July 6


We made the crossing from Northern Ireland to Campbeltown, on the Kintyre peninsula. A good crossing, with very calm seas. On arrival in Campbeltown, I discovered that there was almost no internet service available- either using the phone, or the town services. This has continued throughout our Scottish adventure, until today and our arrival in Oban.

Campbeltown, Kintyre peninsula, Scotland

Tarbert, Kintyre: the harbour from the castle ruin

Tarbert Castle ruin

more approach to Tarbert!

the view from inside the Tarbert Castle ruin

Crinan canal entrance/exit at the west end

a steam ‘puffer’ boat, the last one floating, designed to work back and forth through the canal. Here, just after bunkering with coal on the port side!

Port Ellen, formerly a distillery, now a malting plant

‘align with the ‘LA’ on entrance to Port Ellen harbour…’

the Lagavulin distillery from passage to Port Ellen

Texa island in front of Lagavulin distillery

Texa Island ruins

We spent a very wet day in Campbeltown, learning the Scottish words for driving drizzle: smir (maybe phonetically spelled!). The day was ‘dreak’ (again, maybe phonetically rendered!). We explored the town a little, and especially the hotel bar which was a whisky tasting place. Then, on up the eastern side of the peninsula, taking advantage of the lee of the Isle of Arran to make our way to Tarbert (a very common place name in Scotland) and then Ardrishaig, and the Crinan Canal.




Tarbert harbour from our mooring. Tranquil!

At Ardrishaig, into the sea lock, and up a high ladder

on the wall of the lock to deal with license and all, then back down the ladder, which then failed and pitched me into the lock. My first unintended canal/sea bath! All was well, though, and I simply crawled onto the swim platform of the boat, and changed to drier clothes. We enjoyed the lock experiences again, with the need to work the locks ourselves as on the British canals. We shared with some other boats that had less experience, and made some new friends, especially on the Swedish boat ‘Resolute’. We spent one night on the middle of the canal, then on to the northern terminus at Crinan. The lock failed with the boat ahead of us, and enforced a 48h delay (which was fine as the weather was NOT conducive to cruising!). Then, on to Islay and Port Ellen on a perfect day, with gentle winds and smooth seas.


We ‘studied’ the distilleries on Islay, with a significant taxi ride across the island to get to our first stop. then back to Port Ellen with a couple of stops along the way. We claimed rent on our plots of Scottish land, deeded to us by Laphroaig. Then, back up the Sound of Jura, to Loch Melfort for another long day of perfect cruising.

A gorgeous mooring in Loch Melfort, in a little bay with about 20 other boats, and a very peaceful evening.

June 6 morning, fog and mist greeted us, so we gingerly made our way through Cuan Sound, and up the Firth of Lorn, to Oban.

the approach to Tarbert Harbour

Crinan canal

east Loch Tarbert, Kintyre

About Ed Mortimer

I'm a retired school teacher, now living on my narrowboat in Britain. I'm touring as much of the canal and river system as I can. This blog describes what I do and where I've been
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