Speaker for 6th November 2018

President Des Moore greets Robin Ruddock, with club member Graham Kane (R) and club guest Billy Holmes (L)

Coleraine Probus go on a 'Wild Goose' tour

Probus President Des Moore gave a warm welcome to Robin Ruddock, who was visiting the club to tell of his adventures “Sailing around the Western Isles”. Members were enthralled with Robin’s photographic presentation of his sea journey around the Western Isles in the “Wild Goose,” a vintage 35 foot wooden Yawl, which originally belonged to Wallace Clark of Upperlands. The boat had to be salvaged in 1998 after it ran aground and sank in 30 feet of water near the mouth of the River Bann. Previously in 1992 Miles Clark, Wallace Clark’s son, had circumnavigated Europe from the White Sea through the Russian canals, rivers, and lakes to the Black Sea, through the Mediterranean Sea and back to Ireland, a distance of 2,000 miles.

Robin is now the custodian of the “Wild Goose” which is anchored at Seaton’s Marina. He along with his wife Janet set sail in the summer of 2018 from Portrush sailing north to Islay. The weather was ideal and Robin’s plan was to explore the various islands and communicate with the islanders. From Islay to Jura then to Oronsay and on to Iona, the island home of the Iona Christian Community, at the south tip of Mull. Along the coastlines were the caves where early mankind Hunter-Gatherer families settled, and the unusual white, cream and black lighthouses of a much later period. Also there were various standing stones, which were reminiscent of the Northern Irish landscape.

In Mull the islanders are again building traditional Pintail boats in an effort to strengthen the spirit of the local community. The houses on the flat and low-lying Island of Tiree are good examples of the Scottish Black House. The rocky island of Coll features the unusual whale jawbone arch. Safe anchorages were to be found at Mingulay, Castle Bay on Barra and Benbecula on North Uist. Here it was not uncommon to find shops with honesty boxes for the purchase of goods.

On Lewis and Harris working boats were anchored at Tarbert and it was common practice to provide free mooring for vintage boats, a practice Robin would encourage at harbours in Northern Ireland. Loch Ewe is renowned for fish protection and close by Gairloch hosts the submarine base. Sailing south to Skye famous for Bonnie Prince Charlie and on to Canna infamous for the modern day scourge of beach litter.

The pristine environment off the Isle of Muck proved ideal for viewing the antics of dolphins and the more sedate Minke Whale. In the sailing fraternity it is normal for men to go sailing with men and it was a great blessing for Robin and Janet to share in this memorable voyage. And also to share their experiences and photos with the club members, in this thoroughly enjoyable and beautifully illustrated talk.

(Very many thanks to Graham for his excellent minutes)

Members wishing to take a second look at some of Robin's photos, please 'Click' this link