Saturday, 11 June 2011

Arbroath to Stonehaven

Following an airless Friday of baking sunshine and not even a zepher of wind my guest for the next couple of days arrived. Steve is an ancient mariner of my acquaintance who has more sea miles under his belt than Jack Sparrow himself. He and Gerry his chauffeur came aboard to look over my tiny craft, they found it acceptable so we retired to the Cafe Kashmir, a fine quayside Indian resturant. But much to my guests chagrin the house was found to be a dry house. (This was not pre-planned guys, honest). A hearty meal was consumed by all before Gerry left for the drive back to Edinburgh.

Ruach sitting pretty in Arbroath harbour with the excellent Cafe kashmir in the background

The followng morning we woke all bright tailed and bushy eyed in good time for the opening of the harbour gates to let us proceed on with our trip North, 07.15 came and went, the gates remained closed. It was only supposed to be a short opening, from the time the staff came on duty to the time the tide had fallen to the point where they need to close the gates to keep a depth of water in the inner harbour. But on this occasion the high pressure weather system had depressed the tide to a point where we had already missed the critical depth at the gate, so the gates were to remain shut until the tide had risen sufficiently on the next tide about 7hrs later. So we spent a little time refining the boat systems before heading off for my first proper seaside fish & chips of the cruise. Now here's a thing; In Scotland fish & chips are referred to as 'a fish supper'. How come a fish supper? I don't know, but it seems very strange asking for a fish supper at lunchtime. I wonder if you just want a bag of chips do you ask for 'a supper' on it's own?

Following lunch we spent a little time in the recently refurbished signal tower museum learning more information about Bell Rock Light. We finaly set sail around 14.45 heading North East along the coast into a light wind from, you guessed it, the North East. Which means we had to sail along way back and forth (Tacking) to make any progress towards our goal. As dusk fell we were off Montrose, but decided we would press on as Montrose is quite commercial and not particularly yacht friendly. We turned on the engine and motored towards Johnshaven. We were just two miles off when the engine coughed, spluttered and died. At first I thought we had just run out of petrol, but in fact we had some dirt in the fuel. Johnshaven and the next harbour Gourdon both have rocky entrances so are not the places to approach in darkness with a dodgy engine, so on we sailed on doing two hour shifts in rain showers up the coast. At about 11am the following morning we were off the entrance to Stonehaven with the decision to make of do we press on another 35miles to Peterhead, or do we call it a day and head into harbour. With the slow progress we had made and the prospect that the weather was unlikley to improve we gave up the battle and headed into port.

Steve catching a few ZzzzZZzzz following our night of two tacks forward and one tack back up the Aberdeenshire coast

Following lunch Steve took this opportunity to jump ship because Stonehaven has an railway station within easy reach for heading back to the bright lights of Edinburgh. I'm very grateful for the company Steve brought to my journey. It's great having someone with you to discuss the merits of various tactics and strategies and most of all to share tasteless jokes with.

Stonehaven has a very quaint harbourside waterfront with many b&b and what looked like a few nice pubs and restaurants, but it also has what appears to be a harder town beyond.
Jim, the harbourmaster is a very knowledgable man who also seems to fill in as the local tourist information. He also is a sailor with a rather nice solid 12 ton Hillyard that I wouldn't have minded trying my hand at.

I must apologise for this posting being so late but finding a stable internet connection is proving quite a challenge. To find out where I actually am at any time it is best to go to the main website and click on the 'where am I' tab.

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Catch you next time.

David H.