|Seagull Feeding Frenzy|
|These mackerel are lot larger than their southern cousins|
|Lossiemouth entrance is a tight squeeze|
|Final stages of AIS installation|
The next morning we left early, the grotty neighbours up to watch over their craft as we departed without incident. They did have the graciousness to congratulate us on our boat handling and wish us fair winds so perhaps they weren't so bad after all but it was an extraordinary attitude to have and one we hope we won't come across again. Most yachties are pretty easy going and let a skipper handle his own boat without comment.
|Oil rig underway|
We watched the rain move down the mountains ahead and onto the water coming towards us with the sky shades of darkening grey as we made our way through the dogleg in the Firth at Fort George and beyond into the much shallower waters which mark the approaches to the bridge. We both donned oilies in preparation. When the rain hit us it was really heavy but only a slight breeze. Underneath our keel there was now only four or five metres compared to the 30 to 70 there had been recently. Ahead we spotted a familiar boat, the very yellow Dutch aluminium craft we'd last seen heading round into The Wash off Cromer!
|Fort George on the south bank|
|Chanory Lighthouse on the north bank|
|Rain approaching from Kessock Bridge|
|The sun is still shining back there!|
|Under the bridge (rain drops on the lens)|
|In the sealock|
|Looking back - where's the water gone?|
|Yellow boat entering the lock|
The others are all moving on on Sunday eager to see more of this amazing canal. Fiddlers Green is aiming to be back in Essex by August having completed their canal transit and circumnavigated the rest of Scotland, Wales and England so doesn't have time to linger. We though want to complete a few more boat jobs so will be taking advantage of the large chandlery just along the canal and it would be great to have time to explore Inverness a bit although the weather forecast is not encouraging. We've heard from Seahawk's crew that there is an amazing secondhand bookshop to explore and Kevin needs to wait for the Post Office to open on Monday morning.
So we've five days to cruise Loch Ness and the rest of the Caledonian, 50 nautical miles or 60 statute miles of mountains and lochs (and locks) before exiting at Corpach on the west coast of Scotland. Two locks completed just 27 to go plus a few swing bridges to negotiate. Ten miles a day sounds just what the doctor ordered after the headlong passage to this part of the world, it will be nice to just slow down.
Whitehills - Lossiemouth 22 nautical miles logged
Lossiemouth - Inverness 37.4nm logged 593 nm total