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Onwards from Arbroath

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Four men in a boat rowing around the Uk
Four men in a boat rowing around the Uk

Not much wind today, but coming from the right direction.  Dull though.  Not a good start to the day.  Left the berth at about 07.30 to get fuel on the way out; the fuel berth opening at 08.00.  Anyway, it is apparent the harbourmasters at Arbroath actually have other jobs on the harbour and fit the HM duties in when they can.  Unfortunately, just as we were ready to fuel, the started to ‘slip a boat’, when which getting it and towing it up a slipway on a special cradle.  He said ten minutes at 07.45  Ho Ho. We were eventually fuelled up at 09.10. I’m very gradually getting used to not being in a hurry. Tough though😁

The photo? Nuttier, as if there is such a thing, than Phil & Jeremy in a Wayfarer, are four guys in a rowing boat rowing anti-clockwise for charity. See ukcharityrow2015.com. They stopped the night in Arbroath. You’ve got to admire all these guys (I certainly don’t envy them. Oh dear no!)

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A day in Arbroath

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Cleaned the boat, halfway through laundry and about to explore. No wind to talk of, so not missing anything😄

Only realised this morning that I missed a ‘disaster’ yesterday by a whisker. Portishead, for example, only locks In or out for a period of 3 hours either side of high water. The marina is manned around the clock. Indeed, in March, we locked out at 02:30. Arbroath also dries and, so, the gates are only open during 3 hours either side of high water. However, only between 07.15 and 19.45. I thought I had another three hours to get in and was not aware of the “only in office hours” restriction!!!😳

Arbroath (might have a smokie)

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Arrived in Arbroath after a great downhill sleigh ride of 82 nm in 13 hours berth to berth. Wind from the north with bit of west in it at 20 kts with gusts up to 27😄😄! (G says 29, but I didn’t see it😉)

Arbroath looks to be an interesting place. We’re going to stay a day to catch up on sleep, laundry, fuel etc.

Also, we’ll use some of our good clothes to go out for a meal. Yippee! Karen & Matt are paying for it😄. A sort of reverse dowry😁

Look to be few marinas on the East coast. Next one looks to be Amble; another 80 nm sail. Let’s hope the wind holds😏

South from Fraserburgh

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Set off at 06.00 to make the best of a Northerly F5. It’s a bit lumpy but otherwise making good progress. Overcast, showery, poor visibility and cold but otherwise heaven😉. Can’t waste it.

Yesterday evening, we walked to Janet & Jim’s. Janet’s my sister whom, given the distance, I don’t get to see often enough. So, every opportunity taken.

bound for Arbroath today, the first suitable harbour South, ignoring Peterhead which we’re passing now.

Where,s ‘m to? Eh?

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Our mood in Lichinver, when we left (weather induced), was short-lived as we ended up having a wonderful day, albeit overcast, but dry throughout. We started our day with the relatively short journey to Loch Inchard and Kinlochbervie where we had thought we might stay the night. However, a quick squint through the narrow entrance into the

Tiftie 'dressed overall'
Tiftie ‘dressed overall’

natural harbour, taken together with negative comments from others, left us pleased that we had exploored the loch, but keen to move on.

This meant rounding the iconic Cape Wrath, for which fortuitously the tide would turn in our favour by the time we got there and, assuming we did not stop in one of the lochs on the North coastline which would be unlikely given the large swell, a night passage. Now, G doesn’t really like night passages, but I was keen to experience the short Scottish summer night, the perfect place being where we would be. Could she be persuaded?

As regards the sailing, unfortunately, as we had already found that day, a combination of the large swell remaining from the previous two days and the light winds made it impracticable and slow. This is because the swell causes the boat to roll violently and, in doing so, cause the sails to collapse and then fill with a bang which is both slow, very noisy and irritating, even when motor-sailing. So, we continued motoring.

Our intended destination was Scrabster, a close neighbour of Thurso. We had a great passage including experiencing a short six-hour night, which never actually got dark. There would not, at any time, have been a need for a torch to work on deck. Also, for most of the time, the horizon was visible under the cloud and so we saw the continuous “red sky all night”!

We arrived at Scrabster at about 05.15, but there are no pontoons there and, temptingly, passage onwards through the Firth of Pentland would become possible from about 07.00 when the tide would begin to turn in our favour again (it being about 10 hours since rounding Cape Wrath). So, whilst G had a rest, I pooled up and down Dunnet Bay to pas the time (there apparently being no anchoring allowed by the harbour authority within the harbour and gods knows how far the harbour boundary extends!!)

Soon enough, 06.30 arrived and I was off, leaving G to sleep, sluicing around Dunnet Head and then, 11 nm later, Duncansby Head. G was back up on deck half way round Dunnet Head, when the wind suddenly freshened to 15 kts and that, combined with too much sail, the confused swell and inevitable overfalls, made for an exciting 5 minutes.

Our final destination became Wick where we happened upon a lovely, now underused, harbour, a helpful and very friendly harbourmaster and the RNLI Gala day. So, before we could rest, we had to get the flag roll out, which Sandy & Nance had kindly lefti, research the correct flag order and finally ‘dress’ Tiftie ‘overall’. Then a quick snack, off for a shower (amongst the very best) join in the merriment, including a lovely bagpipe marching band. I love ’em.

We would have gone to the RNLI Gala dance/knees-up in the evening, but I said to G, at about 18.00 and not having slept for 36 hours, that I would have to get some shut-eye before going out. The outcome was that poor G  spent the evening alone watching a DVD and here am writing this blog at 03.00 while G sleeps! I’ve just taken her a third cup of tea, which she’s drunk, the first two having gone cold.

But, we are both hugely satisfied with a perfect passage of 124 nm, albeit overcast and, for this time of the year, cold. Oh, and it didn’t rain – not once, and, naturally, G kept us fed and watered throughout in gastronomic style.

Today, it was raining at first, but has been fine since. We got up early to bring in the bunting, but then we just decided to go and left at 06.10. We’re off to Fraserburgh which is about 55 nm away. Winds are forecast from NW or W which is ideal.

What a nightmare wifi can be. I’m sitting here 5 miles offshore and can work easily on 3G, but working on the iPhone is painful. Ashore? No wifi where we were. So, at 05.00, I’m firstly outside the HM office, then sat on the pontoon, umbrella over head in drizzle. In both cases, I have a signal and I’m logged in. But slow! Ye gods! The little arrow went round and round ad nauseum, but to no effect other than to annoy 😡😡

Depression setting in!!!

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Woke up to 17 kts of wind and rain.  Very depressing!!  I think, if we had not set out to round the UK, we would be heading south.  That is if we weren’t already somewhere near Wales!!  Today, dull, overcast, low cloud and showers, we are going to head north to Kinlochbervie.  At the moment, given the forecast for the next week, we’re not sure if we’ll stop the night at KLB, or just wait there for the tide to turn and then press on around Cape Wrath.  The weather is such that ‘sight-seeing’ may not be a realistic option, especially given that we don’t want to be here when the next bout of F7 comes our way!!

G’s page has been updated (part of the reason why we stayed put) and brings her readers up to date (ish).

I’m writing this outside the leisure centre, sitting on the front door mat, because it doesn’t open until 10.00.  Yesterday evening, when we used the wifi facilities and G had a shower, there was not a single fitness person in here.  (I was going to be slightly satirical, but then quickly remembered that two members of our family might not be amused.  Eh, Edward and Andy.)  Fortunately, although I am outside and although £1 only buys 1/2 an hour of wifi time, the system has allowed the laptop to remember the password.  Yippee for non-fool-proof systems.

Off we go.

Windy wind

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Yesterday was a day of much wind. Rarely did it blow less than 20 kts, but averaged about 25 kts. There were frequent long gusts up to 30 kts and one when we saw 37 kts. The wind is across the boat and, so, in those winds, Tiftie takes on a constant list to port with the gusts rocking it further. Woken up this morning at about 05:00 to a sudden gust!! All well though. Today, the winds have moderated 5 kts or so, but it remains miserable with low cloud and prolonged rain showers. the good news is that, as was intended, we have stopped long enough for G to catch up with her story (she was two charts behind!) I now need to read it and ‘post’ it, for which I need wifi, which is available at the local leisure centre. We expect to leave tomorrow probably for Kinlichbervie, thence to Stromness. I note that this time last year Hafren was journeying past here. Would have been a bit more exciting this year!!!😳

Gina’s page has been updated!!  Good reading.