We left Wick on Friday and made around the corner into Moray Firth. The next day we were facing a decision to cross or not to cross, or more precisely, where to cross. Plan for Saturday morning was to wake up at six, see what’s happening outside, pack as fast as we can and possibly decide to cross from Dunbeath towards Lossiemouth.
Well, already the first part of the plan failed. Michal couldn’t get up moving the alarm to later and later. So we were ready to launch at ten. By that time the fog settled and rain started, so not good crossing conditions. We started to follow the coast. We didn’t feel like crossing anyway.
However the fog lifted soon and we could clearly see the other side of Moray Firth. And so we started thinking, if we were to continue with our original plan, go to Helmsdale and cross from there, we would have to paddle everything back. Suddenly we felt like crossing, besides, the conditions seemed good, too.
We stopped at the next possible place. Had lunch, prepared data into GPS and left. It was just after one o’clock, estimated time for crossing was nine. Little bit late to land, but nothing we have not done before.
The wind started an hour into the crossing, little bit first, yet soon, it picked up and became strong side wind with fairly big waves. We carried on. After about four hours and 10 NM into the crossing we stopped to reaccess our situation. We slowed down, so now our estimated time went from five to eight hours. Quite late. Also the conditions were making it very tiring crossing. And for some reason my layer under dry cag was completely wet with no chance to change. So we decided not to continue. But we’re not very keen to paddle back either.
There was one more option of finding that Tarbat Point. The one we were heading to originally, but dismissed. Only we didn’t know we’re it was. Well, we knew roughly were it was on the map, but road maps are not great for open sea navigation; we couldn’t see it, and no, we didn’t have it in GPS. Sometimes it happens that you may think if something, dismiss it as very unlikely and regret it hugely afterwards. Before we left towards Lossiemouth, there wasn’t a reason to need Tarbat Point. Suddenly open the midlife of Moray Firth there was. We turned, following estimated bearing where we thought it may be, and decided to go for a hour, to see if we can see in open sea. Our speed thanks to the now tailwind increased to four knots.
Yes, we did see it and yes it was exactly where Michal estimated it to be.
So Lossiemouth had to wait.
Today we left to cross towards Bourg Head. The crossing was uneventful from paddling point of view, but eventful otherwise. My mind just wasn’t up to it. And so the tempers flared and emotions were very high. I decided that that was it, and in Hopeman, the place we were actually approaching I am done. Finish. No more paddling. I was going home ( where ever that may be at he moment) and leaving for greener pastures.
We landed in Hopeman and while having coffee we checked comments on our blog. And there was this one from Ann:
“I’m not sure my husband and I would look such a happy couple if we’d kayaked half way round Britain so fantastic, You look a picture of harmony. I’m sure it’s not always thus!!”
Well, what can I say. What a coincidence. We finished coffee, got back into boats and saw this sign:
I was so upset that someone dares to call my maximum speed Dead Slow, that I forgot about finishing today. We continued all the way to Portgordon. Which ended to be nice, calm, almost harmonious paddle.