Wednesday, May 22, 2024

2024 May 21st days 53 - 55, Kyle Rhea and hiding from another gale.

Bad news on Wednesday morning; on Tuesday the forecast had been for strong northerly winds and I was planning to shelter on one of several anchorages near Rassay, probably Churchtown Bay, but this mornings this was the inshore forecast at 07:00:

24 hour forecast: Variable 2 to 4, becoming north or northwest 3 to 5 later. Smooth or slight. Showers, fog patches in west. Moderate or good, occasionally very poor in west.

Outlook for the following 24 hours: North or northwest 3 to 5, increasing 5 to 7, perhaps gale 8 later. Smooth or slight becoming slight or moderate. Rain and showers. Good, occasionally poor.

And worse the met office model I downloaded showed gusts of 50 knots Wednesday night.  

With the direction of the wind not 100% certain I changed my plan and went to Upper Lochcarron, the best anchorage in a northerly that I know of in the area, sensible depths, there would be a reasonable distance behind in case of problems, mountains to windward are some distance away reducing the chance of mountain affects and there is good protection from wind and sea from the NW to NE and some from every direction.

Anchored at the red circle, chart by Antares.

Getting there required passing three tidal gates in one tide, The Kyle Rhea, The Skye Bridge narrows and Strome Narrows at the entrance to the loch. To do this I timed my arrival at the south end of Kyle Rhea for slack water, easy enough to do as I was only about 7 miles away, leaving at 10:50 I was there on time at 12:35 and went through with only a modest maximum tide of 2 knots. 

Sandaig, home of Gavin Maxwell and the Otters.
Annoyingly a nice sailing breeze set in as I entered Loch Alsh but it was dead on the nose and if I tried beating against it I would miss the tidal gate at Strome Narrows. So I motored on.

A unique sight for me, Skye bridge and a clear sky.
Naturally the wind died as I went under Skye bridge when I could have sailed so it was a motor all the way. I arrived at 16:35 in time to get 10 litres of diesel, a few items from the shop - a long row up wind, and again failed to replace an empty Gaz cylinder.

The entrance to Strome Narrows centre left to Plockton right.
Strome Narrows.

On Wednesday it became even more apparent that the change of plan was a good call, all forecasts in the area were worse  and looking further out, as is normal with a passing depression up here the wind will veer, from N or NW to NE which could cause a problem in some anchorages.

With the possibility of gusts of 40 - 50 knots some additional precautions are in order, either backing up the anchor, putting out two anchors or both.

A significant change in wind direction makes having two anchors out problematic so the first job  on Wednesday, before the heavy rain arrives was to back up the anchor with 10Kg of anchor and 5 metres of 8mm chain that should stop the anchor from being jerked out. Hopefully the anchor will reset by itself as the boat swings from lying to the west to NW, but that should happen soon when I will be awake.

Ready to go
In action with the normal shock absorber to stop the chain
“Grumbling” against the roller. The wind is c 18 knots less
than 10 minutes after it being zero.
The lull before the somewhat delayed storm. Coincidently
its 3 years to the day since I last rode out a storm here.

Hopefully I will be able to move out on Friday.

Lots of pictures to follow.


  1. Sandaig, or Camusfearna, is one of my favorite places. I used to climb with a chap who had a house in Glenelg.