Monday, 11 July 2011

Kyles of Bute and its slipways

I had heard that there was an old slipway at Colintraive on the East Kyle of Bute and looking on my O.S. map thought it would possibly be my best launch point for access to the Burnt Islands and narrows , Loch Ruel, and Loch Striven. The ferry runs from the little village of Colintraive across to Bute. The ferry was almost the size of the village which was little more than a couple of houses, a ferry terminal and a hotel.

The disused slipway was along a little side road beside the ferry terminal but it has some traffic cones across its entrance and a sign was on the closed ferry terminal office which read “Unauthorised use of slipway is prohibited”. Perhaps I could have asked for permission to use the old slip as its well out the way of the ferry but, as there was no one around, I decided not to risk upsetting anyone, especially as I intended an overnight stay. I left for the west Kyle to look over the public slipway at Kames.

I passed through the sleepy seaside village of Tighnabruaich on the west Kyle, keeping an eye on the shore for a possible launch point.

There was access to the beach for a small trailer and boat but it was over shingle and if the road was busy during the day, it might have been awkward hitching back onto the car. I watched a yacht tender launching there before carrying its crew to a lovely moored boat.

I carried on for another couple of miles until I came to the village of Kames. I had researched on the internet that there was a large public slip there which the locals call “The Tank”. I soon found it and it was ideal for my purpose. It is off a large car park on the outskirts of the village.The tank was a water treatment plant off the car par

It looked a peaceful spot, even on a Friday night so I parked at the edge of the slip and put the tent cover over my house boat. Call me a land lubber if you must, but I thought I would get a better night’s sleep if I wasn’t bobbing up and down on the water. I really only needed the tent cover to keep the midges off and it worked very well.

The tide was now full out and I noticed there was a step off the slipway end which meant it would be difficult to launch or retrieve for possibly an hour either side of low water.

I went a stroll along the shore while the sun set. In the afterglow of the late evening, everything was calm and peaceful.

I was soon sound asleep in my beached boat, dreaming of what the following day was going to bring......

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