Arbroath to Peterhead to Whitehills
We spent 36 hrs in Arbroath, it would have been nice to stay another day or so, we liked it. It didn't take much for us to like it, it was a welcome haven after 14 hours on the, how shall I put it, sometimes inhospitable, North Sea. It's a busy fishing port and it probably hasn't changed in decades, or even hundreds of years, the smell of woodsmoke and smokies still fill the air. The harbour isn't big, lots of fishing boats, and a corner of it is is the marina, it's sort of functional and everyone just gets on with it, nay fuss.
We had the whole of Wednesday there, visited the Signal Tower museum, which is mostly about the construction of The Bell Rock Lighthouse.
We sailed past this lighthouse the day before and I am ashamed to admit that I didn't take much notice..... It is an absolutely awesome piece of engineering ingenuity, and has saved thousands of lives. It marks a volcanic plug, a reef that is exposed for a couple of hours at low tide but can be covered with up to 12 feet of water. Hundreds of ships have been wrecked there, including HMS York, with her crew of 500 sailors in the early 19th century. It sits right in the middle of the entrance to the Firth of Forth, miles from anywhere.
When you think of the difficulties those guys had to overcome 200 years ago to build this crucial navigational aid it is mind-boggling, the reef was under water 18hrs a day!
Thank you to them all. I would have liked to go back and take another look, to pay it the respect and attention it deserves, and reflect on all those poor souls lost, way out at sea, in the most terrible conditions.
We didn't go back, but we are truly thankful for every navigational aid, and how lucky we are.
The sail up to Peterhead was good, 60 miles with favourable wind and no scary bits! Not long after leaving Arbroath we enjoyed the company of two bottle-nosed dolphins who swam in our bow-wave and alongside for a few minutes, we were very excited!!
Coast of North-west Scotland is so beautiful, even more so with the backdrop of snowy mountains, villages and towns nestle in the clefts between the cliffs, very picturesque.
Arrived Peterhead at about 6pm,once again the wind had got up and there was quite a big rough sea on the approach to the harbour, but we have a new system for dropping the mainsail without me having to go up to the mast, much less terrifying.
Peterhead is a big commercial port, it serves the big ships for the gas and oil industry and has a large fishing fleet. It couldn't be more different to Arbroath, with the marina snuggled between the commercial shipping on one side and the prison on the other, it just somehow lacks the charm of other harbours. I'm not ungrateful, it's a safe place to spend the night after a long sail, has loos and hot showers. Thank you very much.
With the recent inclement weather I don't think they have been very busy, there was no-one on duty; unusual, and slightly frustrating as we weren't able to acquire a key to the marina gate, we were imprisoned on our jetty. So our stay in Peterhead was short, sadly, we didn't get a chance to explore beyond the rather severe and industrial corner of the town.
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