Monday, 19 July 2010
Off again today, making further way towards Inverness and the entrance to the Caledonian Canal. This goes down the Great Glen, via Loch Ness, coming out on the west coast of Scotland near Oban.
The winds were very light, so we motor-sailed to Inverness, passing many evocatively named places along the way: Portknockie, Lossiemouth, Findhorn, Munlochy...
There were many seabirds along the coast, and some off-shore in large gatherings, which we assume indicated shoals of fish below the surface. I wanted very much to see seals and dolphins on the way, but it took until the entrance to Inverness Firth before we saw any.
As we were motor-sailing, I took the opportunity to do my party piece - bake fresh bread on board. While the bread rolls were rising, I also made half a dozen blueberry muffins to have with a drink of hot chocolate during the passage.
The approach to the Caledonian Canal is very scenic. While the eastern side of the Firth is more developed, the western side is more mountainous, with small villages on the shoreline, backed by steeply wooded hillsides. It could very easily be an alpine lakeside.
At Inverness itself we came under the spectacular Kessock Bridge. Because we came through at the top of the tide, it was quite easy; but on the ebb spring tides, and after heavy rains, the combination of tidalflow plus the rivers that feed this area can give a flow of over 6 knots under the bridge.
So we are moored up at the Clachnaharry sea lock, waiting for it to open at 8am tomorrow morning. We then have 8 days to traverse the length of the Canal. No tidal calculations for 8 days!
So far we have passed both the most easterly and most northerly points in our journey. South and west await.
57 29.446' N 04 15.818' W 533 miles done, just under 1/3 of the way.