Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Burghead rendezvous

It was already 1300 by the time we made it into the Inverness Firth and we wanted to push on as far as possible, but the east wind determined that wouldn't be very far at all. Most of the harbours on the Moray coast are tidally restricted and the only good option seemed Burghead, a small fishing port where, according to our pilot book, 'a vessel drawing 1.5m should [our italics] be able to enter at low water springs'. Of course, it was low water springs when we arrived and we can report that a vessel drawing 1.4m can't quite enter at LWS. We stranded on the sand just in the harbour entrance for five minutes before the tide lifted us off.

Burghead is quite a small harbour and still a good size active fishing fleet. We first of all rafted up against a squid boat but were told by a friendly fisherman that it was going out later that night so we shifted to the inner part of the harbour, where Jim executed an impressive three-point turn and rafted up against the only other yacht.

Ken then joined us with his dog Kelly and we can say that it's easier to get a hound aboard at high water than to get it off the boat, across two other boats and three metres up a ladder on the harbour wall at low water the next morning.

We hadn't heard of Burghead before, but it's in Brodie country - the castle is quite nearby - so it seemed a good choice. It turned out to have a Pictish fort and well ("Access at all reasonable hours"), a fine coastal walk and beach and we were sorry to leave, especially since it was the day of the local fete. We also checked out one of the local pubs, which had only slightly less than five dogs in it (dog ownership seemed to be mandatory in town) and Ken and Jim made full use of the sailor's rest room, which came complete with stereo and pool table!

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