Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wednesday 10th August, Loch Linhe

Could it get any wetter? It started to rain last evening, and hasn’t stopped at all since!
So, we made our planned early start, and headed back up to Malaig to meet Ewan, our salty old seadog skipper (76 years old!). Waterproofs, extra layers, no socks and crocs made us about as weatherproof as we could get.
We set off from Malaig harbour with several other hardy holiday makers into the teeth of the weather, accompanied by Annabel and her friend (two incredibly confident seals swimming right alongside and looking us right in the eye) and Rebecca, the ever present seagull. The only thing older than Ewan’s boat was Ewan himself, but it chugged along happily in the chop. Ewan tended to the bilge pumps (always a confidence inspiring site as you set off into open sea!), George and then Charlie took turns at the helm, and Frances took over as cabin boy and made the entire ship’s company tea and coffee in the tiny wheelhouse. I was relegated to waiter, passing out the steaming mugs to warm freezing hands.
We saw a few sea birds (terns mainly, possibly Arctic terns, but no-one was too sure) and a few more seals (less inquisitive) but really the weather was so bad there was little incentive for them to be out of the water. So then we headed for the lea of the land and cast some lines for mackerel. After a few unsuccessful casts, we began to despair that it was too wet even for the fish. But then Ewan pulled up two in one go – the benefit of experience. Then it was another passenger’s turn…and then I bagged a couple – beautiful blue-green coloured fish, firm, perfectly proportioned. After a short wait George then reeled in a really heavy haul – as he brought them to the side of the boat, we saw three big mackerel on his line. But disaster – his line had become snagged with Ewan’s, and as I tried to help bring them on board the line snapped and the fish fell back into the water. Seconds later, Ewan pulled in his line to discover three (they were George’s) and this time brought them on board. All up the haul for the day was well into double figures, and we brought away a good bag-full of fillets for dinner. We made it back to shore with the weather easing a little, said our farewells to Ewan, and huddled in the car with the engine running and heater on full blast to eat our lunch.
Back at the campsite we hung our clothes out to dry in the drying room, and hunkered down in the caravan to thaw out. The next challenge is to pack the car and caravan, get the awning down, and get under way at a reasonable hour tomorrow morning – just half an hour respite from the rain would help! We’re heading to York to break the journey and visit Great Aunt Jane, Jonathan, Emma and Eleanor (we hope).

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