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Taking off for Winter

In a few weeks time we will leave Cirrus Cat far behind us, leaving her (for in English writing, boats are always feminine) to the tender mercies of Oban Marina and whatever weather the Western Isles can throw at her. We are wrapping her up as best we can, unbending the sails, winterising the engine, protecting things inside that we cannot take with us (bedding and clothing will be vacuum-packed) but the day of our departure will be a sad one. For 12 months now we have lived inside this hull, which has seen us through storm and frost, snow and sunshine. Cirrus has splashed along the length of England and most of Scotland, sashayed between salt and fresh water in various canals, nudged up to countless pontoons or hung suspended from the end of her anchor chain at the mercy of the elements. Her sails have curved to the winds, her mast always standing upright and firm, her red hulls have skimmed past headlands, crested and dipped through countless waves, overfalls and races but our boat must now lie quiet and lonely until Spring; alone but not forgotten.

We have been long enough in Oban to have almost become part of the scenery and whilst here we have made many friends on and off the water. To mention just a few, this week we waved a sad farewell to Jan and Carin who returned to Holland after spending their summer on ‘Helle3’ and also Kyle and Maryanne who have sailed many miles on ‘Footprint’ before ending the season in Oban. Here is the account of their rather fraught departure yesterday: Leaving Footprint Behind.

Soon we too will be away. My internal boat refurbishment work is now complete but Kate decided that she needed to keep herself busy too and as I write she is serving drinks in the tiny restaurant/bar attached to the marina here. Her customers mostly come across on the free ferry from Oban, attracted by the novelty of sitting under a marquee eating oysters and drinking highly over-priced alcohol, but they are always friendly and willing to stop and chat. Even this will come to an end as the bar closes for the Winter at the end of this month.

So after an orgy of Internet-ing, during which the wireless broadband rays glowed red as we booked train and plane tickets with wild abandon, we now have a plan to take us through the coming Winter. It will be a wrench for us but… we are moving to Italy.

A chance chat with my retired brother, who took the plunge some years ago and departed our shores for slightly warmer climes, has secured us an apartment in his own tiny Italian village home where we hope to spend the colder months. We are exchanging Scottish mountains for alpine peaks, albeit lesser ones, and whisky for chianti or whatever it is they drink there.

It will be a strange experience for us in many ways as we lack the language and have no knowledge of the customs and habits of the Italian nation. This will be almost as much of a venture into the unknown as our original trip has been and it will take us far out of the zone of comfort we have felt since we arrived in Scotland. Off we go, into the unknown, for ‘nothing is more damaging to an adventurous spirit than a secure future’. My hope is that the scheduled hernia repair will have gone well enough for me to be bounding up the steep valleys of the Ligurian Alps when we arrive there. Kate is a little more circumspect and will no doubt do her best to make sure I fully recuperate first.

The blog, of course, will continue.
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5 Responses to Taking off for Winter

  1. Have a lovely time 🙂

  2. Hello Malcolm and Kate, it sounds as though you have had an amazing time in Scotland. I'm sure you'll love Italy – on the few occasions I have been there it is laid back and people are friendly and welcoming. Reading your blog makes working life feel very routine and mundane. At least Richard doesn't have too long now until he is liberated through retirement. Have a great time .. enjoy! Sara (& Richard on the sofa next to me)

  3. Thanks guys for the comments and Hi to Carla too.
    Enjoy your travels.

  4. SV-Footprint

    Hi Guys.. Kyle is back in the states in the middle of work again, while I chill out with friends in Manchester. I'm so grateful for your comment and offer to look over Footprint before you leave – it's always reassuring to know our baby is doing well. 🙂

    Good luck with your op, and we can't wait to hear of your adventures in Italy (we plan to be there ourselves in a couple of years).

  5. I just want to say Hello to you and Kate and let you know I thoroughly enjoyed reading your last post and will dig farther back to read about your adventures. I am Kyle's mother, living in Arizona (US), where the two of them will end up for the warm winter before returning eagerly, I'm certain, to Footprint. Safe travels to you and know others are following. I love your spirit!

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