“Morning twilight at 47 degrees and 44 minutes North. Time: 0300
Shortly after this was taken a school of dolphins came to play in the moonlight :-)” Paul, aboard Kingfisher
What a stunning image to inspire those of us who have not yet had the experience of sailing at this hour or in those waters. Memories of such images will last a lifetime for our crew members.
However, our two crews have probably seen enough coastal monuments to last them a lifetime this week, as Aberdeenshire has 300 castles ( though not all coastal perhaps) – it also has 8 distilleries, 55 golf courses 5 ski resorts!
The traditional fishing village of Whitehills, which lies some two miles west of Banff and four miles east of Portsoy, provided a safe haven to rest up in on Thursday night. Surrounding a rocky bay immediately to the west of Knock Head, Whitehills enjoys a relatively sheltered spot on this sometimes wild and unforgiving north Aberdeenshire coast. As a result, a fishing village was well established here by the 1700s. Whitehills is now a very active leisure port, though you will still see fishing boats here, and the fish market still stands on the harbourside.
By the late 1800s the latter was home to the very large Banff Distillery, located near the mouth of the Burn of Boyndie and producing 200,000 gallons of malt whisky each year. Whitehills is also associated with RAF Banff, which was based at Boyndie Airfield. It opened in 1943, initially as a training base. From September 1944, it became home to the RAF Banff Strike Wing, flying Beaufighters and Mosquitos to attack enemy surface vessels and U-boats in the North Sea and and targets along the Norwegian coastline. A memorial alongside the A98 is dedicated to the 80 airmen killed in flying operations from here during the last nine months of the war. The airfield closed in 1946 and later saw use as a short-lived flying club. It is now home to the Boyndie Wind Farm.
An early start from Whitehills brought our bold teams to Inverness, known as the ‘Highland Capital’. This city has managed to retain the market town feel to it, dating back to its early development. Today tourism is a very important part of the economy. Inverness is one of the smallest cities in Scotland with some 55,000 people but is growing fast due to Inverness airport and its location in the Highlands. Inverness is situated on Scotland’s northeast coast, where the River Ness meets the Moray Firth and is the cultural capital of the Scottish Highlands. Its Old Town features 19th-century Inverness Cathedral, the mostly 18th-century Old High Church and an indoor Victorian Market selling food, clothing and crafts.
As crew members change for leg 3 over the weekend, some will reluctantly head home to the day job, but with the thrill of the adventure of the past week still coursing through their veins.
The smile says it all as Night Song arrives at Inverness to complete leg 2 of the Round Britain 2017.
“She deserves a well-earned rest before embarking on leg 3 through the Caledonian Canal. Our thanks go to the fantastic members at the Royal Northumberland Yacht Club for all their support in helping us keep this show on the road after our unscheduled pit stop in Blyth. Special thanks also to Andrew Wilson at Tides Marine for shipping the parts out to us so promptly which enabled us to keep to our schedule, and what’s more providing this service completely free of charge to help support the Charity.
Next week’s leg takes our teams through the magnificent, Caledonian Canal, with spectacular scenery, locks and loughs.
Anyone interested in taking part in a Sail for Macmillan should contact Colin and Jan of Premier Sailing, who will be happy to share more details and if you wish you may express an interest in taking part in 2018, without obligation.
Donations to support the cause may be given to the Just Giving page