Sailing Jolanda

I AM HOME – phew. As many of you may know (due to an overkill of instagam stories) I have been away sailing in the English Channel for the last 10 days. I am suitably windswept and windburnt to call myself a yachty now… although I’m not sure that’s really a trend I want to keep up. But it was fun while it lasted all the same.

So, how did I become so lucky to hang around on a beauty of a yacht all week? Its nothing more glamourous than I tagged along with my Dad and step Mum while they were down there sailing – I guess they wanted a galley gal to come and make cups of tea, pour them gin and cook the occasional dinner. Which I’m happy with if I get to sail around the tropical coast of Cornwall for a few days.

When I first arrived the boat was tied up in Plymouth and with me came the rain, thunder, general horrible stormy weather. It’s a reoccurring theme, I’m the barer of bad weather. So it was lock down for the first few days of the trip, sorry fellow crew members. Time was well spent with lots of reading – I got through three books, yes THREE whole books. Which is more than I usually manage in a year. And lots of eating, cinema trips and wandering around chandleries for hours… and hours.

IMG_9019

Would recommend!

Anyway – once the weather unraveled a bit we hoisted the sails and set off along the Cornish coast. Regrettably I didn’t document the whole trip, because my phone and camera kept running out of battery – no power at sea, you see! But I got a few snaps along the way.

Our first voyage took us west from Plymouth to explore all the little bays along the coast line. Bit bobby for the first few hours, gusting winds of 35-40knots and 3-4m swell – annoyingly waves NEVER look big in a photograph and I’m made out to be a drama queen. But they were big, and it was exciting!

Processed with VSCO with c7 presetIMG_8893

The sun eventually made a debut at Cawsand which is situated on the Rame Peninsula – a very pretty higglety pigglety town on the rocks. And I got my first swim of the trip – water temp was an unbelievable 16°. I could’ve stayed in all day.

IMG_2338Processed with VSCO with c8 presetIMG_8945

We got a nice gentle breeze to take us down to Salcombe in South Devon where we moored up for a few days. Salcombe seemed to be a bit of a holiday hot spot for yachts, we had a different boat rafted up next to us every night – so a pretty good turn around on the neighbour front. This provided endless entertainment of rope faffing, fender fails and a few slip and slides. Much like when you’ve pitched your tent in a campsite and your evening is filled with *as silent as possible* giggles as you watch people trickle in and struggle with guy lines and wind direction.

IMG_9127

Salcombe was really beautiful – heaps of small sandy beaches to explore, lovely water to swim in and the main street was full of posh shops… Musto, Henri Lloyd, Joules, Crew, Jack Wills yada, yada, yada. But the further I walked, the more interesting the shops became… and I stumbled across this beautiful shed with a guy making custom surfboards. If only I had a spare £1500! Oh, and there was a gin distillery… tried and tested, thumbs up for Salcombe Gin.

IMG_9007IMG_9012IMG_9014IMG_9017

Welcome to the galley. Saturday night menu, seafood spaggy with local muscles and prawns.

IMG_8989IMG_8983IMG_8993IMG_9001

Sundays are for scrubbing… galley gal turned mast cleaner. I’ve been itching to climb the mast for a bird’s eye view of Jolanda – so I sweetly offered to clean the cross tree which was all green and sad-looking. Sparkly clean yacht, and insta Dad was on hand to take some snaps of me while I was up there swinging around like a monkey.

Processed with VSCO with a4 presetIMG_9129

Meet Insta Dad/Captain.

IMG_8979

Sails up for the last wind of the week heading back to Plymouth to tie up – via my favourite bay at Rame Head for a dip to wash away the smell of five days at sea.

IMG_9126IMG_9133Processed with VSCO with dog1 preset

The Cornish coast was absolutely beautiful and provided some fantastic weather – heading home with rose checks and secretly excited to get back to a drizzly Scotland… and a bed that doesn’t sway all night.

Thanks for being the best home at sea Jolanda. Until next time.

Bon voyage

R x

Keep up with future adventures  @ronamcmillan

 

 

TMF more than just a festival

Hands down, Tiree is my favourite of the Hebridean islands and also home to my favourite event of the year. Tiree Music Festival is a haven for Scottish trad music, supporting both new and established bands from all around the country. What’s really magical about this festival is the location; Tiree is a paradise of white sandy beaches with incredible surf, lush green fields and meadows of wild flowers. I heard so many people this year describe it as the ‘Hawaii of the North,’ and it’s true – Tiree really is an idyllic location whether festival-ing or not.

It is also a known fact that Tiree, along with its neighbouring island Coll receive more sunshine than anywhere else in the UK. Which I can vouch for 98% of the time – although with the sun comes immense wind, and since Tiree is extremely flat… temperatures don’t quite reach those of Hawaii. IMG_8766The adventure of TMF begins in Oban harbour, where hundreds of festival go-ers catch the 6.15am boat… only this year Callum and I missed the service update and turned up at 7.15am for the normal sailing (which was obviously canceled for the festival timetable) DOH! Luckily CalMac were running two boats that day, and we caught the second. IMG_2079Unlike most years, we are without the adventure camper van… so we hired a car from MacLennan Motors which worked out cheaper than taking our own car over… somehow! Tiree is deceivingly bigger than it looks on a map, so having either a bike or a car/van is really handy if you want to explore all its endless hidden gems.

IMG_0418

RIP Rusty – we miss you

Thursday night

We arrived on the late boat, pitched our tent and headed to Balevullin for some sunset steaks cooked on our super high-tech BBQ.

IMG_8843IMG_7564IMG_7556

Friday

Began with some coffees and cakes for breakfast from Yellow Hare on Scarnish Pier.IMG_2070Followed by half an hour of faffing with sim cards – incase you didn’t know signal is pants on the west coast… so we thought we’d swap to Vodafone for the weekend. Which worked well for signal, but 3G/4G was really just fakeG. IMG_2096We then ditched the car at Caolas and walked down to the beach that meets the Gunna Sound, as we were yet again in search of basking sharks… and the sound is known to be a hot spot for the sharks at this time of year.IMG_2100Our luck doesn’t seem to change with b sharks, so we were unsuccessful AGAIN. Even after sitting perched on a small rocky island between Coll and Tiree for an hour shark watching… or wave watching it turned out to be! IMG_7892IMG_2214So – in the afternoon we packed up the boards and drove back to west side of the island to our favourite free diving/snorkeling spot… this one is remaining unnamed im afraid since not many people seem to know about it… yet. Processed with VSCO with c7 presetThat evening we headed back to the festival, stalling to have some predrinks in the boot of our car… if that’s allowed? If not, this isn’t us… IMG_7639And that night we had tunes from Beinn Lee, Ho-RO and Trail West – among many many others. IMG_7659

Saturday

A wee bit hungover, so some animal therapy to cure the sore heads and a wander at a few beaches before a prolonged snooze in the car at Balevullin.IMG_7618_Facetune_13-07-2018-11-17-06IMG_7614IMG_7891IMG_7533IMG_8754SHOWERED and back in time for tunes from Rura and Skerryvore. S/O to Kirsty, Louisa, Rowen and Katherine for having us round to their house for bacon rolls and a shower – nothing like west coast hospitality! IMG_7746IMG_7727

Sunday

We drove down to Hynish for a wee swim and picnic before the madness of Sunday night began, and met a few bonnie coos on the way… IMG_7859IMG_8755…round three beginsIMG_7771_Facetune_15-07-2018-17-53-24IMG_7800Also, did I mention the food at TMF? What other festival serves champagne and oysters from Loch Fyne? SO GOOD!  IMG_8756And for our Sunday sesh we had tunes from, Elephant Sessions and Skipinnish. What an incredible final night. IMG_7179

It gets better every year, and whatever the weather… we will see you next summer!

Rona and Callum X

@ronamcmillan

@ahoycallum

 

 

5 stars for The Fairmont

Admittedly I do not play golf, but I do absolutely love St Andrews. My gran lives in the centre of St Andrews and for the last few years I have become fairly familiar with the area through friends at University there, and weekend trips to eat scones and gossip with my fabulous Gran! The town has such beautiful architecture and history, the cobbled streets, old harbour walls and castle attract a huge amount of tourists in the summer, so I actually prefer to visit during the winter months when all is a little quieter. In January I can get Jannettas ice cream without a 20 minute queue, and a walk on the beautiful sands without many people around. So to beat those infamous January blues I booked a chilled weekend in St Andrews at The Fairmont Hotel – which is located in all its glory at the top of the hill just 10 minutes from the town centre. I say in all its glory, as this 5* establishment is HUGE, 520 acres to be exact and it is absolutely beautiful.

IMG_3643IMG_3644

Once checked in, we were treated to a champagne afternoon tea, courtesy of The Fairmont. Inspired by ‘The Savoy’ in London, The Fairmont’s Savoy afternoon tea was something truly special; traditional, elegant and tasty! The menu offers 28 different types of tea to accompany the three courses of finger sandwiches, seasonal cakes and impressive bakes. Although I’d say read the menu twice before ordering, because I totally overindulged on the first course… not realising there was another two to follow. But our waiter kindly boxed up everything we couldn’t finish!

IMG_3567IMG_3569

The hotel itself was such a lovely place to chill out, with so many places to sit and relax it would be easy to spend all day there reading a book, drinking coffee or even a few cocktails… which we also sampled! The staff are all incredibly attentive, we were actually really impressed with the service.

IMG_3649

I totally forgot to take a snap of our room, which was a Deluxe Sea View Room. But it was really spacious, elegantly decorated with quirky Scottish touches! Our bathroom was huge, with a large walk in shower and a luxurious bath!

IMG_3648

IMG_3651

…and this was the sunrise I woke up to!

IMG_3646

The Fairmont Spa was defiantly one of the best hotel spa’s I’ve ever been to; even although we didn’t book in for any treatments it was really nice to wrap up in robes and relax by the pool for an hour in the evening. The hotel is super family friendly (which is great) but did mean that there was a lot of kids around in the evenings playing in the pool – so that’s something to consider if you wanted a child free zone!

IMG_3564_Facetune_07-01-2018-16-00-13

After breakfast on Sunday morning we wandered round the golf courses (of which there are two) – and had coffees in the clubhouse, which has stunning panoramic views over the courses and St Andrews Bay!

Overall, our stay was fantastic. A beautiful location for a romantic and chilled night away. A walk round St Andrews is always so lovely as well, with plenty of options for good food and drinks!

R x