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OGA60 fleet reaches the east coast of Scotland

Today’s update finds several of the OGA60 Round Britain fleet making progress down the east coast of Scotland, some having gone ‘round the top’ whilst others used the Caledonian Canal. The cover photo is of the cable-stayed Kessock Bridge [Bluewave42, English Wikipedia] carrying the A9 trunk road across the navigable Beauly Firth just after the final lock on the Caledonian Canal. Opened in 1982 it replaced a ferry and saved road travellers a 20-mile detour.

Due to crew changes and delays in the canal, some are waiting in port for a few days. ’Cygnet of London’ is in Tayport, Dundee and ‘Bonita’ is in Inverness. The Memory 19 ‘Titch’ has left the fleet, and been towed back to Suffolk where she will join in again with the party at Ipswich in August. Having secured a replacement propeller which was lost during the visit to Kerrera, Oban, restored Bristol Pilot Cutter ‘Letty’ has reached the Caledonian Canal and is passing through the locks on passage to Inverness.

After spending a few days exploring the Orkney Islands, ‘Susan J’ has departed Stromness on passage for Wick. ‘Onward of Ito’ arrived in Portsoy earlier in the week for the Traditional Boat Festival this weekend, where he has been joined by ‘Windbreker’, recently arrived from the Netherlands. Following her transit through the Caledonian Canal, single-hander Barbara is now in Peterhead with ’Moon River’. Having sailed under the Kessock Bridge, Inverness on Wednesday she made passage by Banff and Fraserburgh, crossing Rattray Head and decided against continuing south but to take shelter in Peterhead from strong winds forecast for the weekend. ‘Indian Runner’ is also heading for Peterhead, having left Whitehills, near Banff today at 0530.

This morning we passed through the last few locks and bridges of the Canal, and made the short journey to the marina at Inverness. We have very much enjoyed our few days in the Canal with its magnificent scenery and changeable weather. I have of course been fortunate in having an excellent crew to help navigate the difficulties with the many locks. We have also been fortunate to have the help of Jay Cresswell, a local Gaffer who knows the Canal well. Sian and Ant have now sadly run out of time and ‘Bonita’ stays at Inverness waiting for new crew.

Mike Beckett’, ‘Bonita’

‘Lahloo’ is two thirds round Britain! A milestone to share as I missed the halfway mark! This is also a significant point as we are about to enter the Caledonian Canal and spend a week sailing through to the east coast and start heading south. We have enjoyed some lovely anchorages in the Western Isles even had  a rare spinnaker run on passage towards the Caledonian Canal. So far we have used all six chart packs of the east, south and west coasts, along with half the individual charts bought for the trip, logged about 1,300 nm in 300 hours of sailing (which includes 200 hours of motoring or motor/sailing due to headwinds). So far it has been a fine trip and we have made some good friends. Onto the final third and hopefully a glorious east coast.

‘Lahloo’ via Instagram, Richard Bailey