September 8 (Scotland)

Long time since last posting, but much happened- and Scottish internet connects are difficult!

I travelled across the Caledonian Canal which follows the Great Glen- a geological rift valley, filled with very narrow, long and very deep lakes. The start is at Fort William.

Ben Nevis, the highest point in the UK

The canal uses these deep lakes, connecting them with canal segments, and locks. The canal was quite busy with two boat rental companies that cater to families and groups. Being August, lots of families taking advantage of school holidays. Many very unfamiliar with boating (and no license nor training required!), means that there is lots of drama as these people navigate along the canals and through the locks!

There are also many gongoozlers (spectators) along the lock flights, and they are also much amused with the attempts of people to use the locks. Locks in Scotland are all manned and operated by canal staff, so very different than England.

Loch Ness, in the Great Glen, as part of the Caledonian Canal

a Scottish castle ruin, one of hundreds seen along the waterways- both inland (Loch Ness) and coastal

The weather wasn’t very summer-ish, so lots of rain, cool temperatures and windy days.

Fort George, guarding the entrance to Moray Firth and access to Inverness

I then made my way to Inverness at the end of the canal, and picked up a couple of very kind people (Chris and Nick Seager) who agreed to cruise along the Moray Firth with me.

still an active military base

Despite unsettled, and rather rough weather,we made our way to Buckie harbour, where we overnighted in a commercial dock, between a service platform, and a guard ship. Quite intimidating for a little boat like this one!

an amazing Fresnel lens used in lighthouses, to intensify a gas light to allow visibility to 20 miles

the oldest Scottish lighthouse at Fraserburgh: now the site of the Scottish Lighthouse museum. An amazing place, with the accumulators for the foghorn at the base

another amazing fresnel lens. They say on a lake of liquid mercury to allow easy rotation. This one is double flash.

the foghorn at Fraserburgh, now disused (as are all foghorns in the UK). I REALLY wanted to hear it honk!

the needle eye, a natural arch along the coast

Then, on to Whitehills, with a lovely little harbour just west of Banff. We toured around Banff, and has a good day there. Then, on around the corner at Fraserborough, to Peterhead, where Chris and Nick left me to return to the sunny south.

I was there for a few days, trying to identify cooling issues with the boat, to no avail. I gingerly made my way south to Stonehaven, where I enjoyed being immersed in their harbour festival. A small village party on the harbout front, with raft races, a sea cadet demonstration on their dinghies, and sandcastle building. Arbroath was next, with (finally!) a boatyard to assist with the issues. Steve also joined me there, and we enjoyed Arbroath smokies (smoked haddock) while fixing the cooling issues.

Overnight in Dunbar (on the south of the Firth of Forth), after a good day from Arbroath. My first mooring in a shallow harbour where I was resting on the sandy bottom at low tide. Then, on to Eyemouth, where we are awaiting tides, weather, and opening times, to continue south. My last Scottish harbour.

About Ed Mortimer

I'm a retired school teacher, now living on my narrowboat in Britain. I'm touring as much of the canal and river system as I can. This blog describes what I do and where I've been
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