Friday, 5 June 2009

'JLS I presume'

There was more rain during the night and we awoke early to temperature at 4 deg. A far cry from Mondays heatwave. The only upside we could see was that it was too cold for the midgees to make an appearance.

We were on the water by 7.30am in order to make the best of the tide and conscious that the wind was due to pick up later in the day.

The wind as we pulled out of the bay was N F3-4 with a modest swell running. Much of the time the wind was over our right shoulder and if anything was helping our progress, but at one or two of the headlands it was turned against us by the terrain and we had to work that bit harder.

Out to the East of us we could see the platforms of the Beatrice field and a number of offshore wind turbines.

The coast from Dunbeath down to Helmsdale comprised towering red cliffs, more caves and one or two stacks and arches. Nowhere near as grand as the previous section but interesting all the same. The sea state was generally slight to moderate but kicked up a bit at the headlands.

There were also more sea birds with the familiar Fulmars as inquisitive as ever. Their displays of flying skill never cease to amaze banking hard across the surface of the water with their wing tip only inches from disaster. As if to prove a point one, perhaps a budding Jonothan Livingstone Gull, brought himself neatly to a stall in front of us before setting himself down, eyed us up, effected a vertical take off by simply opening his wings, held the hover with his feet just touching the sea before banking hard right and away. He seemed to say "Impressed? So you should be". We were.

From Helmsdale onwards the coast line changed to a flatter sandy profile while the hills rose hidher behind. By now the wind had picked up to F4-5 with the squalls coming through more frequently and still it was bitterly cold for June. With the wind pressing hard at our backs we made rapid and andrenalin filled progress down the coast. We stopped briefly for lunch at Lothbeg Point and by the time we put back on the wind was a steady F5-6. We were hurtled down the coast, at times having to fight hard to maintain a firm grip on the blades. By 2pm we had reached Brora and decided to call it a day at that before conditions worsened.

Distance covered today: 36km
Total distance covered: 503km
Midgee ferrocity: you have to be kidding!

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