After we visited Wick, we sailed further south on the on the Northeast coast of Scotland. It’s a rough coast, with not many harbours, so after 9 hours of sailing we headed for the fisherharbor of Helmsdale. It was a small harbor with only 2 jetties and lots of fisherboats, but there was a nice spot between the fisherboats where we could park our catamaran. The fishers where busy cleaning the catch of the day, putting king crabs into green and yellow cradles. We walked towards them for a chat and one of them said: ‘I thought, why is Abramovich visiting us with his yacht?’ We had to giggle, our boat is not small, but hardly a 150 meter superyacht! We had 2 nice days at the harbor and we want to thank John and Andrew for all the nice chats we had about sailing and live an board!
Our next stop was Inverness, we have been here for 5 days, because the weatherforcast announced a 2 day storm on the British coast coming from the North Sea (9 Beaufort) and the harbour of Invernesss is very sheltered. It was also a perfect base for sightseeing, because it is called the heart of the Scottish Highlands! We visited the entrance of the Caledonian Cannel, it is closed for the winter, but it’s a famous channel for boats who want to sail from the east coast to the west coast of Scotland. It is 100 kilometers and has 10 swingbridges and 29 locks, because of the tide differences. At the entrance of the canal, we saw 4 locks in a row, looking like stairs! Interesting to do that with your boat: must feel like climbing up a hill.
We also took some time to do small repairs on the boat and to visit marine shops to buy spare parts. Since the first day we arrived in the UK, the 5th of November, we have seen Christmas decorations: lights in the shops and houses and Christmas trees. One of the marine shops made a special Christmas-tree out of fishing net and a radarreflector on top of the tree!
Loch Ness is 1 hour from Inverness! On the day we wanted to visit the famous lake, it started to snow in Scotland, so we cycled ‘the Nessie Trail” to Loch Ness through a beautiful scenery of white hills with farmhouses and through woods covered in snow.
Loch Ness was a surprise to us: we never expected it to be so large: 36 km long. It’s also deep: 226 meters. Since we have been in the UK we sailed through maximum 40 tot 50 meter deep water. Loch Ness is surrounded by the by the Scottish Highlands and we can see how it got its reputation of being a mysterious area: once fog or clouds appear between the mountains above the lake, the lake reflects all kinds of figures. At the border of the lake lives Steve Feltham in his caravan, he is called the Nessiehunter, because since 1991 he has tried to make pictures of the famous Loch Ness Monster. Next to Loch Ness, we visited a lovely pub (‘we have monster views’) and drank some hot chocoa with marshmellows and whipped cream (‘The whole works’ as the cheerful waiter called it). On the menu you could also order a Monster Burger 😉. We cycled back through the beautiful surroundings, back to the harbor of Inverness.