Kirkcudbright

Pronounced Ker-coo-bree. Ian Sime, Judy's husband, went to school there, how random! The most delightfully picturesque town lying beside the river with a castle, a combination of Woodbridge and Framlingham. It has a tide of seven metres, a wonderfully tranquil pontoon to tie up to, with water and electricity.....the most sophisticated facilities any yachtsman can hope for. A bit like Woodbridge, a yacht can only venture up the river about two and a half hours either side of high tide. We'd arrived too late to catch Sunday's tide, so had spent the night anchored in the mouth of the River Dee, in the lee of an island. The island afforded us some shelter from the wind, but the swell hit the boat side on and it was a very roly poly night, so much so that it was impossible to lie on your side without being flung onto your front or back, I initially fell asleep but woke at about 1.30am , I must admit to finding it horribly unsettling, I tried to lie as flat as possible, and considered transferring to the floor of the cabin where the motion of the boat would be minimal, I then considered rowing ashore and sleeping on the beach, it felt like it was going to be a very long night. I must have fallen back to sleep eventually, before having mustered the energy to implement either of these plans because next thing it was 7.30am.
We berthed alongside the pontoon at about 10am and wandered into the town, then got the Brompton bikes out to explore. After a long and hilly bike ride, in the rain, slight navigational mishap meant a much longer and hillier, and therefore wetter route than planned, but it was so good to stretch our legs, see some of the beautiful countryside on our last day in Scotland, and, there's nothing like getting really drenched to really appreciate a good, long, hot shower and good supper.

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Kirkcudbright, a sunny morning and low tide

Chris had experienced some toothache for the past couple of days and was anxious to see a dentist before it became too troublesome, considering the fact that we were in Scotland, but heading for England, on a boat, dependant on tides and wind, it was not a straightforward problem. He phoned a dental practice in Whitehaven, our next port, they couldn't help but gave him the NHS helpline number, it was busy so he left details. They called back and arranged an appointment for Tuesday afternoon at 3.15 in a town 4 miles from Whitehaven......now we just had to get there.
High tide on Tuesday was 12.40, dental appointment a 25 mile sail plus 20 minute taxi drive away, we asked several people their advice about the earliest possible time to leave Kircudbright, and went with the Harbour Master's, hopelessly optimistic, estimate, and consequently, were hard aground within 10 minutes of leaving, thankfully, just out of sight of the other yachties patiently waiting for a more realistic opportunity. It took us an hour and 20 minutes to cover the five miles of river, against a fast running tide and parking Bliss firmly on the mud twice. Once we reached the sea we were away, tide and wind now favourable, making 7 - 8 knots. Arrived and berthed by 14.15, had time for a bit of lunch before taxi collected Chris. Two hours later he was back, minus the wisdom tooth, which was beyond salvage, having been treated by a Polish NHS dentist, for a princely sum of £19 !! An amazingly efficient service, thank you NHS.
Chris seemed reasonably untroubled by the trauma of the extraction, so we packed up some essentials and set off on the Bromptons to Wasdale Head; train to Ravenglass and a 13 mile bike ride to join Team Cook, eleven of them, holidaying in Wasdale.

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