Monday, 2 August 2010

Aran to Tory

We slipped the mooring at 08:00, showing off by not having an engine running, and sailed gently out of Church Pool at Portnoo. Unfortunately there was no appreciative audience to admire the performance.

We decided to go north through Aran Sound, as we calculated that there should be enough water. The narrow channel is fringed with rocks, and our chartplotter showed it as a no-go area. However our confidence was rewarded with a splendid view of the island. The east side is sheltered, and almost lush compared with the other barren western isles. It even has trees. The water was sufficiently shallow to keep us very wide awake. 1.4 metres below the hull may sound plenty of depth but it is rather worrying.

The trip to Tory Island was notable also because it included passing Bloody Foreland, so we have passed the north-west corner of Ireland. Three down, one to go.

The arrival at the small harbour on Tory was interesting, but we ended up secure alongside a fishing boat that isn't planning to go out.

We were highly honoured to meet the King of Tory, Patsy Dan Rodgers, who gave us a warm welcome to the island. So in a short time we were able to meet the incumbent of the oldest monarchy in Europe, admire the only round tower on an Irish island, and inspect the curious 'Tau' cross that stands near the harbour.

All of these cultural delights paled into insignificance however. After some days of being 'boat-bound' we were desperately in need of showers. We asked the smiling owner of the island hostel, and she ushered us in, provided clean dry towels, (what a luxury! We'll never take them for granted again) and refused to take any payment. Tory hospitality.

Martyn later went to fill the water carrier from the tap on the pier. A fisherman stopped him and directed him to the village well that has better quality of water and is used by the locals in preference to the pier tap. We could get to like this place.

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