

Hundreds of castles were been built in the 12th till 14th centuries, but most are in ruins today.

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After the short stop on the temporary anchorage below Duart Castle, we sailed on a few miles to Lochaline, a popular and well sheltered anchorage off the North side of the Sound of Mull. 

The weather stayed great, and we made good use of our two mountain bikes in the virtually unused roads and tracks around the area.

Although small, Lochaline boasts an inhabited castle and a Victorian mansion, both tucked in the trees at the head of the loch.


From Lochaline, we headed NW up the Sound of Mull for Tobermory, one of our favourite Highland villages.

We were surprised to be hailed by Ron Leniston from an Irish boat heading SE.  We have been friends since the early 1970's , but has not met for about 20 years since he set off to sail around the world. 

After 10 years he settled in the Philippines.   He had to be in Oban that night, so we turned around, and headed back down the Sound where Ron took this shot of us.

Of course, we had a good evening with Ron and his crew.

We stopped a couple of days in Port Appin, about 10 miles North of Oban to enjoy hiking on the rhododendron covered peninsula, and the small restaurant.
Loch a'Choire is a quiet, deep, undeveloped inlet off Loch Lhinne

Still heading North, we passed through the Corran narrows, where the lighthouse seems to be in danger of invasion by rhododendrons.

We stayed on a Fort William yacht Club mooring for several days, while biking and hiking around the area.  One day we took the ski lift up Aonach Mor, to try the downhill bike trail.  Trails there are graded Easy, Moderate, Difficult and Extreme. Only the latter two are available off the lift, and we though we could handle the "difficult" one.  We had a rude awakening when we learned that the British grading is different from Canadian.  Scenery and weather were great, but we had to walk about half of the trail.

Helen is negotiating the rocks on one of the easier sections.

We were frustrated that our photos do not show the true difficuties at all well.

One day we biked up Glen Nevis and hiked on up to the Steall Falls on the River Nevis.

Little had changed since Neil camped a couple of New Year's weekends there in the 1960's.

The River Nevis flows round two sides of Ben Nevis, with a little used road on about half of its length.

We had hot sunshine for most of our time it Fort William, which is quite unusual.

 After a few days, we moved on up to the Caledonian Canal to cross Scotland to Inverness.

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