The Mull of Galloway

"You'll not get around the Mull today..."
Such was the unequivocal advice of the fisherman leaning over the gunwale.
"The wind's come round to the east - caught us out too," he continued.
Chris and I had just passed Crammag Head and were heading towards the Mull of Galloway when the skipper had spied us bouncing through the chop and powered over on a collision course - which in fact was probably the most worrying thing that happened all day - anxious to impart his concern. We decided to head on to Tarbet and see how things looked from there...
Arriving the previous evening we had camped beneath the lighthouse (with the permission of the warden - so late in the season there was no concern about disturbing breeding birds), and watched as the race rumbled past below. It was an idyllic camp, dramatic skies clearing gradually over Luce Bay and the Galloway hills and from the tent door I could see the Isle of Man to the south and the Mourne Mountains of Ireland to the west.
Launching the next morning at Port Logan, we picked up the start of the south going stream, making rapid progress on calm seas - a low swell of around 1ft rolling in from the north-west.
Chris exits a deep cave close to Crammag Head, well known for the race which forms here, extending some distance off shore.
In fact the seas here remained calm, a slight chop though nothing significant, despite a freshening south-easterly wind pushing against the tide. It was perhaps 3km south-east of Crammag Head that the seas began to get a little lively - as the tidal stream picked up, so too did the conditions off shore. A shower passed through and the wind touched F4 for a short while before returning to F3 and then, east of the Mull, F2. Close in, the waves steepened to around 3ft briefly, before easing again - just as I noticed a fishing boat closing rapidly. Turning off our collision course, the skipper matched my move, quickly bearing down on our position. He stalled the boat 20 yards from our bows and asked with obvious concern where we were headed.
Telling us that they had been caught out by the freshening winds, I assumed they had been fishing of the Mull itself. Stating in no uncertain terms that we would not make it around the Mull, they continued north, leaving me wondering if the next day's forecast for strong winds was coming in early.
We decided to push on anyway and reassess conditions at Tarbet. Working the scenario through in my mind, and noting that conditions were in fact calmer around the Mull than a little way north, it became clear that the fisherman had probably not been close to the Mull at all, but instead had become concerned at the rapidly increasing sea state in the area immediately south of Crammag Head - where the effects of wind against tide were most obvious. His well intended advice did not allow for our tidal calculations, the difference in location, the sea worthiness of our craft, or whether we might be familiar or not with such conditions...
And so we passed beneath the light of this imposing headland, in the first stages of the north-east going stream with the tide flowing at around 1knot, running through 2km of clapotis which never exceeded 2ft in height. And that, was that.
Crossing from the Mull to Cailiness point...
...where we landed beneath blue skies and sat awhile in the sun...
...looking out across the wide expanse of Luce Bay, towards The Scares - Big Scare the obvious rocky outcrop on the horizon - before continuing north, to finish at Terally Bay.
A short walk back across the peninsula gave a pleasant finish in warm afternoon sun, to a trip that I have had in mind for some time.
As has been noted elsewhere, tidal information for the Mull of Galloway contained in the Pesda Guide (2005) is not accurate. While the tidal streams in the vicinity of Crammag Head appeared to match the timings given, those off the Mull itself did not. A little online research will provide the detail required for accurate planning.