« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2021, 8:28 pm »
This weekends job: drag the trailer out from under the hedge where it was abandoned two years ago and make sure it’s all good for the little trip up north  :D
Ian Brooks
Gloucester, UK

« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2021, 6:40 pm »
Ah thanks for that Steve. A bard it is that you are, no less.
Just STARTING to get excited, (that tediously overused word nowadays).
But I am!
As has been said before- leave some fun for US! ;)
Memories are BETTER than Dreams---"Capn" FLINT

« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2021, 7:33 pm »

First hover trip in months came with thoughts of will the craft still work or after the weather over winter would it be hanging from a tree in the back garden of the log house. Both scenarios were found to be untrue as yes the Vanguard was still on the ground and looking ok and secondly it started first time.
After sorting out equipment the first late evening trip was along towards Minard, the first launch always has an extra edge of excitement even after years of launching. The beach from the log house is in relatively good condition after exposure to winter weather so no issues. We stopped at the ancient stones that were associated with seasons by lining up stones and the sun, I can’t actually remember full story, either way it was an advanced way of thinking so far back in time.  A pair of Greylag geese weren’t over amused at our presence and scuttled off a bit further out waiting for us to leave which wasn’t long after.

The Friday started with some house painting/spraying of the shore facing outside of the log house which didn’t take too long. The weather was perfect, sunny with a light breeze. After painting we headed towards Otterferry with packed lunches, conditions were good with the usual changeable sections of random waves and wind directions that you can never account for. We had our packed lunch outside a closed Oystercatcher and chatted to people there, mostly bikers on a day out from the central belt who were very interested in the hovercraft, usual questions etc. From Otterferry out and round the corner past lots of seabirds, mostly gulls and Eiders, I spotted a pair of Shellducks further down, less common on loch Fyne. We stopped at the next beach briefly before heading down just short of Portavadie, conditions were slightly choppy, nothing serious, the weather stayed bright with a breeze.
The beach near Portavadie was contaminated with a lot of various forms of plastic from varying origins surprisingly quite a lot of the rubbish was the prawn holders that live prawns are or rather were placed in for shipping to Europe! After a beach clear up we decided to take a short walk up the hill behind the beach. The short walk turned in to a mini adventure with big views, various wild flowers were out with the beginnings of bracken shoots just starting, life coming back after a longer than usual winter there. We almost made it to the top of the hill before diverting left returning down a gully with stream at the bottom that could easily have been a backdrop in a scene from lord of the rings! The heat of the walk soon turned to the cool of the sea as we started up both craft and did a complete run back to log house to complete the 44 miles round trip.

The Saturday was yet another nice day with low wind and sunshine. First stop after launching was Creggans then on northward to the brewery. I had cut a path through the wood near the landing site on my autumn visit which, with a bit more tidying will make getting to the road less ‘jabby’. Loch Fyne Ales was open for sales but no refreshments even outside, we walked back to the craft with our purchases in perfect sunshine. A short distance back down the loch we stopped for a snack break and I decided that the only good Japanese knotweed was a dead one so lit a fire and burned the plants that pulled easily form the shore line, there was too much to get rid of in one go but as the saying ‘How do you eat an elephant’ goes a bit at time will do for now. From knotweed beach we headed for Inveraray with ice cream in mind, it turned out so did everyone else! We had to que for quite some time. After dodging the early migration of  lesser spotted motorcycles we finished our not un tasty ice cream (a blackcurrant and clotted cream/Strawberry combo) and headed back to base in better than usual conditions. I spotted the Explorer stopped on the entrance to the log house, rather than adding to any noise there I decided to go along to Lachlan castle as the conditions were so good. By the time I returned the Explorer was parked on the lawn in front of the house which gave me a straight run in.

Sunday, we decided to head for the picnic spot, stopping there to decide where to head next and watch timber being loaded from the pontoon on to a large timber ship, it was done impressively! From the picnic spot we skirted the coast edge as it was starting to get choppy…very choppy. The last section saw a handful of 2 meter waves which is either exciting or terrifying depending on your viewpoint. Once round the corner in to relative calm we parked up on Eilean Mor where we did a walking tour of the island which would have better if we had machetes, hindsight’s great but is exactly that! We spotted a heron on a nest on the island also Raven. After the walk we crossed over to Otterferry in significant waves approaching 2 metres, the Explorer was in front being tossed round like a toy which isn’t something you see every day. I found myself being surfed along by huge waves for short periods which definitely raises the adrenaline. Everything calmed down in the shelter of Otterferry as it so often does, we had short stop there chatting to visitors and lamented the fact that the Oyster was opening AFTER we returned home...... sad face. From Otterferry we had a straight run home. Yet another memorable loch fine trip, much needed after such a long break.

Other birds spotted were, lesser black back gull, black guilimot and merganser.

Total miles approximately 125.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2021, 10:07 pm by Steve Holland »
There's no such thing as bad weather, you're just wearing the wrong jacket!!