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Isle Martin, the Scottish northwest coast

We left our anchorage in Loch Grimshader, Lewis on a light breeze and sunny skies. Once out of the loch it all changed and we encountered a dynamic sky of rain bearing clouds charging up the Minch. Not exactly what was forecast; we reefed sails and braced for the squalls as they came in succession as we made our way across to Isle Martin. The sea was sloppy and the going somewhat wet at times but between squalls I could make out the high broken skyline of ranges, dramatic outlines of impressive peaks. Once across and in the lee of the land, the sun came out, the wind dropped and our approach was bathed in golden light on the high hills overlooking our destination.

First glimpse of the highlands

A day of many parts, as it is often sailing. Wind, rain, sun, tide, clouds, dolphins, birds all make the journey - planned as carefully as it might be - full of the unexpected. There was a large pod of dolphins as we approached the mainland jumping and splashing like mad, more active than I have ever observed them. All sizes were leaping and splashing, even the little babies along side their mothers.

Speicein nan Garbh-Choireachan revealed and obscured by clouds scudding across the sky.

With the anchor securely down we enjoyed a mellow evening in the beautiful early autumn light, with seals and numerous birds for company.

Beinn Ghobhlach and the trust house on Isle Martin. This island is community owned.

The island has been replanted over the years and many paths created for walkers visiting the island. After being in treeless Grimshader for a week or two, this little forest felt magical.

Looking toward the mainland, the usual fish farm off the island.

Having abandoned the beach path I struck up through peat and bog to get a higher view - something I began to regret until I got to this point with lovely views and a rain shower coming. The imminent rain prompted a very speedy descent so I probably ended up a little wetter from boggy ground than I would have in the rain.

After weighing anchor we carefully picked our way across the south entrance which involved lining up two landmarks and keeping them in line for several hundred metres to stay in the narrow channel. We cleared and motor sailed over to Ullapool a short distance away, dodging a sea of fishing floats.

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