The caledonian canal…
Let us sum up traveling through the Great Glenn at a speed of 4.5 knots (8.3 km/h). We can do it as a Q&A maybe…
Q: So was it raining all the time?
A: Naah, only once or twice a day, good weather in Scotland means you’ll see the sun and the rain only hits you a couple of times a day. Saying that we had stunning weather (rain once a day maybe).
A: High is easy, it’s beautiful you know, all the mountains, lush green forests and sheep everywhere. Just like the brochure but they must have taken the pictures on the only sunny day that year. Lows.. Harder, but I’ll go for the landscaping. If you have a canal through all that stunning scenery, you might want to trim the trees closest to it so that you might actually see something. A lot of the time you spot something in between the trees and by the time you’ve got your camera ready it’s too late…
Q: Being your first time as a skipper trough a canal how did it go?
A: Actually better than I thought. It was the first time Martina even saw a canal (except for in a picture), going from that to piloting Trusty through a lock was good progression in a week.
A: Don’t bring it up.. We were motoring with no cares in the world and all of a sudden the depth sounder went from 245 to 3m and we heard a roar as she surfaced yelling at us to surrender our beer and 3:50. Only quick reflexes from us, throwing rakfisk (Norwegian smelly stuff) at her, saved the day. We’d been saving that shit for keeping boatboys of us in the Caribbean, it’s an irreplaceable loss.
Q: For real?
A: Nope, but we took a picture of something that might be a brand new sighting. You judge for yourself.
The canal have some sisterly connection to Göta Kanal that goes through Sweden, made by almost the same group. They made the Scottish version first and then the lead engineer was consulting engineer for the Swedish, not saying that the Swedish is better but the locks are shorter and the landscape is not as dramatic as the Scottish one. Hence, you don’t get side-tracked by discussions about if it’s a deer or a sheep you see silhouetted high in the mountains, might have been a goat. There are a lot of rental boats going up and down the canal and the quality of the skippers vary quite a bit, we heard from some other swedes on the canal that they had been watching one of the big ones try and dock at a pontoon for about an hour before finally sorting them self out. One is always a bit more careful when entering a lock full of the rental cruisers.
We rented a car and went out on Isle of Skye for one day. It’s strange finding landscape like that in Europe and when the rain started falling again and we drove home while it was pouring one could only imagine why the Scottish folklore is full of wonderful stories, better to sit by the fireplace, sipping something nice making up things than being out in the marvellous Scottish weather.
Stopping at a local chip-shop we were informed that hot beverages weren’t served after 17:00 on Saturdays, kind of annoying when one is craving a tea after all the rain and wind. Instead, we found a small shop, bought some beer and whiskey and went home to our heating-system in Trusty. We actually have two separate systems and to be honest both were working at the same time for a bit.
The sad part about the canal is that you kind of get sensory overloaded after a while, when you go from Inverness the really beautiful part comes in the end of the canal and then you’ve already filled your cameras with pictures of mountains, castle ruins, sheep, Nessie, goats and sinking/sunk/soon to be sinking boats. The same with your mind, when finally Ben Nevis shows up and boast about being the highest one in all of Britain you just go, meh another mountain, big deal? (Per is a pessimist! Martina doesn’t agree.)
I think one really shouldn’t take the whole canal in one go if you really want to appreciate it all, my dad who just had been to Loch Ness were really liked the second part and I think we would have too if we hadn’t reached our quota on mountains and sheep.
Finally, all the nice Scottish summer weather proved to be a good leak finder and we’ve spent one day just fixing the dripping that our warm DRY nice boat all of a sudden showed. Martina showed great humour marking all the leeks with pictures of leaks.
It’s now been a month since we last worked and I think we’re slowly realizing that we’re not headed back at the end of our 3 week vacation. It’s a bit difficult to understand, hopefully we’ll adjust but who knows.
Going through the sealock in Corpach we enter a new world, a world of tidal currents, 4 meter differences of the water surface, rush floods and other things that might scare the living shit out of an inexperienced sailor. Still haven’t found the Icebergs of my dreams but I know they’re lurking out there, the temperature in the mornings tell me I must be close…