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Sailing from Campbeltown to Lamlash

Motoring, sailing, motoring, sailing, motoring ….. well it’s an improvement on our first ‘sail’ of the season!

After a quick overnight stop in Campbeltown, and with an increasing northwesterly wind due in, we opted to head over to Lamlash on the eastern side of the Isle of Arran.

Departing on a beautiful morning we motored out of Campbeltown Loch and hoisted the sails. With enough wind we could finally sail for the first time this year and get our first taste of sailing Scotland. With a calm sea state and clear blue skies the boat was carving through the water beautifully and there was a real peace in the air, in fact we were the only boat out there. At that moment there was no where else we would have rather been…..this was exactly what we had hoped for when we decided to come and sail Scotland!

As we moved more into the lee of the island the wind really dropped off. We furled away the head sail and watched as our SOG dropped to just 1.8 knots! But we were still bobbing along, albeit very slowly. Rather than reach for the ignition key we reached for the frying pan and took this opportunity to cook up some French Toast, even managing to sit at the cockpit table and enjoy our breakfast in the seclusion and beauty of this landscape!

Of course though impatience got the better of us and as soon as we were fed we turned the motor on. However as we approached the coast off of Bennan Head, and more of the island started to open up, the wind picked up to 12 knots and we were able to get back to sailing.

Though this didn’t last either! The wind shifted and dropped off and despite our best efforts to continue sailing we reluctantly had to resort to engine power once again.

The run up the coast though was stunning. The dark blue seas were surrounded by thriving dense green hills intertwined with beautiful purple flowers. Goat Fell, the highest point on the Isle of Arran, made for a dramatic, with an almost Mediterranean feel, backdrop.

We opted to take advantage of one of the green visitor mooring buoys available at a charge of £10 a night (May 2024), although there are a couple of anchoring spots within the bay. You can pay at the ‘portacabin’ style ferry office at the top of the stone quay, although we only saw this open once during our stay. Alternatively, as we did, you can pay at the chandlery. The mooring buoys do not have pick up lines so we opted to lasso and then attach with our Moorfast.

Going ashore you can land your dinghy at the old quay pier, where there are rings and ladders you can tie up to. Ensure you allow enough scope for the rise and fall of the tide if you’re going to be a while, and bear in mind that at low water it’s a 3/4 metre climb up the ladder! Alternatively you can head to the slipway next to the pier, or the small beach area, and leave your dinghy out of the water. Just ensure you do not block access for the slipway which is used by the RNLI and local sailing club.

Moorings in Lamlash Bay, with Holy Isle in the background

Lamlash is a small village but you will find a number of places to eat including the popular The Drift Inn (we tried to eat here only to find it was fully booked on a Tuesday night in May!) and The Pierhead Tavern (known locally as The PHT) which serves a varied menu with regular quiz and music nights.

Another beautiful venue is the Glenisle Hotel which has a lovely beer garden overlooking Lamlash Bay and also serves food throughout the day. An additional bonus of this venue is the complimentary wifi. Since arriving in Lamlash we had pretty much no service on our Smarty (part of Three) network, despite claiming on their website that they offer 4g coverage here. As such we needed to use the hotels wifi to get online until we could purchase an EE PAYG SIM card at the nearby CO-OP supermarket. According to one of the locals EE is the most reliable network for the area, and further north, and is the only service used by the emergency services here.

Rubbish can be disposed of in the bins at the top of the slipway and you will also find a water point within the boat yard.

Lamlash Bay is relatively sheltered and for the duration of our stay we hardly felt any movement. When the light wind did shift to the east we did have a bit of ‘pitching’ but nothing too uncomfortable. That said if the wind had of been stronger it may not have been ideal.

On a couple of nights we were fortunate to see Eos moored in the bay. She is a three-masted Bermuda rigged schooner and is one of the largest private sailing yachts in the world. She is currently owned by movie and media billionaire Barry Diller, husband of fashion designer Diane von Fürstenberg.

Sailing Yacht Eos is Lamlash Bay

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