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Scrabster to Loch Eriboll 14 June 2007

12.30 and after a relaxing morning exploring Scrabster waiting for my departure time I am ready to cast off and head east, and by 13.00 I am heading round Holborn Head under sail. The wind is ENE F3, and with the sun shining I hope to have a pleasant day sailing . Its 40nm to Loch Eribol which should take me about eight hours. I prepare the flowers which I bought in Thurso making up a float from some polystyrene, with a weight hung below on a line to hold the arrangement steady. I feel guilty placing the flowers with the polystyrene in the sea (not very green) but the flowers are for my father in law Cyril Peacock who was in the navy and lost many friends during the second world war. Its a sobering thing to do when on your own at sea and I was glad I did it. I also shouted hello to the old man of Hoy for Cyril although I was a long way off.

 By 15.18 the wind has picked up to F3/4 and there is quite a swell from the starboard quarter, which is not uncomfortable but I will have to keep my eye on the sea state if the wind increases, and there are black clouds overhead. by 15.45 the wind speed is up to F5 and the swell is gaining in height too. the height of the waves seem larger than I would have expected with F5 winds so I have reefed the headsail and am heading for The Kyle of Tongue to get some shelter so I can reef the main safely before continuing on to Loch Eriboll. A sea eagle has just flown past the boat with a second one not far behind, they are magnificent but are soon gone. I am glad I bought the book of Scottish birds from the book shop at Eymouth, or I wouldn't have recognised them from the white tails.

 It was 19 20 before I reached the Kyle of Tongue, and although the wind strength was the same the sea was much higher, so I was glad of the calm water behind Eilean Nan Ron where I put two reefs in the main.

20.00 and I was rounding Whiten Head into Loch Eribol the wind was now F6/7 over 3kn of tide, the waves were as high as the spreaders, from astern, and breaking, sometimes onto the deck, but never into the cockpit. I had all on to keep Anita 'A' from being pushed round, which would not have been very nice. Anita seemed to be revelling in the massive seas, which assured me that all was well, and although I wouldn't rush to sail through this turmoil again, It was a very exhilarating experience for me, that I am very satisfied to have had. It's always better when you know that you survived!

20.30 and I am safely into the Loch, but the swell is coming straight in, so I will have to go to further into the Loch and end up at the head of the Loch, where Ianchor in the lea of the island, where the mud bottom will give good holding, which I will need in this wind.

21.35 and the anchor is down and holding. I have taken two compass bearings to check for drag but I am confident I will have no further problems with the anchor. The wind is down to F4 behind the island and the Loch is fairly calm here. Time for some dinner I think. Not feeling too hungry I heat a tin of Irish stew, with added fresh vegetables, and a bread roll, and a tin of rice for pudding, which I eat in the cockpit while admiring the fabulous scenery.




  Links. Loch Eriboll