Whitehills

 

The  berth on the end of the hammerhead rocked us gently through the night (although still no bedtime stories) and Thursday dawned bright and fresh. We had planned a leisurely breakfast before putting Heydays into the dry dock, but Bertie recommends us going aground sooner rather than later as the tide was ‘dull’. We thought that was a bit harsh until we realised that dull is a local word for close to neaps. We managed to get Heydays in position without any of the drama of the previous afternoon and hopefully improved our reputation in Bertie’s eyes at least. However a passing local caught us in the classic act of throwing a line successfully to the boat…only for the bitter end to also follow it!

While we wait for the ‘dull’ tide to recede, we take a walk round town and get seduced by the smoked haddock and cheese bradies (pasties if you’re Cornish) in Downies fish shop, which we have for lunch back on the boat.

The marina loan us the power washer and it takes less than an hour to have Heydays with a clean bottom. The fouling up here is certainly less than we have found in warmer waters. It is too cold to paint the antifoul at the moment and we will leave it for a warmer month. The rest of the afternoon is spent on a walk around Boyndie Bay almost to Banff. The light up here is stunning with big skies and sharp contrasts just demanding photos.

We watch a pair of cormorants drying off on a rock and slightly unkindly wait for a breaker to knock one off…oddly they see them coming!

Bertie fills us in on the local industry which is inevitably fish, but small harbours like Whitehills, which used to be able to sustain themselves and fish stocks by using boats for line fishing and seine netting, have seen their livelihoods destroyed by modern Trawlers landing 1000 tonnes at a time. Most of the local boats are now part-time only and the crews have other jobs…mostly servicing the rigs.

The log fire in the Seafield arms tempts us in once more but we refrain from too much booze as we think about the vertical and slippery iron ladder down the side of the dock to get back on Heydays. The chippy does a starter of kedgeree and rather unwisely we have a bowl each before our regular haddock chips and mushy peas. The waitress is slightly amused as we refuse syrup pudding to follow.

Heydays refloats at 8 and we are back on our berth with a glass of wine by 9.30.

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