13: Dunvegan to Stornoway, 20th July
Shipping forecast, South Hebrides, variable 3 or 4 becoming N or NE 5 or 6 later, showers, fog patches; moderate or good, occasionally poor
Conditions on departure from Dunvegan, windless with the sea like glass, made a sharp contrast to those a day or two earlier on our arrival. We weighed anchor at 08.45 with the intention of making Stornoway before the strong northerly weather, set in later. With no decent shelter after leaving Skye until we reached Stornoway, I didn’t want this wind coming up too early and heading us while we still had some way to go, and noted with some unease each time catspaws of wind from the north ruffled the mirrorlike sea . The windless conditions generally persisted though, with fine and warm sunny weather, the first for many days, and we made steady progress under power, passing inside the Shiant Islands around lunch time. The wind finally started to fill in, but with mostly east and not much north in it, allowing us to lay the course under sail for the final few hours of the passage along the rugged and sparsely populated east coast of Lewis.
We berthed in Stornoway harbour rafted outside a decommissioned and slowly decomposing trawler on Cromwell Quay (we were too big for the marina, maximum 40 feet) at 17.10 hours, having been directed here by the very helpful harbour master who, indicating us to follow, jumped into his van and led the way round to the appointed place.