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Getting Ready: Tarbert Traditional Boat Festival

Tarbert Traditional Boat Festival, Beautiful Endeavour Boat Blog, @ringnetter, Fiona Malkin

I wonder what this year’s Tarbert Traditional Boat Festival will bring. Sunshine rain or showers. Whichever it is always a treat watching the boats arriving safely onto the pontoons. Shemaron arrived in Tarbert for the Festival in 2015, and she is still there! That year stormy weather dominated the FestivaL

After soaking up the historic Scottish atmosphere on Loch Riddon we took Shemaron across to Tarbert to get ready for the festivities.

The mist had settled low over the Kyles of Bute and the entrance to Loch Fyne. It covered the rocky shore with a blanket of tiny water droplets. This was the calm before the storm. Everything was intensely still, a change was coming to the area of low pressure that had predominated over the west coast during the previous few days. We reached Tarbert in the late afternoon. After three days on board Shemaron, we were looking forward to hot showers and laundry facilities.

Boat Festival

There was, as always plenty of work to do on board in preparation for the Boat Festival. Shemaron was a hard working boat. She is full of character but needs a lot of tender loving care. During the Festival we have lots of visitors and like to have Shemaron looking her best. That evening we decided to take a working break and took a mooring in Stonefield Bay. We finished a few jobs in peaceful surroundings in the little Bay under Stonefield Castle. The last rays of the sun shone brightly on the mollusk topped rocks. We looked out for the local wildlife. We are often lucky, we have seen Otters, Basking Sharks, Porpoises, seals, and Dolphins.

In the distance, a fine mist had settled on the other side of the loch. The hills rolled down to the sea in the evening haze. The day was breathing its last and night was bringing the chill of autumn even though it was still summer. I watched shadows rise slowly over the rocks and upward over the trees. The lonely loch seemed to echo my contemplative mood. Soon only the tallest Scots Pine on the hill caught the sun. I looked on as the sea settled then settled some more turning peach, a reflection of the dying day. A Gannet flew by,  silhouetted black against the rosy sky. It dived, bobbed up in the water like a cork and flew off.

I put a couple more bricks of peat in the stove before retiring to bed. When I turned off the light flames leaped high behind the glass, they shone on the floor and danced across my bunk. I had meant to read but instead closed my eyes and gave myself up to the delicious magic of everything, imagining how the sky looked above deck as Shemaron melted into the night.


2015/2016 Festival

A Storm Was Brewing

There was no time for self-indulgence the next day and we made haste back to Tarbert. It was a fine morning but a storm was coming. On the pontoons, other boats had arrived for the boat festival ahead of the bad weather. There is something exciting about meeting up at these events. Everyone has to make such a determined effort to get to them. The point of arrival marks a safe haven and a chance to relax.

Later that afternoon rain began to fall heavily bouncing off the deck. We closed the hatch and skylight. Changing for dinner that night meant putting on waterproofs and stout footwear. During our meal, our waterproofs never came off.  We ate with a group of friends who had also arrived for the boat festival. Everyone in the cafe dripped puddles on the floor. We all returned to Shemaron afterward. There were six of us dripping and wet sitting below deck. It must have been a long while since six people sat out a storm in Shemaron’s fo’c’lse. I was sorry for our guests when it came time to leave and glad that I didn’t have to go back outside. The storm was raging full blast. We battened down the hatches keeping the warmth in and the water out. (Mostly)! Ready for the festival the next day.

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