-> 2008 -> By Boat To Islay?

Saturday, 29/Mar/2008

By Boat To Islay?

Picture of a view over a canal with canal boats

No, that isn't on Islay. That is the view from my new flat in Aldermaston Wharf over the Kennet and Avon Canal, near Aldermaston Lock. As mentioned earlier I'm moving house at the moment. I hope my Islay blogging won't suffer too much during the move, although at least partly this will depend on how quick BT will be able to move my interweb connection. Anyway, looking out over the canal earlier today made me think:

Not that I (or probably anyone else) would ever do it, but would it be possible to go all the way from my new home to Islay by boat? I don't know if it might be too wide for some of the canal locks, but otherwise I wonder if it would be theoretically possible to use a RIB like Islay Sea Safari's Shannick. The canal goes all the way to Bristol...

From there it is a short hop over the Bristol Channel to Wales. Follow the Welsh coast up to Holyhead. Then I guess it's decision time: Follow the coast past Liverpool and Blackpool before crossing the Solway Firth? Or take a direct route to the Isle of Man? Or cross the Irish Sea to Dublin and then follow the Irish coast? Probably depends on the weather a bit.

Once at the height of Northern Ireland or the Rinns of Galloway we're on the final stretch. Crossing the North Channel I guess is pretty much routine to an experienced skipper, the Shannick does it quite regularly. Probably approaching Islay somewhere at The Oa the last few miles would be either along the south coast to Port Ellen or into Loch Indaal to Bowmore.

Well, I doubt that I would ever be able to afford it, but I think at least theoretically it would be possible. Even if the RIB isn't feasible I could take a canal boat to Bristol and then change to something more suitable for the open sea for the rest of the journey to Islay.

This looks like a quite nice journey to me, unfortunately I doubt I'll ever have the means to actually try it. I guess it would be quite expensive and would take several days to complete, assuming the overnight stays are in hotels and B&Bs on the way.

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