Largs to Stranraer: Part 1
Fifty-eight knots was the maximum windspeed recorded in Largs whilst I was stopped there! Storm Francis didn’t let the forecasts down and I was glad to be in a marina instead of at sea. An extra day stopped in Largs also gave me the opportunity to meet a few people from the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust’s Northern base. They had welcomed me in the day before, and having some extra time meant that I could talk with them and hear the infinite number of heart-warming stories from the work they do at the Trust. These were really helping me to understand more and more about the charity’s impact on the young people they support, which meant I could then better explain it to others. That day I also did my first ever filmed interview. I wasn’t a fan of any type of interview whatsoever, so being plonked in front of a camera and doing one felt scary and unnatural! However, it was a huge learning experience.
By early the next morning I was able to set off again, this time for a short hop to Troon in Ayrshire. Amongst other things, Troon is well known for its golf courses, one of which is owned by Donald Trump…well, he should have some more time to spend there now! The weather on the way to Troon was grim; it was damp, wet and squally. I had recently stocked up with some new tins of baked beans and sausages, so I heated up a tin of that to warm my near-saturated body. It was another couple of hours until we arrived in Troon, following a rather un-interesting trip. To round the day off, I nearly ran aground on the tidal cill1 in Troon too, which kept the nerves alive.
By the time I had reached Troon I was losing more and more time due to all the bad weather we had had. It wasn’t going to get any better either. I thought I was going to be stuck in Troon for a day at most, but that turned into three. The weather was awful, there were huge squalls and thunderstorms containing around thirty knots or more within them, and that, coupled with the risk of lighting barred me from leaving. I was fuming. I wasn’t moving and that was a problem. The Autumn, and therefore more bad weather, was approaching and I still had a very long way to go. I felt completely helpless and I hated it. Decisions were becoming increasingly difficult to make – the devil and the angel were on my shoulder, yapping away at me.
“Go, Tim the weathers not that bad!”
“Look at the forecast you deluded idiot, it’s terrible!”
“Well, its not that terrible, and you do need to get South!”
…and so it went on!
During my time in Troon I had a constant dialogue of this going through my head, which did no good except lead me to a path of self-destruction. The forecasts weren’t at all accurate either and that was what was going to deliver up my most challenging leg yet. Troon to Stranraer.
Tidal cill1: An underwater wall which is placed at the entrance of a harbour. This stops the water level dropping below a certain level when the tide goes out.