Sugar 'n' Spice – Weblog 7

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Whitby, Yorkshire


54˚ 29’ N

0˚ 36’ W

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Sun 4th Aug.  A tricky 3 point turn to extricate ourselves from the berth for a mid morning departure from Whitehills.  Main hoisted with one reef, but it was still a fast sail along the S shore of the Moray Firth, as we passed the gannetry on Troup Head, with lots of gannets & other seabirds circling the cliffs or fishing at sea.  We put a 2nd reef in off Fraserburgh & at the corner of Rattray Head the seas became bigger.  We hardened up & beat down the coast to Peterhead arriving around tea time.  41.3 nm.

On the monday (5th Aug) we walked into town for provisions & later I strolled up the local hill to the Reform Tower overlooking the harbour.



Tues 5th Aug.  An early start sailing past some scenic coast (Slains Castle on a headland, a giant rock with a hole in it & the extensive Sands of Forvie), until mid morning we were off Aberdeen.  There was more traffic, but also a vast number of rig support vessels at anchor, presumably awaiting commissions.  There were also rafts of seabirds, predominately the Gull & Auk families with some gannets diving into the melee.  We assume they were feeding, but couldn’t see the source.  We had a few start/stops with the engine to maintain our passage speed when the wind went light.  Midday we were able to sail again on a beat, but mid afternoon a squall caused us to reef, & as it passed to take them out again.  Around 5pm we were past Arbroath (we didn’t want to stop there this time because of the tidal constraints for moving on tomorrow) & turned into the Tay estuary instead.  We had hoped to anchor near the mouth, but the overnight wind forecast had changed & made this anchorage unsuitable.  Doug rang the Royal Tay Y.C. & asked if they had a mooring we might use.  The answer was yes, so we carried on up river past Broughty Castle – a slow slog as the tide was now rushing out against us - & it was 7pm by the time we picked up the mooring.  We slept soundly - thank you Royal Tay.  91.0 nm.



Wed 7th Aug.  Another early start – with the tide this time, we had no intention of fighting it again.  It was a magical morning.  Terns were doing spectacular dives as they fished the upper estuary, then there were seals hauled out on a sand spit & others swimming close to inspect us, then as we got to the narrows at the Inner Bar buoys there were dolphins doing spectacular jumps in the overfalls ahead of us.  They came & jumped around the boat making whistling noises, then were gone.  15 mins later more dolphins arrived & stayed cavorting for about 10 mins.  As they left we were motoring on a flat calm sea & every direction one looked were seabirds of all sorts – some in small groups, some parent & offspring pairs.  A tug towing a large barge, crossed ahead making for the Firth of Forth along with gannets heading to Bass Rock.  Gradually, after a few false starts, the breeze picked up enough to sail.  Late afternoon we wound our way into the anchorage at Lindisfarne & dropped the hook.  69.9 nm.



It was a relaxing evening in beautiful surroundings.  The castle on its mount looked over the harbour & the encircling dunes.  Seals swam by, or lounged on the sand bars, & as the tide dropped the causeway to the mainland gradually appeared.

Thur 8th Aug.  A leisurely departure after the tide had risen enough to let us out over the shallows forming the harbour, then a beat down the coast.  Plenty to see, Bamburgh castle, Beadnell Bay, then the Farne islands with associated bird life, Dunstanburgh castle.  Also fairly quick & we saw off another boat in the process.  At Coquet island we turned into Amble & its friendly marina, with the stunning views up river to Warkworth castle (remembered from our 2006 visit).  28.1 nm.

The eider ducks are still in evidence & still scrounge & scrap over bread.  This time of year only the brown females & young are present, the elegant males have moved on.

Friday (9th Aug) A quick recce of the weir between Amble & Warkworth (water falling over it at low tide), then late afternoon (so we went up river on a rising tide & at the top of the tide) we took the kayaks up the river Coquet over the now completely covered weir (herons in the fields), to Warkworth (lots of swans & people enjoying the sun near the old bridge) & on past castle & hermitage to another weir (a proper solid structure), from where we returned on a now ebbing tide (lapwings on the harbour wall).  Treated ourselves to a pub supper as a reward.



Saturday (10th Aug) Took the bikes on a loop S through country lanes, returning to the coast at Cresswell & N up the coast on National cycle route 1 past Durridge Bay (golden sand dunes & nature reserves for miles).  The biggest surprise, soon after the start, was a ford with no alternative for cyclists than to go through it.  I am pleased to report that both parties got their feet wet, the bikes didn’t seem to mind. About 35 miles.



Sunday (11th Aug) A few jobs, a visit to the Sunday market, then the short cycle ride to Warkworth.  Lunch, a stroll by the river (where we paddled friday), & a look round the castle.

Mon 12th Aug.  Away as soon as we could settle our dues.  Out of the harbour & heading S via the narrow channel between Coquet island & the mainland.  Soon put 1st reef in main because of the gusts. Still fast, off Blyth reefed genny as well & lunchtime we turned into the Tyne & into Royal Quays marina, North Shields for fuel & a berth.  26.9 nm.

Just tidied up when rain & thunder arrived, so a lazy remainder to the afternoon.

The marina is the unlikely home to a small (but growing) colony of common terns.  One length of pontoon close to their nest site is provided with umbrellas & hard hats to deter their dive bombing attacks.  They seem to fish & screech all day - & all night too!

Tues 13th Aug.  Mid morning departure & once out of the river entrance we found a big swell & the wind dropped.  Gradually enough breeze picked up to sail.  We altered course for a fishing boat only to find he was ‘guarding’ a long line of small floats, presumably a drift net.  We haven’t encountered one of these for years & are just glad it wasn’t dark so we could see & avoid it.  The coast was a mix of craggy cliffs & industry as Sunderland, Hartlepool & Middleborough (with lots of ships anchored off) passed.  Passing the former we had a brief sighting of fins, two probably porpoises, from the size, & later off Staithes another showed briefly.  So early evening we anchored in Runswick Bay with its curving yellow beach.  45.8 nm.

The swell was still giving quite a roll so after supper we decided to put out the stern anchor to hold the bow into it.  It made for a more restful night.

Wed 14th Aug.  A prompt departure despite having 2 anchors to haul!  So we made the 9am bridge at Whitby & tied up alongside in the marina.  5.9 nm.



Whitby was very busy with tourists.  We joined them for a stroll around the town, & later climbed the 199 steps look around the ruined, & very imposing, Abbey on a headland above the town.


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