Crew: Kim Hollamby, Michelle Hollamby, Alex McMullen, Joanne Crawford (from lock 9 to Crinan) and Cara Loughran (from lock 9 to Crinan).
From: Tarbert, Kintyre, Scotland.
To: Ardfern Yacht Centre, Loch Craignish, Scotland via Crinan Canal.
Port engine start hours: 397.7. Finish hours: 401.6. Hours run: 3.9.
Stbd engine start hours: 397.9. Finish hours: 401.9. Hours run: 4.0.
Log start: 4547.8nm. Log finish: 4572.8nm. Distance run: 25.0nm.

Navigation log (full commentary follows below)
Paid berthing fee ‘13.50. Electricity card ‘1.50.
0800: underway. Stay in Tarbert harbour area to take photographs with Alex in tender.
0830: tender (and Alex) retrieved.
0835: clear of harbour entrance. Speed to 24kn. Sea: calm. Vis: good. Wind: virtually calm. Sunny!
0857: off the plane south of approach to Ardrishaig.
0900: entering harbour and then lock 1 Crinan Canal.
0930: out of lock 1, hover for pics.
0935: entering lock 2.
0950: leaving lock 2 and entering lock 3.
1002: out lock 3 and into lock 4.
1015: out lock 4, alongside pontoon.
1205: off pontoon.
1225: Oakfield Bridge.
1255: into lock 5.
1320: into lock 6.
1330: into lock 7.
1350: into lock 8.
1412: out of lock 8.
1428: into lock 9.
1450: out of lock 9, secure alongside pontoon.
1600: underway again.
1615: out of lock 10.
1633: out of lock 11.
1650: out of lock 12.
1703: out of lock 13.
1755: mooring just before lock 14.
1805: into lock 14.
1820: into Crinan Sea Lock. Hold in basin.
1920: out of Crinan Sea Lock.
1941: off the plane south of approach to Ardfern.
1950: alongside Ardfern Yacht Centre.

Commentary
Kim Hollamby reports:

We rapidly came to the conclusion that British Waterways’ marketing co-ordinator for Scotland must be something of a genius at his job, or very lucky, or perhaps a little bit of both. Not only had Alec Howie laid on a complimentary pass to encourage us to explore the Crinan Canal but he also managed to find us the warmest weather we have so far enjoyed in Scotland and conspired with the elements to lay on a minute-perfect demonstration of an antique but highly effective automatic device that keeps water levels on the navigation to their rightful marks (of which more in our December 1999 issue report).

First though we had to make the short passage up Loch Fyne from Tarbert to Ardrishaig. Having unravelled ourselves from the inside of a raft of three boats, we cast Alex adrift in the tender to enable us to get some shots of Missing Link leaving port. Halfway through the exercise he discovered the measure of our Yamaha 2hp outboard’s endurance when it spluttered and died; it has been drinking the proverbial teaspoon of petrol and we’ve got so used to opening the integral tank only to find it still contains fuel, that we had forgotten to check it this morning.Ardrishaig

Tender and occupant safely retrieved, we could head out onto a lightly rippled Loch Fyne, stretch Missing Link’s legs, set the autopilot and monitor the cloud base as first chinks of blue, then great sections of clear sky opened up. By the time we reached the pretty village of Ardrishaig, the eastern terminus of the Crinan Canal, we just knew it was going to be a great day.

Nosing into the small harbour the sea lock at its head already had gates open to greet us, its mirror image perfectly reflected in the morning’s glassy calm. Alec Howie could be seen waiting at the side of the basin along with the first of the always enthusiastic and helpful BW staff, full time and seasonal, that we were to encounter along our inland excursion.