Sunday, June 27, 2010


Pretty little Carnlough

[Kyle]In Murlough bay we hoisted the sails for a quick upwind beat to Carnlough, about 15 miles to the southeast. We had the benefit of a 3-5 knot current pushing us in the right direction, so the progress wasn’t too slow for upwind. We did have a couple of spots where the wind funneled down the glens across the opposing current and set up a pretty nasty sea, but most of them only lasted half a dozen waves or so before calming down on the other side. We heard our Welsh friends make a traffic call leaving Rathlin Island and an hour or so later saw them coming up astern motoring upwind in the zone of fastest current. We kept thinking we would cross their paths on one tack or the other, but the wind helped out our wind angle so much that we stayed well ahead of them the whole way until we pulled off for Carnlough.

The harbour at Carnlough is tiny. The entrance is only about three times the width of Footprint and there’s barely enough room inside to turn around. We found the harbor to be a lot busier than we anticipated. The entire visiting boat section was full of fishing boats cheek to jowl tied stern-to. We found a spot just big enough along the wall in the outer harbor to tie up. One of the locals, who we threw a line to, reminded us that there was a proper marina a few miles down. At first, we thought it was his way of saying we weren’t welcome, but it turned out he just thought we would need power and water hookups and the like.

We got the boat all secured and then Maryanne went to find the harbour master to find out about paying the overnight fee. After a brief conversation, he decided it wasn’t worth the trouble and told us to go on. More confusion. It turns out he meant “go on and use the harbour for free” and not, “go on and get out of here” That’s more like it!

We had a quick walk around the town to orient ourselves, and then we headed off to hike up to Cranny Falls, a round trip of a mere five kilometers. Included in the hike was the old limestone quarry and a viewpoint of the whole bay.

Hike to Cranny Falls and back

Afterwards, we went to see the other sight: the Londonderry Arms Hotel. Built in 1848 in the grand style of the time, its ground floor consists of a nice pub, a couple of grand and elegant dining rooms and several cozy sitting rooms, each with wingchairs and table lamps clustered around a big window. It was once owned by Winston Churchill, but the accounts we have read seem to indicate that he only saw the place once, probably to sell it. It seems like a marvelous place to pass an afternoon, plus they have free wifi, which we’ve been a little thin on lately so perhaps we’ll go grab a pint later.

We went back to the boat to change as it was actually starting to get hot. Along the way we caught sight of a small air-cooled Volkswagen convention. I’ve had several of these and I’m a bit nostalgic about them, even though the Car Talk guys say they’re deathtraps.

Busy little Carnlough

We also saw a parade! Whee, a parade! I heard the drums and Maryanne and I went out to watch them go by. Strange parade, nobody seemed to be having a good time. As an American, I assumed a parade would be good, clean fun. Not so. It turned out the parade was the Orangemen, a religious/political organization that can be a little insensitive (shall we say) to the local Catholic population. Maryanne stopped me before I bought a cotton candy and parked myself on the curb.

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