Saturday, 21 April 2018


Farewell to Ipswich. Its been a great spot to hang out for a couple of very wintery months. The snow gave way to rain and cold wind for several weeks. An occasional glimpse of the sun was a welcome indication that spring was around the corner. Work aboard progressed with the new Northern Lights 5kva genset being inserted into the tiny space allocated under the binnacle, and behind the main engine, thus replacing the retiring Mase3.5. 
We took a train to London to visit good friends Ray and Jeananne, stayed in their lovely home and toured a few of the sites. Not least was Greenwich, a sight of significance for sailors. Painted between 1707 and 1726, the Painted Hall ceiling at the Old Royal Naval College was rigged with scaffold and we were able to take an up-close tour of this amazing painting, the largest in Britain

Easter came and went and provided plenty of opportunities for farewell dinners and final goodbyes to all our friends. Its the yin and yang of cruising. You meet so many lovely people but you have to say goodbye.

Kris, James Tomlinson Talisker l, Kara Dean and John Pennington, Sentijn, Maree Jackson Red Roo. David.

On Friday the 13th of April we motored down the River Orwell to the mouth and anchored near Felixstowe in preparation for departure north on the flood tide on Saturday morning. Our first leg was from Felixstowe to Scarborough 180 miles. Arriving in Scarborough in very foggy conditions we learned that winter had taken its toll here. Many docks had been destroyed in winter storms and we had to tie alongside an old fishing boat. This inconvenience was countered by the advantage of being able to purchase a 30kg bag of scallops from a fisherman. He wasn't keen until he realized we were on "that Australian yacht", then he was very friendly. 

Taipan in Scarborough in a very dense fog.

David making off with the bag of scallops!

The next leg was 66nm north to Blyth, hugging the coast to get the best views in the fabulous sunshine. Blyth was a new port to us and a very easy entrance. It was however not open for the season, so there were no facilities to use. The dock was an easy side tie on the visitor's pontoon and as the weather was closing in we ended up staying for 2 nights. David cleaned the massive scallop haul which kept him busy for about 3 hours.

Bamburgh Castle

35nm to Holy Island was a short day, once again we traveled in close, once again passing Bamburgh Castle and Farne Islands and we enjoyed the spectacular countryside emerging in its spring colors. 

Lindesfarne Priory. Medieval Monastery ruin on Holy Island.
Holy Island is a great anchorage with a well-marked entrance. We entered towards low water against a little current. without incident. A late afternoon dingy trip round to the fishing dock where we left the dingy and walked the beautiful little streets to the old Abby ruins. Lindisfarne Castle is still shrouded in scaffold so we didn't go. One can only "do" so many castles!

Holy Island Boathouses.

Lindisfarne castle and Limekilns

20th of April and we set off for Arbroath, one of our favorite stops on the coast. The entrance can be tricky as there is a cill on the marina and their gates only open for certain times of the tide. There is a good website with all the times. With this in mind, we had chosen our passage along the coast to coincide with high tides in the morning and evening, thus making it easier to expect to make entrances and departures like this in daylight. The entrance at Arbroath is well marked and has great leads, but should not to be taken lightly. It is an impossible entrance in strong easterly or southeasterly weather.  Our entrance was dead calm and we slid quietly into the hammerhead and tied up for a night. They have the best rates on the coast too.


More dodgy weather was forecast so we decided to make haste towards Inverness to meet good old cruising buddies Jon and Pam Choat aka TWEED in Inverness at the northern end of the Caledonian Canal. A relatively benign but slow overnight passages saw us rounding Peterhead on dusk and then it was slow progress to windward against the current for 6 hours. Dawn was stunning and the day turned clear and sunny with very little wind. nevertheless, we made it to the Sea Lock at Muirtown with just minutes to spare and we had arrived.

New Slains Castle south of Peterhead. Scotland

Chanonary Point Lighthouse on the Moray Firth Scotland. 1846
Next its the Caledonian Canal.

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