0004 - Eyemouth to Stonehaven

Okay, so we finally got out of Eyemouth and after a number of abandoned ideas, we decided to go further up the East Coast of Scotland to Stonehaven - thinking it was the simplest and most straightforward of the options available to us.

Approx 65 nm, and sailing all the way is totally doable in one day under the right conditions...and we thought we had such conditions. Every weather model stated that 15-20 kt winds were to be in a certain place at a certain time...this was not the case but couldn't confirm till we were well on our way, If we had known the actual conditions we may have waited a day or two longer. Instead of 15-20kts there was barely 6-8kts.

We altered course a bit to have a look at Bell Rock Lighthouse. I remember being quite fascinated with this particular lighthouse many years ago, dunno if I saw or a movie or a documentary about it - but many previous attempts to build a lighthouse on this rock had all failed until the Stevenson's came along. A fascinating feat of engineering. Early attempts to warn sailors of this rock involved a ringing bell, hence the name...

Would have loved to get a bit closer, but we were already surrounded by crab and lobster pots at this point, even getting this close was a bit shady, you can see some of them in the picture, they were everywhere!

Without enough wind it became apparent that we were not going to arrive in Stonehaven until after dark, which is fine but in this part of the world there are lobster/Crab Pots with their respective buoys - and that's fine too, but only in the daytime - At night, in the dark, you just can't see those damn things.

I, personally, have seen at least 20 yachts being rescued by the lifeboat because of fouled propellers, all the result of these traps used by fishermen...so, we have a healthy respect for these things and keep an almost paranoid watch - even with that level of watch you can still miss them....as a rule we try to stick to deeper water to avoid them. The one pictured below isn't so bad - at least it has a flag! - most don't.

Before setting off I had got some advice from a local solo-sailor (I say local, but he's worldwide) and he had pointed out a few backup anchorages along the way if I needed them. So with the prospect of 'night sailing' and rolling the dice with the pots just was a risk I wasn't prepared to take for myself - or the crew, we checked the charts for a suitable place to drop hook for the night.

We eventually anchored in Lunan Bay, approx 20 nm South of Stonehaven which had been recommended to us back in Eyemouth. Although it was a handy option there was a southerly swell that made it uncomfortable with a lot of rolling throughout the night - It was still better than rolling the dice with the pots.

By Morning the Noth Sea swells forced us to leave, it was not nice, it may look nice but it wasn't.....plus the wind was only blowing about 3-4 kts, barely enough to keep the sails filled, plus a 1 kt current against us made slow-going and the swells were tremendous for such moderate conditions, deep pitching and rolling, a bit wild at times, but by Lunchtime we arrived in Stonehaven.

About an hour before arriving I had begun to wonder what I was going to do in once I got there, apart from locating a pet shop for treats for the crew....then as we arrived we spied this super-groovy looking ruined castle - at this stage, I know nothing about it, but its definitely getting checked out...for sure.

The crew took a bit little longer than usual to get on deck as there is quite a bit of activity on this pier, I think they were suspicious of the locals who were fishing off of the pier - I don't think they have seen that before.

We should be here for a day or so...we'll have to see what the weather is doing next before we decide on our next destination.

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