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The cruise started at the end of the Liverpool River Festival (Tues 4 June 2019) when seven boats attended the event in the Royal Albert Dock, including Jean the Hearts of Oak and Anna Elldi. Some five boats, Comrades, Sara Ann, Phyllis, Spray and Anna Elldi departed the River Mersey on the first leg to Conwy, with Anna Elldi returning to the Menai Straits.
At this point due to the weather and other circumstances, the new departure date was arranged for Tuesday 18 June. Comrades and Sara Ann could not make the revised timescales and remained in Conwy.
Phyllis (crewed by Kevin) and Spray (crewed by Tom) continued to the IOM, Port St Mary before departing to Peel via Calf Sound. After a couple of days a departure, to Northern Ireland ensued with landfall close to Portavogie before sailing along the coast through Donaghadee Sound to transverse Belfast Loch to Carrickfergus Marina.
Our next departure took us along the cliffs of the Antrim coast, hosting a multitude of different nesting sea birds before our arrival in Glenarm. With the Mull of Kintyre insight, we then journeyed north to arrive in Campbeltown after passing Sanda Island to port and Alisa Craig well off to starboard. Lots of Gannets were seen en route feeding, before going to their breeding ground on Alisa Craig, famous too for the granite used for making curling stones. Alisa Craig dominates the outer Clyde and can be seen for miles and miles on a clear day.
Campbeltown refuelled and refreshed, we enjoyed a visit to the local distillery 'Springbank'. We then crossed Killbrannan Sound towards the Isle of Arran passing Lochranza to starboard before crossing Bute Sound to enter the inner Firth of Clyde towards Largs Marina.
Once again refuelled, both with diesel and a good meal we set-off up the Clyde the following morning, with the incoming tide, passing Inverkip, Cloch Point lighthouse and Greenock. We were met by Douglas to show us the way into Sandpoint Marina (a very little known spot really only known to locals) in his powerful RIB. Just on the cusp of the tide, Phyllis just lightly touched bottom on the soft sand before lifting again to continue down the short channel to Dumbarton the final destination on the first phase. Then treated to a fast RIB ride to get some supper in Holy Loch before catching up with some old friends prior to returning back to Dumbarton. We left the marina the following morning, Thursday 27th June, to catch the train from Glasgow back to home.
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