On Saturday 1 July, we heard that ’Swift II’ “is tucked up in Inverness Marina with a gust of 31 knots.” ‘Bonita’ had also taken shelter there, awaiting a crew change but once Tim arrived and the forecast improved, they set sail for Peterhead. Still in the Caledonian Canal, ‘Lahloo’ wondered if she’s ‘tail end Charlie’, but ‘Letty’ had only just caught up with the fleet after fitting her new propellor in Kerrera. She’s reached Fort Augustus. We hear from ‘Barbarossa’ that diesel is only £1.22 per litre at Seaport Marina, Inverness, where she’ll be until Wednesday 5th July.
Meanwhile four Gaffers gathered in Peterhead to wait out the storms: “Happy Gaffers in the Dolphin Cafe in Peterhead on Sunday night. ‘Indian Runner’, ‘Minstrel’, ‘Moon River’ and ‘Step Back in Time’ all enjoying the fish and chips!” ‘Susan J’ spent some time exploring Wick reporting that she’s “turned the third corner, at 9 kts. Now about halfway round, at Wickers World, for breakfast in the rain and safe from the promised gales!”
‘Onward of Ito’ and ‘Windbreker’ enjoyed the weekend in Portsoy for the Traditional Boat Festival. ‘Cygnet of London’ has a full complement of crew again, enjoying curry and a beer in Tayport before heading south for Berwick and the English east coast.
Tiring of the attractions of Inverness, Tim and I were encouraged by a slightly better forecast of westerly winds force 4-6, and so we extracted ourselves from the marina at about midday. The wind proved to be towards the top end of the predicted range, with a bit more added at times. Bonita for much of the trip was running under just mizzen and staysail, and doing more than 7 knots at times. There was a boisterous following sea with a fair amount of water on deck. We covered the 90 miles to Peterhead in about 16 hrs and got in about 5am. Peterhead is a pleasant quiet town dominated by the fishing port in the old harbour. There is a large more recent breakwater enclosing a larger area of water. It turns out construction on this was begun in 1888, though not finished for 70 years. Unusually much of the work on building the breakwater was done by convict labour, and a prison was built for the purpose above the harbour.Mike Beckett, ‘Bonita’