Troon to Dublin

A great week of sailing with an all-star crew of Brimble 'old-timer' Rob Parsons and Chris 'The Perk' Perkins. We set ourselves the goal of visiting as many countries as we could in a week and did well, achieving an impressive total of 4 (5 if you include final destination). Our accidental and premature departure from both the European Championship and the European Union provided great entertainment as we weaved our way backwards and forwards across the Irish Sea.

The chart below shows the passage of the good ship from Troon (Scotland) to Belfast (Northern Ireland) to Bangor (Northern Ireland) to Peel (Isle of Man) to Ardglass (Northern Ireland) to Howth (Ireland).
A lovely jaunt from Scotland to Northern Ireland to the Isle of Man to Ireland

Leaving Troon Marina bound for Belfast

Last time we were here we were racing and so sailed into the  harbour at the end of the Scottish Islands Peak Race ..
  it was nice to use the engine!

The Perk takes the helm as we set off . It soon got quite bouncy-bouncy as we headed into a F5 on the nose. The
 good ship loves this sort of weather but she operates largely under water. For the crew this feels like
being strapped to a charging elephant with hiccups whilst someone throws buckets of water over you. Still at
 least one of us was happy ... Brimble.

Ailsa Craig in the distance. The island is famous for the quarrying of blue hone granite which as
everybody knows is used to make Curling stones. Curling stones are used in the
Olympic Sport of ... well ... Curling

Curling Stones

By the way, Ailsa Craig is for sale. The price is a very reasonable £1,500,000 which since Brexit is about
27 euros and 50 cents. We sailed past as the sun set and after feasting on tinned Chilli Con Carne enjoyed
a pleasant nightsail. We arrived in Belfast Lough the following morning and had a great sail into the city
arriving just as the pubs opened. People talk about tidal gates, weather windows and such like but opening
 time must also be considered.

Rob snarling at the helmsman as we approach Belfast

Belfast Lough was a real hive of activity. This is the Borgholm Oil Installation which was in a mad
storm a few years ago. Check out this link .. The Flying Finn

I challenged Chris to sail between the hulls but he wouldn't. His rationale was that we wouldn't fit. That's
why we have Chris on board

All snugged up in the marina in the middle of Belfast city. In the background you
 can see the Titanic Exhibition Centre named after the Titanic. We didn't visit
because we thought it would be a bit depressing .. I mean it's not
the happiest of stories is it?

The next day we sailed 10 miles or so back up the Lough to Bangor. We really liked the marina. The town was great but we couldn't find the castle.

We did find this flower festival in a church ..

 ... we did find the biggest radiator in the world

We did find this hearse.We also found Castle Park Road, Castle Park, Castle Street
 and The Castle Walled Garden but we couldn't find the castle. We think it's been stolen 

The next day we scorched across the Irish Sea to Peel on the Isle of Man. It
 was a lovely sail.

We were soon moored up in the inner harbour. The marina staff at Peel were absolutely brilliant.

Cockney got chatting to a couple of mates within minutes of arrival.

A view down from the hill above Peel. There's a great castle just behind the hill on the left.

We met a pig. This is a Tamworth Pig and as everybody knows ...the Tamworth breed of pig originated in Sir Robert Peel's Drayton Manor Estate at Tamworth, Staffordshire, when in 1812 he interbred his existing herd with pigs from Ireland known as "Irish Grazers". The breed is among the least interbred with non-European breeds, and is therefore one of the closest to the original European forest swine. 

Rob and Chris came up with the staggeringly good idea of cycling the
Isle of Man TT Race. So we hired bikes and did it. Top speed for us was only 40 mph
 but we did all survive which is not the normal outcome of the race; 247 people have been
killed in its 100 year history. Now I've cycled it I can absolutely see why.

The night before the 'big cycle' the six of us thought we should 'carb up'. Mad really because Eider and
Cockney weren't even coming with us.

We hired the bikes from Simpsons Superstore. They were just the job and a bargain at £15 each for the day. If you're
in Peel on the Isle of Man this shop is well worth a visit. They sell everything.

Peel Lifeboat

As we went into the marina we came across the yacht Henry Wood. I can't for the life of me remember
where we met them last. I think the Azores

After a very pleasant stay in Peel we left bound towards Ardglass and Northern Ireland

We celebrated our third crossing of the Irish Sea with a piece of  Selma's excellent cake.

The entrance into the harbour at Ardglass is narrow but straightforward. We worried whether there would
be enough depth of water. We gave it a go and it was fine.

Ardglass marina was a great little spot.

Loads of seals

and also the only place in the world with the extraordinarily rare 'Banana Orchid'

We had supper at a local restaurant called Aldo's. It was superb.

The service could not have been better and the food was great

we set off the next day for a sneaky night sail down to Howth Marina (Dublin) where we arrived in time for breakfast

Pork and leek sausages cooked by the ever cheerful skipper

And here we are snugged up and ready for our next adventure

... coming up shortly is Dublin to the Isles of Scilly and beyond


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