Monday, 4 July 2011

Lismore and Castle Coeffin

As I headed towards the north of Lismore, a silly little rhyme ran round my mind.

“Its not the cough that carries you off ...
Its the coffin they carry you off in ..
Before burying you at castle Coeffin”

The first two lines of the silly rhyme were chanted to me by my grandmother when she discovered I had started smoking at a very tender age. I never forgot those words and I will never forget being addicted to cigarettes most of my life either, even though I finally quit six years ago. The only thing I will contemplating smoking nowadays is the odd mackerel or three. Well..if I could catch some..I would..

Anyway.. I think the fact that I was hoping to see Coeffin castle made me recall the nagging ditty and I added the last line myself.

As I crossed the sea to Lismore I noticed the outboard left a lovely white trail behind the boat. In the sea lochs of late, the water has been a black colour and the trail more of a coffee colour.(I thought of the colour of my lungs after 35 years on the weed) I presume its because of the high concentration of fresh water and peat running into the narrow sea lochs from the surrounding hills. Fresh water floats on top of the salt water in these lochs which is why they often freeze in the winter time. Out here it was pure salt water getting stirred up by my prop

The almost flat sea bed of loch Linnhe at a depth of 100ft started to shallow quite a distance from the headland. The fish finder shows it at 35ft in this photo. I cannot fault that part of the electronic wizardry but I was slightly disappointed it had yet to find me a fish ?

So far the weather forecast had been very accurate. Light winds becoming fresher around noon. I wanted to journey down the north west coast of Lismore before the wind started as I suspected it could get quite exposed around this side in a south westerly. The water was like a millpond as I rounded the northern headland.

Looking down the length of the island I could see the island of Bernera almost at the southern tip of Lismore. The journey south looked very appealing. The marker on the headland to the left is called a navigational marker on my 25.000 scale O.S. map but it just looked like a trig point to me ?

I nipped into Slughan bay on the way south. It is full of fish farms so I didn’t stop to explore the area and I didn’t want the fish finder to think it had found me some fish. Tame ones in a caged don’t count.

A local fishing boat was lifting its creeling pots as I passed the headlands of Creag Sgeanach. It was a glorious day to be messing about in a boat.

I then came to Coeffin Castle which is an impressive ruin around 1/3 the way from the top of Lismore to the bottom point. It was built on the site of a Viking fortress in the 13th century and probably by the McDougalls of Lorn. At least that is what Wikipedia states.

I was tempted to try for a full traverse of the island as the sea was so calm.

I started heading south but only managed another couple of hundred yards when the wind started to arrive and within seconds the waves appeared from no where.

I took this as a warning from the spirits who live on in Coeffin castle, to turn back while the going is good. I didn’t need any further warnings as I have read there is a bit of a tide race of the southern end of the island and I didn’t want to discover it in anything but flat calm conditions. I turned around and headed for the shelter of Port Ramsay.

"Any port in a storm will do" then ran round my mind in silly rhymes.

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