Borders Exploration Group
Patron: Sir Michael Strang Steel Scottish Charity No:SC034336
Ocean Bounty 1998 Diary
Thursday 13th August 1988
Another expedition on the Ocean Bounty for 12 Borderers but this time the weather was worsening on the road to Corpach. Steady rain by the time we negotiated the lock and set off down Loch Linnhe. Decided to anchor in the safety of the myriad of tiny islands to the north of Lismore. Huge quarry (SANDA) nearby, so lots of activity at sea tonight. Granite mined here purported to have been used for the Channel Tunnel.
Sailed to Craignure on the island of Mull to take miniature railway to Toronsay. On to Duart Castle for a look-see. Picked up by dinghy and sailed for Lochaline as weather is worsening. Walked up to 30-40 ft waterfall and a quick visit behind it. Very powerful.
Beautiful morning but by 7.30 it was all over. Decided to visit the Silica mine where we were given a guided tour. The mine is huge and into the hillside. Silica is found in little sachets in new shoes and bags, also, the very fine sand is ideal for glass making eg Selkirk Glass. Sailed on to Tobermoray for necessities and went for a walk to the lighthouse and a scramble on the rocks.
Joined the queue at the harbour for water and fuel, and then headed for the open, very rough sea. Arrived in loch Ceann Traigh where some decided to play football on the beach. Three of the party rowed ashore and arrived as the game was finishing. As we arrived in the loch we had 5 bottlenose dolphins swimming around the boat. Extraordinary sighting which was notified to the Coastguard.
Up anchor and off to the island of Eigg. Sea very rough again. Went to investigate Cathedral Cave and Massacre Cave. Sun is coming out - must be time to leave. On to Skye, up Loch Scavaig to a welcome by hundreds of seals. Walked over to Loch Coruisk under the imposing Cuillins. Back on board, some decided to go for a row around the boat to see the seals more closely.
Started the day by taking the small boats out for a closer look at the seals or it could be the other way round. Some dexterity games followed where injuries could be painful! Sailed to Eigg with great intentions of climbing the Sgurr but could not follow the directions given. Had a beautiful walk around the island instead.
Weather too bad for the Sgurr today so travelled to Tobermoray to dispose of rubbish and take on more water. Seas getting rougher, everything battened down again. Sun came up at Tobermoray so we headed for Fishnish beach. Sailed on for Bernera Island. Was that a basking shark? Found a small uninhabited island with only 2 wild ponies, decided to camp overnight (in the rain).
The rain is now a steady downpour. Break camp and get back aboard. Next stop Oban where we visit the Coastguard Station. Really interesting. A short wander around the town and back on board for the next leg of our journey to Corran. Another game of 'footsie' on the beach.
Last day. Short journey up Loch Linnhe to Corpach where the minibus meets us to take us home. Weather let us down. We could not do as much as we intended but did see other interesting places. It was still a great trip - can we repeat it?
Ocean Bounty 1996 Diary
Wednesday 14th August 1996
Twelve of us left home and set off for Corpach. Stopped just passed Glencoe where we would pass later in the Ocean Bounty. All aboard the converted fishing boat to negotiate the lock and on to open water. Moored at Kererra where some hardy Venturers decided to sleep up on deck under the stars and listen to seals splashing about.
Took the dinghy out to get a closer look at seals, also some ugly, red jellfish of the stinging variety. Sailed on to the Gavellachs, Columbus' retreat. Climbed among beehive cells, stone igloos used for meditation and prayer. In the afternoon we sailed via the Corryvrecken to the Sound of Iona where we played games and explored the island.
Landed on Iona for visit to Cathedral - bad timing, a McBraynes steamer arrived too. Sailed on to Staffa where we visited Fingal's Cave. Fantastic views, stayed on a while taking in the island and birdlife. Sailed on to Ulva where some decided to bivvy on a small uninhabited island. Of course, torrential rain started.
Today's journey took us to the island of Coll where we walked into the village and spoke to the locals. On to Eigg and after negotiating a heavy swell, landed wet, to play a game of volleyball on the Singing Sands. Unbelievable. Walked along the where the dinghy would meet us and had a quick swim.
Two shearwaters found on board. Decided to take them to Rhum and go for a walk across the island. In the afternoon a force 5 blew up and everyone got completely soaked standing in the bow of the boat. Decided to run for cover and moored in Loch Nevis. At Tarbet we went ashore and walked over to Loch Morar. No monster today but it was incredibly beautiful.
Group split up, some walking to Swordlands, some climbing nearest hill and some rowing around the loch. Everyone back on boat with next stop being Mallaig to take on water and supplies. In the late afternoon, we set sail again past Arisaig for a night at Eilean nan Goghar and found another nice flat beach for volleyball. This is a misnomer. There appears to be no rules if you are on the winning side and team members change sides at will!
Sailed to Eigg to visit Massacre Cave. Interesting history lesson by the Captain. Climbed Sgurr of Eigg before sailing on to Tobermory.
Landed on Mull and went to see upper and lower waterfalls before walking along an overgrown path to Tobermoray. On to Bernera Island where we lowered dinghy to go and watch the seals. Also, heard the most plaintive voice of a whale. Rowed to island to investigate a ruined castle.
Sailed back up Loch Linnhe and disturbed porpoises who immediately dived and swam away. Sun shining in Corpach and 'the Ben had its hat on'. Superb trip - hectic - fun.