By Bob Orrell
A different go back and forth e-book and an invaluable crusing consultant to the Western Isles and anchorages within the Hebrides
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Additional info for Halcyon in the Hebrides
In his marvellous book The Scottish Islands, Hamish Haswell-Smith describes it as ‘four kilometres of perfection’. 36 metres tall; and a crofter who was preparing to plough part of the machair with a tractor told me he was born on Berneray in 1825, but his parents emigrated to Nova Scotia when he was six. In later years, because of his enormous height he was something of a freak and was in show business. ‘I’ve heard it said he toured with the midget, Tom Thumb, who used to dance on the palm of his hand, but I don’t know if there’s any truth in it,’ said the crofter cautiously.
A notorious sandbank, hidden under shallow water that has been known to dry out, bars the way to the ocean, and if any wind is opposed to the tide it can kick up a wicked sea. Despite its evil reputation, many cruising yacht skippers are discovering that, in settled weather, the Sound of Harris is no more hazardous than many other passages in the Hebrides; and for those with St Kilda and the seldom-visited west side of the Hebrides on their ‘must see’ list there are few alternatives. And so it was towards the bright green number one buoy at the start of the channel that I steered Halcyon, under engine, the following morning to catch the flood, after a quiet night anchored in Loch Rodel.
But dark clouds began to fill the sky, and within minutes a strong wind had built up waves that threatened to swamp the overloaded galley. ’ Not wishing to lose any of his dark-haired warriors, or upset the rules of hospitality by heaving Fionn and his fair-haired friends over the side, the king refused. ’ She sat on the middle thwart, facing the stern and said, ‘On my right in the stern let there be four followers of Fionn, most beautiful and glorious. Next to them I place five dark-haired warriors from the palace of my father, King of Ireland.