Lochinvar is a working but decining port, though of interest far afield as shown by the 3 enormous Spanish refrigerated trucks.
The Mountain Rescue were out in force and the lifeboat headed powerfully off to join the Air Sea Rescue chopper a few miles away, an interesting backdrop for our early start in sunshine, a flat sea – the wind was on vacation elsewhere. A very large dorsal finned back cruised nearby for a while; sadly an hour later cloud stole the day as a juvenile wind crept upout of the North, insufficient to sail but enough to irritate.
Later we flew into well hidden Kinlochbervie harbour like litter in a gale and flopped alongside before a thundery squall arrived, blotting out the mountains and any memory of summer. The lovely lady in the Harbour Master’s Office asked if I knew where to find a forecast so naturally I obliged noting thunderstorms and strong winds in 36 hours – decision made;Team A-Jay would wait it out before heading straight for the Orkneys 80 nautical miles away. Trevor would meet us there to take up his post of chief cook and bottle washer.
That evening a huge red trawler out of Banff shaped like a mess tin smoked in to unload whilst refuelling, tilting alarmingly as she did so. The lively dockside fish auction was all but drowned out by the crew angle grinding rusty trawler bits. Five hours later she barged back out to sea.
As Beethoven entertained with his Moonlight Sonata, another red trawler left, bulbous nets hanging off its rusty backside like a baboon’s balls, huge diesels throbbing, men in yellow oilskins, lights ablaze, power – effort.
Barry is a character: I didn’t meet him in the showers as the only shower is broken and I shower in the’Ladies’ sink as the Gentlemen have nicked all the plugs.’Two Boats’ Barry took me to view his boat project and was momentarily silenced when I pronounced it to be a 28′ Sea Stag: no one but no one has ever known what she is he said with awe. Not as much awe as I felt when I saw his artwork in his studio: unbelievable. Nothing happens here without an extended multi topic chat and so it was that Willy popped over for we were in his berth. “Nae bother” he exclaimed, handing me the keys to his van as he was off fishing for the day. Willy is a top bloke – he could not believe I was 60: I didn’t enquire further.
Willy’s rugged little van didn’t have a rear view mirror which caused us to upset a whizzy air horned Ford as a we pottered dreamily up the desolate, bleak magnificent glacial valley. Tatty sheep scattered the hill sides, isolated crofts spoke of hardship as the road frequently narrowed to a single lane, the traffic motorcycles and camper vans. Two Boats Barry explained there was only one crofter still working; others kept sheep to obtain government subsidy whilst working for the Council.
He agreed Kinlochbervie was in decline; it used to be the busiest port in the Highlands but now was home to but 3 ocean going trawlers. Strangely very expensive cars occasionally pulled up – some had made fortunes from fishing in the past – then of course there was oil. Willy worked the rigs.
John had ridden from Germany on his 37 year old single cylinder bike to visit Willy, his brother in law. Incredibly John had been working in Osnabruck when we lived thee, so it became a long evening as the wind arrived accompanied by its partner, rain. There are others seeking shelter, but our plan is to leave at o-sparrow-fart and strike out for Stromness. In the meantime I have business with 2 Boats Barry