Whitehills Stopover

Oil Rig Moray Firth

Oil Rig Moray Firth

 

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A-Jay Whitehills

A-Jay Whitehills

Various grandiose activities dissolved into somulant inactivity on Saga Admin day. The skipper promoted the Second Mate to doby wallah first class whilst he foraged in the local stores for essentials. Rain after lunch provided all the excuse necessary for the crew to remain at anchor, building strength for an evening assault on the quayside fish restaurant.

Moray Firth Plots

Moray Firth Plots

Whitehills Inner Marina

Whitehills Inner Marina

Whitehills Outer Marina

Whitehills Outer Marina

As the second mate explored his green maggot in the fore peak for an afternoon nap, the skipper considered the statistics of the voyage. Taking the easy ones first, those supplied by others, this blog site has attracted 2,386 views from 496 visitors though I guess that includes the skipper, which probably means there have been 15 views by others. Visitors hailed from UK, US, Australia, France, Singapore, Germany, Guernsey, Jersey, Italy and even the UAE

The voyage stats have been lost in the laptop and will take a while to recreate. Certainly there has been less sailing than hoped for and more breakages but no diasters or turn rounds. The weather, broadly speaking, has been consistently disappointing but despite eveything, Team A-Jay got to Fair Isle and the Shetlands.

Next day the Second Mate was promoted to potty washer, a task he did brilliantly before we flagged down the bus bound for the teeming metropolis of Banff.  Somehow the crew’s inbuilt compass led them to the tiny marina, where the Second Mate paused to look at rocks and the skipper wondered where they could find cullen skink for lunch.

The lunchtime cullen skink was delicious, the sun shone, the sky was blue and it was 4° warmer – the crew was happy. An idle afternoon was just the job. It’s a strange thing, but the more the Second Mate kipped, the more he yawned, though this might be down to the skipper’s conversation or something more sinister such as a gas leak.

Both crew members were cultivating assorted sniffles from the bruising Shetland Dash, so the evening closed with the gentle whinnies of the Second Mate emanating from the fore peak and later, no doubt less sonorous snuffles from the skipper in the saloon.

The morning was officially designated summer though the blue sky and sunshine was tinged with a chill.  Leaving the marina berth required a cunning plan, mainly of Bertie the Harbour master’s making in the complete absence of inspiration from the skipper. The channel behind was barely a boat length but the manoeuvre was sweetly done and Team A-Jay was soon away, never less than 0.8 metres beneath the keels at low water minus one.

The weather Gods clearly hate complacency so soon scuppered the crew’s feeble attempts to sail but no one minded – it was a nice day, as the comfortable green landscape slipped by, houses grouped in companionable proximity in each pretty bay. Sandy beaches, curving green hills with their big bosomed cousins behind, RAF fast jets providing raucous entertainment…..

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Approaching the Rocks

 

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Impressive!

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More Rocks

The Second Mate was ecstatic when Team A-Jay paused near an impressive rock formation; a little later harbour preparations were made as A-Jay rested just off a glorious white sand beach.

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That afternoon, Andy and Judith, also sailing round Britain in their Sadler 29, a distant cousin of the 290, caught up with Team A-Jay.  The skipper bemoaned the lack of hair restorer aboard the good ship A-Jay, which was sufficient to secure a most welcome invitation aboard Quik Decision where it was grand to swap salty stories with such nice people. That evening brought a new friend, 70 + year old Lief 54 hours inbound from Sweden; again, our achievement was put into perspective. He arrived in a bullet proof Swedish lady, low slung, beautiful but headstrong in reverse.

Lossiemouth is intriguing, a place of contrasts. The lovely beach invites, pretty stone houses tempt and whisper of prosperity, yet nestle shoulder to shoulder with gentle decline. I suspect the original raison d’être of Lossiemouth has long gone and it now relies on the RAF service folk for its life blood.

Next morning the cheerful figure of Bertie the Whitehills Harbourmaster hailed Team A-Jay from the quayside – our berthing discount here at Lossiemouth was, we felt, almost certainly due to his influence.

Later the Second Mate strode purposefully to look at the beach though the skipper suspected he went for a lie down, whilst the skipper pottered off to visit the Stotfield Hotel where my late uncle had stayed as a young Fleet Air Arm Sub Lt. in 1940.  There were no visible memories at the hotel, or later in the museum but it was good to tread the ground.

A mild case of geographical embarrassment found the skipper outside a fish shop, where it was quite impossible to ignore the Cullen skink and locally caught sea food.

Tomorrow Team A-Jay will head for Inverness, that is if we get the tides right for the pilot book talks ominously of 6 knot tides at the choke points.

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By ajay290

6 comments on “Whitehills Stopover

  1. Hope the passage to Inverness goes well. Thinking of you in Salisbury and hope the hair restorer has worked

    Cheers. Paul

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  2. Thanks Paul,

    Hope all well in lovely Salisbury.

    I will leave A-Jay in Inverness so as to attend my niece’s wedding and return with Angie for the Caledonian Canal. Hoping for better weather!

    Best wishes to you both

    ☺ JMW

  3. Good luck for the next leg of your trip. Enjoy your time ashore at your niece’s wedding. A chance to catch up on hair restorer?

  4. Dearest John, wonderful blog, it made me chuckle! Are you really able to be with us next Saturday? Love, Caro xx

    Sent from my iPad

  5. In Inverness now. Flights booked so will definitely be there. Hope preparations are going well for this very special event – looking forward to it immensely☺

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