Sunday, 7 June 2009

the Moray Firth

After a comfortable nights kip on John's lawn we were woken at 4.30am by a flock of crows who had gathered on the beach and were excitedly discussing whatever it was that the tide had brought in. The noise was horrendous and we dozed fitfully after that before accepting the inevitable and got up.

We were on the water by 8.30am heading south. The wind was NE F3 and there was still a swell running, albeit less than yesterday. Best of all the sun was shining and would continue to do so for the rest of the day.

The trip down the coast to Balintore was very pleasant with sandstone bluffs rising gently up from the coast. The only real issue with them was that their base was defended by a continous reef which made landing impossible other than at the obvious harbours. For us the next chance came at Balintore where we hauled out for a rest in the sunshine.

South of Balintore the geology changed and the cliffs got larger but also greener, with their flanks being covered in ivy, gorse, decidious bushes and even small trees. Eventually they lead to the stacks of North Sutor at the mouth of the Cromarty Firth and another sea bird colony.

As we crossed the entrance to the Firth we could see a number of mothballed rigs as well as the Nigg fabrication yard all waiting for the price of oil to rise again.

On reaching the Black Isle the geology changed again and the bluffs got greener in stark contrast to those we had passed further North.

We hauled out at Eathie for another break and saw other paddlers for the first time in two weeks.

Back on the water we headed down to Rosemarkie and then around Chanonry Point against the tide to get to the campsite at Fortrose. By now the wind had picked up to F4 and swung easterly making the trip round the point a little more entertaining.

All in all a pleasant days paddle down a very pretty section of coast.

Distance covered today: 37km
Total distance covered: 565km
Midgee ferrocity: nil.

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