Thursday

What a difference being in a canal rather than in harbour. There is such a stillness and the water is like glass.

Dawn on Thursday in Sea Port

Dawn on Thursday in Sea Port

Dawn Thursday

Dawn Thursday

Sea Port Marina is just inside the first two locks and a swing bridge. It was obviously constructed as a quay to take the ships waiting for the locks ahead, but today it has pontoons for transit boats and a quay for some pretty big converted barges that offer holidays afloat and sport bike racks with 10 mountain bikes for their guests.

Approaching Sea Port

Approaching Sea Port

We spent the day preparing for Dawn and Ian’s arrival ……. on a boat, everything has its ‘cruising’ place and bulky stuff like bedding is ‘vac packed’ to save space, so the arrival of guests triggers a well oiled process of moving A to B and B to C so the forepeak ‘suite’ is as welcoming as it can be.
Clearly one of the most important bits of preparation was to make sure the beer fridge and the ‘Del Boy’ drinks cabinet were well stocked, so we walked along to the supermarket carrying the trolley ……… we return trundling the trolley behind us, clinking and clanking its load over the cobbles.
Dawn and Ian arrived at 2000. It was great to see them and we spent the evening catching up over a glass or two.

Friday

After the excitement of us actually managing to rendezvous, we all woke early, so after a cup of tea and showers we decided we’d have a leisurely morning and then set off for the first swing bridge and locks of the day.

Not to be outdone by the Big Boys… Marcus and Ian decided to get our bikes out of their bags and assembled……

So easy to assemble

So easy to assemble

........and this bit........ goes like this?

……..and this bit…….. goes like this?

…………no mean feat for the pair of them!

I got on with making breakfast …….. suddenly the plans changed and we were off!…….. to catch the next opening of the swing bridge …….. Luckily the breakfast was ready….Dawn had laid the table in the Cockpit….. beans, mushrooms, fried bread, bacon (everything except the eggs) ready on the stove……, so breakfast went on hold and it was all hands on deck!

The newly assembled bikes were strapped either side of the mast and, within 5 minutes,  we were at action stations.
After the first lock we were a slick team………..Ian was our ‘Shore Liner’, Dawn had ‘Aft Control’, I was the ‘Bow Restrainer’ and Captain Courageous took the helm.

Shore Liner Ian

Shore Liner Ian

Aft Control and Captain Courageous

Aft Control and Captain Courageous

Our first flight of 5 locks

Our first flight of 5 locks

Once we were through the flight of locks we moored up just before the next swing bridge, which was scheduled to open in half an hour at 1310…..and sat down to what had now become Brunch!

With Ian at the helm we negotiated the next half metre drop into our first Loch ….. Loch Dochfour.

The weather was HOT!!! we were all in shirtsleeves…….. this is the life!

Shirtsleeves in the sun, with bikes at the mast behind

Shirtsleeves in the sun, with bikes at the mast behind

The smaller lochs soon opened out into Loch Ness. There were a few pleasure boats steaming up and down and the Spanish yacht that we had shared locks with…….other than that we had the loch to ourselves.

Fly fisherman on the river next to the canal

Fly fisherman on the river next to the canal

Swallows and Amazons moment on Loch Ness

A ‘Swallows and Amazons’ moment on Loch Ness

The canal runs above the river

The canal runs above the river

Urquart Castle

Urquhart Castle

By about 4 in the afternoon, the wind picked up to a low 4 and we sailed ‘goose winged’ for the lower half of the loch……..Fantastic!

Sailing down Loch Ness with Ben Nevis in view

Sailing down Loch Ness with Ben Nevis in view

Having looked at the forecast for Saturday, we decided that if it was going to rain all day we would be better off moored in a town than working the locks, so we pulled into Fort Augustus for the next 24 hours or so.

Our next 'flight' at Fort Augustus

Our next ‘flight’ at Fort Augustus

We took a short stroll up the flight of locks to the Lock Inn for dinner and a short stroll back down to The Bothy….. then back to the boat for a Winter Warmer and off to bed.

What a great day.

3 Comments

  1. You keep on about Dawn in your first two pictures but i’ve looked and i cant see her anywhere?

    • hayward.margie@gmail.com

      She’s there Steve……..Aft Control behind Captain Courageous. I’ll put a better one in today ……. she’ll be waving just for you!

  2. Richard & Kay

    The Canal looked fantastic and very interesting. Hope to see you soon. Take care.

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