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1,000 miles in a Solway Dory sailing canoe…

On Tuesday this week I decided to call a halt to my voyage at Oban. My 3 month sabbatical ends soon. I could do with a bit of R&R time before returning to work and Katherine will be joining me at Tighnabruaich tomorrow. I had hoped to sail from Oban to Tighnabruaich but forecasts of [...]

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Milton Haven to Stonehaven…

Stonehaven Harbour

The small campsite at Milton Haven was a perfect place to camp with the boat on the beach nearby. Unfortunately, I managed to upset the owner who sped towards us on his quad bike, like a four wheeled dour version of Mr McHenry from the Magic Roundabout, to inform us I’d pitched a tent next [...]

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Arbroath to Milton Haven…

After meeting up with me as I sailed up the coast from Berwick to Arbroath, Katherine was due to depart on Wednesday 1st August. Apart from meaning we were able to be together after much time apart, having Katherine to provide ‘shore support’ and follow me round the coast with the camper van had been [...]

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Crail to Arbroath

Leaving Crail

  Light winds were forecast for Tuesday 31st July but the direction was favourable for a 20 nautical mile passage round Fife Ness and across the Firth of Tay to Arbroath. Katherine and I had spent a great evening in a small hotel in Crail with fantastic views over the Firth of Forth and of [...]

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Across the Forth – Take Two!

Across the Forth – Take Two!

My retreat to Dunbar after finding the sea and wind conditions too strong for a safe crossing was frustrating, but it did mean Katherine and I would be able to catch up with my cousin Sarah, her 3 children and also with my uncle, John. The strong winds continued through Saturday and Sunday, but the [...]

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Firth of Forth, Take I: out to Bass Rock…

Firth of Forth, Take I: out to Bass Rock…

Strong south westerly winds detained me in Dunbar on Thursday 26th July. Many whitecaps, brightly lit in the sunshine were scattered over the Firth of Forth. XCWeather forecast Force 4-5 winds, gusting to F6. The risk of that turning into a Force 6 that gusting F7 meant staying ashore. However, the harbour at Dunbar has [...]

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Berwick to Dunbar…

Sailing With Steve at Berwick

I was fortunate to have arrived at the sailing club on the weekend of the annual Coquet Shorebase Trust’s three day visit to Berwick Sailing Club. The trust is a community based watersports centre offering sailing, canoeing and kayaking for all. Berwick Sailing Club has become a fixture in their annual calendar and provides an [...]

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Lindisfarne to Berwick in a Strong Wind…

Steve and Northern Soul

I slept well on the yacht Northern Soul. In the morning, enjoying the feeling of being dry and warm, I lay in the forward cabin thinking about the day ahead whilst halyards clanked against the mast. I was grateful for Steve’s kind offer of shelter on his yacht Northern Soul, without which I would have [...]

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Amble to Lindisfarne…

Stacey and the Ribs

Saturday dawned sunny with a promise of a real summer day. I took a breakfast of cereal and toast alone at the B&B, before anyone else was about, and departed for Coquet Yacht Club, carrying two drybags over my shoulder. After loading up and rigging the boat in the sun I pushed off. A light [...]

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Paused at Amble…

Craster & North Sea Surf

Having just reached Scotland, and looking back with a little distance of time and space between, it seems my time in Amble was a low point in my journey around the coast. I knew that long sails, challenging conditions, getting ashore and doing this solo* would be physically and mentally arduous but I didn’t reckon [...]

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North Shields to Amble

Druridge Bay

I usually sleep well on boats, so on Monday morning I awoke on Ed’s yacht Samphire feeling refreshed. Katherine and Ed had sent details of local physiotherapists. A few phone calls later and I’d arranged an appointment with Swiss Physio in Tyneside for 12.15. Lately, increasing knee pain (and some hip pain) has caused me [...]

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Progress Review and Re-assessment…

As the half way point in time approaches I’m nearing one third of the distance from Southampton, around Britain via the Caledonian Canal across the Highlands of Scotland, and back to Southampton. Given what’s promising to be the worst summer for a hundred years or more, I’m not dissatisfied with progress, but the delays due [...]

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Hartlepool to the Tyne…

Tees and Hartlepool Yacht Club

Newspapers this morning talked of a normal summer resuming, gradually. Let’s hope so. This strange summer has seems more like winter at times and my slow progress northward in the face of frequent northerly and easterly winds had begun to become dispiriting at times. Determined to lift my mood and experience a little of Hartlepool [...]

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Runswick Bay to Hartlepool…

Keith and I had sailed into Runswick bay, the day before. Our route had taken us down the middle of the small bay, which is surrounded by higher rolling pasture land on all sides. We’d carefully steered a path between the headlands either side of the bay, where the large swells (innocuous at sea) were [...]

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Scarborough and Fair Winds to Runswick Bay…

Scarborough Breakfast

Sunlight streamed in through the windows. Keith Morris and I were looking out over Scarborough harbour. A full English breakfast needed eating downstairs in the Ivy House Café… This was followed by a short walk over the road to retrieve the sailing canoes from the fairground. Sadly, it’s no longer possible to transport sailing canoes [...]

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Amid big waves and fairground dodgems…

Scarborough Fair

Keith and I had hoped to set out for Whitby on Tuesday, but waves were still crashing over the line of rocks (called the Brigg) at the north end of the bay. The surfers website, Magic Seaweed was still predicting five foot high waves. Sheltered from the continuing rain in Keith’s camper van, I brought [...]

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Retreat

Filey Sailing Club

I like the convention, or maybe superstition, of titling a yacht log entry about a destination with ‘Towards’. It conveys a sense of aspiration rather than certainty and, for the superstitious, avoids tempting fate. This must have been all the more real in the days of sailing ships without engines and with very limited ability [...]

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Around Flamborough Head and on to Filey…

Flamborough Head

More fog meant Friday was another day ashore. Jim and David returned me to The Manor House before returning to London, and I occupied myself with writing in a beautiful book lined study with an open fire. Such is the peculiarity of this weather that it did not seem at all strange to be tucked [...]

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Fog off Flamborough…

In Fog 30M from Flamborough Head

After the rigours of the previous three days I couldn’t resist a lazy morning relaxing in the sun with coffee, catching up on emails and blogging. I’d slept comfortably upstairs in the clubhouse on a large soft sofa. The large windows looked out over the bay and in the distance I could see Flamborough Head, [...]

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Saltfleet Haven to Bridlington

Saltfleet Haven to Bridlington

For some reason I didn’t sleep well. I was aware of the pattering of rain on the tent from time to time as I awoke from time to time and  tried to get comfortable in my sleeping bag on a Thermarest inflatable matt. When I crept out of the tent next to the River Eau, [...]

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