This event, in this place, with this weather and these sort of images say a shedload about what Argyll and the Isles has to offer in activity tourism.
Show us anywhere else that could deliver on a par with this? It’s got the lot – the scenic impact, the machismo, the machines, the grunt, the fun, the banter, the images, the places to go – and the place at the heart of it, the sheltered harbour in the unique little slate island with the Puffer bar and the WOW factor of the unique Easdale Island Hall with its astonishing programme of music…
Then there’s the access from the great pivotal point of Easdale to so many great places to RIB off to – for adventure, scenery, food, pubs…
The 2012 Easdale RIB Rendezvous weekend – organised by local marine wildlife operator Seafari Adventures – attracted over 40 RIBs to Easdale’s community owned harbour. They were RIBs from Huddersfield, Birmingham, Reading, Aberdeen, Ayrshire, Glasgow, Northern Ireland and of course local boats from Oban.
Sunshine and calm seas played their part in ensuring all visitors went home with many tales to tell of the excellent cruising grounds, facilities and hospitality of the area.
Easdale is the only tourism orientated destination which is actually located within the European Special Area of Conservation – the Firth of Lorne.
Saturday’s destinations included the new pontoon facility at Salen Jetty on Loch Sunart. As the air temperature was cold in the morning many RIBs pulled into Tobermory for a warming coffee before heading up to Salen (above left).
At the Tobermory pontoons, above, the big black RIB on the right is The Beast, over from RedBay boats in Cushendall on the Antrim Coast of Northern Ireland; the RIB on the left is the well known Sula.
RIBS are exactly the job for Loch Sunart. That mysterious and long sea loch jabbing its way into the heart of the wonderfully massy Morvern is navigable for yachts right up to Strontian – but RIBS are quicker.
On Saturday, another side of RIBS, as anticipated, recognised that this was an excellent opportunity for extended cruising and headed around Mull.
This cruise took in a stop off at Fingal’s Cave on the Isle of Staffa and on Iona. It was a splendid day. The photograph above, of one of the RIBs on the way in to the cave, catches all of the magic you yearn to share.
The Puffer Bar and Restaurant hosted the event social with a ‘Best of the West’ BBQ highlighting the quality of locally sourced food. String Driven played at The Easdale Hall throughout the evening.
Sunday was even calmer and warmer on the water. RIBs headed to destinations various including Iona, The Garvellachs and Craighouse.
Camaraderie developed over the weekend between people from widely differing backgrounds. Friendships were renewed or formed. All will have left Easdale with a weekend to remember.
It is hoped the event will spread the word that Easdale has some excellent boating facilities right on the edge of some of Seafari’s Easdale RIB Rendezvouse best cruising grounds in the world.
This was a community effort with all local tourism businesses contributing to the standard of hospitality that today’s tourist has come to expect. The hope is that many will return for a longer period and bring their friends.With memories of experiences like those from this weekend, it should be a good bet.
With Tony Hill
Note: Photographs supplied by Tony Hill. Chat and more photos here.