Thursday, 16 June 2011

Peterhead to Banff

The next stage of my journey sees me going round the bend again, well instead of continuing North East I need to turn inland into the Moray Firth heading West for a while. If I had a big fast boat maybe I would have headed straight North to Wick, but then I would have missed out the delights of several olde worlde fishing ports and their inhabitants along the way; but more of that later. The first challenge was to get myself safely around Rattray Head, the corner as it were. This is a place of shallow water which throws up lumpy waves as the tide surges to run from North Sea to Moray Firth and back twice a day.  The best time to approach this is at slack water, just as the tide is changing from ebb to flow. The size of the waves is also affected by the wind, either going with the tide or against the tide. So with all this to consider I spent the evening before pawing over tide tables, almanacs and pilot guides to ensure I was in the right place at the right time. I worked out that if I rose at seven, set off by eight then I should arrive four miles East of Rattray Head at 10.00, perfect for a 10.06 tidal prediction. With these calculations complete I turned in for the night.
At four o’clock next morning I was wide awake after a fitful sleep unable to return to my slumber I checked and rechecked my tidal calculations; yes all seem correct. So an early breakfast and off I set into a windless sea with the engine gently purring away under my feet.
The exit from Peterhead Harbour
The sea was so calm that I decided to cut in towards the Head and pass it about a mile off rather than four. The timing was perfect and the crossing totally benign. It was such an anti-climax after all the night tortures that had held me the night before. 
Rattray Head Light
Just to raise my sense of awareness I spotted this sorry sight run up the beach near Fraserburgh. It just goes to show that even the proffessionals can get it wrong sometimes.

What I haven't told you so far is this turned out to be an almost windless day, so I spent the majority of it with the engine puring away benath my feet. Almost a full eight hours of running smoothly. It looks like filtering the fuel in Stonehaven has cured the problem I had during that night. Wahoo!

Just a few miles before I arrived at Banff the wind returned, bang on the nose and a heavy downpour gave me a bath. So I carried on under engine to my goal.

"What is the best thing to do with an Arbroath Haircut?"
(Answer at the bottom of the page)
Thanks once again to all you givers out there. The charities have now recieved over £1300 plus will receive an aditional £500 to Alzheimer Scotland from my employer in matched giving.
If anyone out there is having trouble donating at the justgiving sites (behind company firewalls, don't trust the internet with my card details or just don't want to give that way, etc) you can mail me a cheque direct. To do this just send me an email and I'll send you the details.
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I'm doing this trip for fun and funding the trip myself, but while I'm on this venture you can do your bit to by supporting the Alzheimer's charities through either or

Catch you next time.

David H.
Answer "Keep it under yer hat" :-)