Friday, 7 June 2019

Nairn to Arbroath

The sun came out as we left Nairn to travel along the South shore of the Moray Firth. The wind was a gentle Southerly giving us a flat sea, and a beam reach at 6 -7 knots. We passed the village of Cullen where the famous Scottish Broth Cullen Skink was invented. Another journey up the mast in the morning has finally sorted out the foresail roller which is now working perfectly as is the ship's toilet which required a little work on the siphon grommet. Our original destination was Buckie a fishing town known as " The dump " by the locals we met. However we were doing so well we carried on to the little port of Whitehills where we were greeted by the harbourmaster Mr Bertie Milne who had taken some pictures of us coming in and presented us with the camera SD card to download the images. We had landed on our feet. Whitehills is a bonny little village originally surviving on the fishing trade, but as boats got bigger with more horse power to catch more fish, small harbours like Whitehills were only suitable for the crab and lobster men , and the yachties filled the gap. Bertie an ex fisherman himself made us very welcome and generously donated the harbour fee to St Kentigerns. We stayed in Whitehiils for two nights as we were storm bound with 30 knot winds at the masthead on Tuesday. We walked over to the neighbouring village of Banff, which had some substantial merchants houses built on the trade with Northern Europe , the herrings and not forgetting smuggling which was rife in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Seafield Arms in  Whitehills was crammed with photos of trawlers and provided a very good fish supper. All the locals were jolly and enjoyed living where they did despite the winters.

Tuesday saw us rounding the notorious Rattray Head in calm conditions to arrive in the busy port of Peterhead. The North Sea supply vessels with their helicopter landing pads were enormous, they arrived on one tide had supplies craned on and left for the oil rigs on the next. Overhead Sikorski Helicopters buzzed taking crew on and off rigs . There is now a marina just under the old prison which was always a tough place . The prisoners specialised in rooftop protests and would often
feature on National TV . It must have been cold on that roof! I'd have been begging to come down.

We pressed on with the tide to the pretty port of Stonehaven, where we found a reasonably sheltered berth along the harbour wall. There was quite a lot of swell particularly at low water . Our snatch block on the shrouds , took a bit of a hammering , but a nearby  yacht was snatching to and from and broke some lines in the night.

Thursday's run from Stonehaven to Arbroath, went well apart from starting off with the main halliard wrapped around the radar dome. We returned briefly to harbour to sort it out as the swell had the mast rotating through 15 feet and Iain sensibly vetoed me going up the mast at sea. It was so much easier to sort it once the boat was not moving. We had our first sea Haar or fog bank off Montrose and picked up anchored tankers and a rock quite well on the radar. The cloud cleared and for the last couple of hours beat into a SW breeze at 7 knots with the tide to pick up the leading lights into
Arbroath Harbour amidst a sea of lobster pots. Impossible at night.

Arbroath is the home of the famous smokies. The harbour is quite busy with fishing vessels. It's quite a poor town now with some fairly rough pubs , however you can see from the buildings that there was plenty of money when the trade in "silver darlings" (herrings) was in a full flood. As it's a diversion to go up the Tay to Dundee we are staying till Monday in Arbroath and went into Dundee on the train today to visit the new V&A museum at the waterfront and see the Scottish Design Exhibition. The museum is free and a big boost to the city of Dundee which is gradually recovering from the collapse of the Jute trade. The town centre is now pedestrianised and a big improvement on what I remembered , the old buildings positively gleamed in the sun.
Kika arrives at Whitehills courtesy of Bertie Milne

Iain Cat and Ian ready with the lines

Our storm hole at Whitehills

Our mate the gannet who told us we were an hour wrong on the tide

6 comments:

  1. "As it's a diversion to go up the Tay to Dundee we are staying till Monday in Arbroath " Kika is heading southwards -in case she has been 'stolen' ;) [ prototype tracker device: https://kika.ne1.eu ]

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