7th June.  We left Arbroath just after 7am, waving goodbye to Jonathan’s uncle Emil as we turned through the lock gates.  As we motored out, avoiding the many pot buoys strewn across the surface of the sea, a couple of dolphins played under our bow.  The sun shone and the wind was gentle as we headed north along the coast with our big sail up. Little villages with harbours nestle in the dips between high red sandstone cliffs, and we could see the railway line which winds its way along the coast with viaducts crossing the valleys.  

Coastline north of Arbroath

More dolphins appeared, leaping out of the water a couple of hundred metres from the boat. We had human company too – we were called on the VHF radio by yacht Shearwater who were also leaving Arbroath heading north. It was the first time in our entire journey we’ve had company – most of our voyage so far we’ve seen only commercial traffic and the occasional yacht going a different way. It turned out Shearwater are also circumnavigating. 

Yacht Shearwater approaching Peterhead

Visibility was good and in the far distance we could see the blades of wind turbines apparently rising from the sea; they were slightly over the horizon. As we got closer the turbines got taller!  They were the first sign of the industrial landscape which is Aberdeen. In contrast to the cliffs and villages, Aberdeen has high rise buildings, and ships and helicopters coming and going. It is possible but not generally advised for yachts to visit Aberdeen – we read of one that had to queue for 2 hours to depart. We passed by at least 3 miles away, outside the Aberdeen port authority area (so no need to ask for permission to cross), and continued on towards Peterhead.  

Aberdeen

The tide had turned against us, which is always hard at the end of a long day, but the wind increased and we sailed at a good speed the last few miles into Peterhead harbour.  The harbour is huge, with peculiarly shaped ships moored up. In one corner of the harbour is a sheltered marina and we moored up, ready for showers and a meal.  

The town appears predominantly grey, with the former prison building looming above the marina, so it’s not a pretty place, but the marina manager was welcoming and the marina is peaceful.  Shearwater (a friendly and experienced sailing couple) invited us onto their boat for a drink after we had all showered and eaten, so the evening ended sociably.

  • Distance: 75 NM. Sailed 5 hours, motorsailed 6 hours
  • Wind: NE 0-3