Round and Round - Part Two
Caroline and Dai continue their round-Britain voyage
Tues 24 Jun 1998
1000 Take launch across to Oban - brilliant morning
1100 Coffees at Royal Hotel
1300 Lunch at Royal Hotel. Haddock and chips £4.75; Lasagne £4.50 - both excellent.
1400 Launch - return to Ardantrive Bay.
1430 Meet steel boat “Elft” ( means Shad) from near Wilhelmstad with English wife. See Oberon from Haven Ports YC.
1630 Climb up to Hutchinson monument - erected by public subscription (1883) in gratitude for his services to “steam communications between the islands” It must have revolutionised their lives! Wonderful views to the west.
1830 Dinner afloat - garlic steak and peas followed by Rombout and biscuits - five star!
Wed 25 Jun
1000 Launch to Oban. Buy kilt and gifts. Lunch at Box Tree Cafe for Monkfish and Mussels.
1400 Return to Tess and meet up with Malcolm and Pam Yates on Oberon from Levington - immaculate 42 ft Nicholson. They decide to go south around South Coast home so we swop charts!
1530 Gale arrives on schedule.
The marina area during WWII was used to complete flying boats built “in the south.” The brick shelters we discovered in the hillside near monument were air raid shelters.
Thurs 26 Jun
1000 Yes (again) launch to Oban. Search everywhere for trousers but largest waist size found was 38’’ - incredible.
1300 Good lunch at Pancake cafe.
1520 Leave Ardantrive for Corpach (near Fort William)
Wind on the nose and develops to force 6 gusting 7 - well above forecast. Reefed main helps but down to 2 knots through the water and heavy, heavy rain. Too deep and steep sided to anchor so plod on hoping to reach Corpach before dark. Rain squalls develop in to continuous heavy rain - horrible horrible.
2120 Anchored Corpach west of lock. Some shelter but not really hospitable. Ben Nevis brooding over us. Thank goodness for Baxter’s tomato soup, Tesco rolls and Primula cheese.Log reading 956.5
Fri 27 Jun
0900 Informed that lock sluice is broken!
1400 Enter lock.
1610 Enter Neptune’s Staircase (multiple locks up to Banavie) tied to starboard side of tug (Lock Shiel of Stamners)
I only just escaped a nervous breakdown - every lock “the lad” who disappeared below making the tea arrived back late to tend the port quarter warp with the result that Tess’ quarter drifted to within 2 feet of the lock wall. Thoughts of being crushed like an egg hell kept recurring. Para Handy (TV series) had nothing on this!
1710 Tie up at pontoon at Banavie with full views of Ben Nevis - don Long Johns - eventually only discard a week later. Horrible night with extreme cold and shrieking wind and this 6 days after longest day of the year.
Sat 28 Jun
0900 Leave Banavie - see Buzzard over Inverlochie.
1315 At Laggan - wait repairs for sluice.
1650 At top of flight of locks Fort Augustus and SUNNY Log 981.1
1930 See woman on boat next to us pour half a gin bottle in to a glass and down very rapidly.
2000 Wild mountain haggis drenched in whiskey with green ginger etc £3.25; Venison hot pot £6.95. Both excellent . Meet Arran Comrade (28’ Twister) which had just finished the Bergen - Banff North Sea 97 Race. Home port Largs. Lady and the gin bottle mentioned in conversation -only to discover later it was the lady from Arran Comrade!! - phew.
Sun 29 Jun
0915 Enter Fort Augustus Flight
1025 Exit Fort Augustus Flight
1615 In basin beyond Muirtown Bridge (Inverness)
1915 At Muirtown Hotel. Good value Haddock; Lasagne £9.60 total.
2030 Meet Dragon King (ex Belfast) when we could not return into the marina only to find that key should have been given to us at Corpach. 3 days, 29 locks and 60 Nm in canal.
Mon 30 Jun
Gale warnings, toilet blocks up and rain promised - signs of a good day.
Clear toilet, improve faucet. Dream of force 4-5 sun and warmth all the way to Paglesham.
1315 Adjourn to Caley Inn next to locks - Excellent toasted cheese and onion for £1.75.
1430 Shop at Co-op supermarket. Carrier bag fails and wine bottle smashed in car park. No quibble at Co-op for replacement.
1500 Plot waypoints to St Abbs Head then make do and mend.
Tues 1 Jul
England and Wales rainfall double normal (5” cf 2.5”)
Today WET WET WET - force 8 in Cromarty. 3” of rain in cockpit bucket overnight.
Confined aboard so do waypoints to Gorleston.
Thames Barge May (Tate and Lyle) has been here for two weeks mainly waiting for weather.
Wed 2 Jul
1005 Exit Clacknaharry sea lock
Sight one seal and eight to ten dolphins
1130 Lighthouse at Fort George narrows (tide predicted to be favourable at 1115)
1300 Dodge 35 foot fir trees floating in red-brown flood water; River Spey burst its banks and railway out of commission for a week.
1615 Change plan - to head for Buckie instead of Lossiemouth
1951 In Buckie rafted up to Eurocrat (ex Chichester) heading for Shetlands (approx 60 miles north) Log reading 1016.4
Thur 3 Jul
1000 Say farewell to Eurocrat and exit Buckie (past nearly completed Clyde ferry boat)
1123 N57.42.61 W02.45.41 Visibility becoming poor.
1513 Very rough seas nearing Fraserburgh - difficult to identify entrance - just west of entrance could be mistaken for Fraserburgh in the conditions. Navigate around disabled trawler.
Meet 50 ft Swedish Myjoy ex Gotenberg heading for Orkneys. Log reading 1094.4
1600 Ashore in rain, rain, rain. (£10 per week or per night)
1615 Head for Presto (Safeway)
1700 Night in
Fri 4 Jul
1020 Exit Fraserburgh - SUN
1100 Turn SOUTH outside Streraton Rock. Dolphins surface nearby. Barometer 1010 rising.
1140 Rattray Head lighthouse
1250 Enter Peterhead harbour
1300 In marina in SW corner of bay (£12 per night)
1700 Ashore to Prison Officers’ Club. Calders Cream bitter with excellent hoppy taste. Proceed to WC Fields pub - good haddock and scampi £11.20.
2200 Angling boat returns (after 6 hours for £50) with 17 codling. Good but watery sunset.
Sat 5 Jul
0840 Exit Peterhead harbour
1000 Off The Scares
1240 Aberdeen fairway buoy - rain
1830 On hook in 16’ in Lunan Bay opposite Red Castle Log reading 1167.4
1920 Paglesham 165 deg mag and 325 Nm
Sun 6 Jul
1030 Leave Lunan Bay
1430 Past Carnoustie, Arbroath etc and on hook off Royal Tay YC twixt Broughty Ferry (of the lifeboat disaster) and Dundee.
Mon 7 Jul
1000 Leave mooring Dundee (2.4Kn on mooring)
8.9 Knots over the ground
1110 Alter course to 160 deg for the South!
1245 Crossing St Andrew’s bay - Bell Rock bearing 090 deg
1715 Alongside Tara from Amble in Eyemouth
2036 276 Nm to Pag on 164 deg mag
2130 Hartlepool Renaissance (approx 65ft OA) play fast and tight with masthead halyard across our stern to save their rigging leaning on the quay as they dry out. Refuse my request to release despite our and Tara’s necks literally in extreme danger. Get coast guard on VHF who quickly got the Harbourmaster on the job.
1155 Halyard released. If that’s renaissance then let’s stay with status quo!
Tues 8 Jul
1425 Exit Eyemouth - lovely stay enhanced by excellent Harbour Master who was most helpful and fuelled and watered us. A most heart-warming man - any time we’re in the area we will certainly want to look him up.
1546 English waters. St Andrew’s flag lowered.
1553 Off Berwick on Tweed
1750 On hook, Holy Island
Wed 9 Jul
Ashore - wonderful Priory and Church - a very strong sense of history and mystery grabs you as soon as you step ashore. Pub lunch and then Caroline scared the living daylights out of some teenagers who had used our wellies and hidden our oars. Imagine being chased by CMG in a fury wielding an oar.
1425 Weigh anchor after a memorable visit including winning a bottle of cider and a tin of peaches in the school fete.
Wind SE 2/3
1550 Off Sea Houses
1610 N Sunderland buoy
1855 Finish with engine in Amble marina in 14.3feet Log 1277.5
2030 In Waterloo (free house) £1.40 for Theakston
Thur 10 Jul
Bus to Alnwick for lunch
1710 Leave Amble
2015 In Blyth and good welcome at Royal Northumberland YC pontoon. Beer £1.30 /pint
Fri 11 Jul
0605 Leave Blyth
0634 St Mary’s lighthouse
0710 Off River Tyne
0900 Engine failure - water outlet detaches from exhaust manifold. Drift with favourable tides off Sunderland - no wind.
1000 CMG magic works and underway very gingerly for Hartlepool
1230 Outside Hartlepool marina - dredger in mid channel - go for widest gap on starboard only for Caroline to scream “Hawser” - the dredger had a hawser to the shore below mast height! Screeching halt then proceed safely on other side.
1240 In lock - engine won’t restart - towed to pontoon. Remove starter and solenoid and take to Jay Kay in Hartlepool - an Aladdins cave crammed with starters and alternators - probably thousands. Quick test shows solenoid OK but starter brush gear the problem. Mr Garlick (ex nuclear scientist who preferred this work) rectifies starter and gratis gives one old solenoid as spare, new pinion and all for £25. What great luck
Numerous acts of help by Harbour Master - wonderful people - can recommend Hartlepool except the dredger.
Sat 12 Jul
Spend morning exploring Hartlepool and afternoon putting engine back together.
Pouring rain in evening then thunder and lightning.
Sun 13 Jul
0731 Exit Hartlepool
1130 Entering Whitby harbour - wait for bridge to enter marina - HW +/- 2 hrs
1205 Into marina 16.3 ft at pontoon
1315 At the Granby pub near church on West Hill. Excellent roast lamb and Yorkshire pudding £3.70, and good scampi £4.20. Campbell’s (Hartlepool) bitter at £1.50 all good value.
1600 Thunder and rain.
Mon 14 Jul
0800 CMG to Co-op for victuals
0815 DW with Harbour Master to garage (25.9 p/litre)
0945 Through bridge and leave harbour entrance
Sunny - no wind
1040 Off Robin Hood bay
1245 Off Filey Brigg
1430 Round Flamborough Head into Bridlington Log 1376.1
Harassed by speedboat trips from the harbour and quite a swell
Tues 15 Jul
0940 Weigh anchor Bridlington - wind less than 10 knots
1530 No 3A SHM Humber Spurn Point
1610 Anchored inside Spurn Point
Evening aboard. Night reasonable, ship’s wash. Starry night - would not recommend above force 4-5.
0230 get up to check position - bewildering array of lights. Get fix and OK.
Wed 16 Jul
0925 Weigh anchor
1000 Heading 125 deg for Rosse Spit
1041 Rosse Spit. For an hour continued buzzing by low flying RAF jets playing “hide and seek”
1140 Mablethorpe TV Mast on 210 deg
1337 South Inner Dowsing
1915 Anchored off Mundesley in 11.7 feet. Log 1477.6
Earlier CMG courted by coxwain of Cromer Lifeboat who jumped aboard!!
Thurs 17 Jul
0640 Cockle mark
0654 N Scroby
0720 Mid Caister
0900 In to Lowestoft - BEDLAM, BEDLAM dredger and pneumatic drills, unsafe half broken jetties and they want to charge £12.50 per night.
The work was involved in marinarising the Yacht basin. And so to Southwold.
1030 Call Southwold on Ch 12 with immediate response and info on access etc. Wonderful.
1230 Lunch in Bridge pub (Lowestoft) Good fish but cloudy beer.
1300 Again rain, rain, noise, noise and dirty giant fenders - lumberjack expertise needed to retain balance on these.
1600 Leg it for Southwold to let motor cruisers into our berth.
1900 In Southwold
1930 Excellent grub in Harbour Inn. Mushrooms in garlic, cheese salad etc and superb Fisherman’s Pie £12.25 total. Highly recommended.
2030 The Wired Ones duo entertain - very good and free.
Fri 18 Jul
0855 Exit Southwold. Strong wind warning till midday. NW veering NE 6 at times, 4 later. Up to 8 knots over the ground - BEST SAIL OF THE WHOLE TRIP.
0955 Sizewell abeam
1035 Aldburgh Ridge buoy
1150 SW Whiting
1304 Woodbridge Haven buoy
1400 Landguard 3 hrs 5 mins from Southwold
1515 In Levington Log 1545.1
1930 Dine with Alec and Ann Parker (Accelerando) in lightship. Great evening.
Incidentally Levington charges £11.66 and Woolvestone £13.75. £2.11 difference.
Sat 19 Jul
CMG up mast to retrieve main halyard. Lunch aboard Accelerando and then to see Bob Lister at Woolvestone.
Sun 20 Jul
0705 Leave Woolvestone
0810 Shotley Spit
0918 Walton Pier
1010 Clacton Pier motor sailing
1055 Colne Bar
1145 Nass Beacon
1146 ENGINE FAILURE. Engine mounted AC fuel filter falls off engine. Many attempts to refit. Sail in to Mersea Quarters and anchor
1500 Made very welcome by Joan at WMYC, 90p Scrambled egg on toast. Dover Sole for dinner. Jim Clark to get fuel filter Monday.
Mon 21 Jul
Get fuel filter. Walk to village for coffee, delicatessen, Spar and Bookshop.
Tues 22 Jul
Fit fuel filter but fuel starvation and no wind.
1815 Outer Crouch after exhaustive trials of makeshift pipe from pump to filter. Engine started about 1750 hrs.
1945 On mooring Paglesham.
Logged 1650.1 Nm
Places visited 50
Days aboard 68