Still berthed in Peterhead.
For the last two days we have been exploring the
Grampian region by car. Overall, we are stunned by the attractiveness and
remoteness of the area.
We started by going south to check out Montrose, a
harbour that, after some discussion whilst we were at Port Edgar with those
who know the coast, we decided against as a passage port on our way up
here, . Undoubtedly you could go in there and find shelter, but it is a busy
commercial port, where the quays are sized and configured for ships, not yachts.
So ok as a port of refuge, but probably not one of choice.
From there we swung inland and through the
Cairngorms. Crossing the pass by the ski-slopes, the temperature was down to 6 C
and the rain was driving across. Generally, we have found the climate here to be
bracing, even in mid-June. When the sun is out it warms up to about 15 C, and
the countryside and sea-scapes look stunning in fresh and vibrant colours,
enhanced by the clarity of the atmosphere. But the wind maintains its bite, and
the next shower is never far away.
But then we came to Balmoral, and were in time for
tea, albeit served on a blue plastic tray. No doubt something to do with 'elf 'n
safety'. But it is a stunning setting on Deeside, and I can fully understand why
Herself, and the Prince of Leeks, are so attached to it.
Today we went northwest to look at a couple of
potential stops on the way to Inverness from here, namely Buckie and Whitehills.
The first is fine as a harbour; relatively easy most-weather entrance, space
inside and good shelter. But it is still a busy fishing and commercial harbour,
with a certain dour quality. The stone walls would be ok for a yacht, but I
doubt that one would choose to stay for long. By contrast, Whitehills is a
delightful small ex-fishing harbour, that has a marina in the inner basin, and a
visitors pontoon in the outer. The trouble for us would be that it is small, and
the entrance very narrow and challenging. We would have to run in the narrow
channel, and then execute a ninety degree port turn just before running up the
disused lifeboat slip, then an immediate ninety starboard to avoid ramming the
visitors pontoon. Hmm.
After that we visited the splendid Duff House (that
is as in 'Duff' family, not pudding) house near Banf, which is now restored by
the Scottish authorities, and houses a considerable amount of fine art.
And our tour of the Grampian region ended in
Tesco's. One still has to eat.