2. Scotland 2012
by Johan Kjellander 2012 - 2014
As we left Eyemouth and continued north we were soon in Scotland. We still had some time before we had to be in Inverness and meet up with Tove so we decided to make one more stop, not too far from Inverness. We rounded Peterhead and turned west into Moray Firth where we found Buckie, a fishing harbour one day from Inverness.
In Inverness we picked up Tove and our friends Berndt and Ica. We then went through the Caledonian Canal into the Hebrides with stops in Oban and Port Ellen before we continued to North Ireland.
Our first port of call in Scotland was Buckie in Moray Firth. A relatively large fishing port with no special facilities for yachts. No water, no electricity. The harbour office is in the small building to the right !
Four meters of tide and no floating pontoons. You need long lines for mooring.
The boat next to us was different from anything I had seen before. It turned out to be a shell fisher. The cages have metal fingers and are dragged along the bottom to pick up clams. I wonder what the bottom looks like after that ?
We decided to rent a car for a day and have a look at the surroundings. Close to Buckie lies Cawdor castle where Shakespeares hero Macbeth lived.
The true story however is that the real Macbeth never set his foot in Cowder castle. It is a beautiful castle though, with fantastic gardens. Well worth a visit.
The real King Macbeth lived in the castle of Inverness. That castle does not exist anymore but this new castle is built on the same spot.
In Inverness we rented a car to pick up Tove from the airport in Edinburgh.
On our way back to Inverness we just had to stop and have a look at the famous Falkirk wheel. First the boat enters the wheel. Then the wheel rotates and lifts it up 24 meters. It feels very nice to know that people exist who can invent a machine like that and also get it working.
Another fantastic man has built a 20 meter long model of Titanic in his garden. You can see it from the marina inside the first lock in the Caledonian canal.
His garden was full with funny things he built himself. Most younger people will recognize Wall-E.
It was now time to prepare Bird of Passage for the canal. Sailing friends from Sweden, Bernt and Ica, were arriving and we prepared their cabin.
Our own cabin got new bed linen, Scotish style.
We immediately put our new crew to work in the galley !
Later that evening we took a walk to the see the locks. The sign on the wall memorates that Caledonian canal has a twin canal in Sweden, the Göta canal. Thomas Telford who built the Caledonian also helped the Swedish engineer Baltzar von Platen to build Göta canal.
The next day we left Inverness and headed out on Loch Ness. Nice weather ahead of us but not behind !
The canal runs in parallell with the old river. Road signs show you the right way !
Urquhart castle, a well known view on Loch Ness, built in the 13:th century.
Waiting for the locks to open in Fort Augustus.
Some Scottish names are really difficult to pronounce.
These bushes with blue flowers grow everywhere along the canal. I think it's some kind of rhododendron.
Approaching the end of the canal, now we are going down again.
The Hebrides is a large archipelago west of Scotland. The northern part is the Outer Hebrides and the south part is the Inner Hebrides. We left the canal in Fort William and sailed past islands Mull, Jura and Islay in the south part of the Inner Hebrides.
Once out of the canal the skippers eye catches something terrible. What is it ? It's Corrywreckan ! A tidal phenomena with whirlpools and standing waves.
We stayed over night in Oban and continued the next day to Islay, the whiskey island.
Seven different brands of whiskey are produced on this little island. Laphroaig, Bowmore, Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Caol Ila, Bunnahabhain and Bruichladdich. According to Wikipedia a new distillery, Kilchoman was started 2005.
You start with barley, put it on a floor, water it to let it grow a couple of days. Then you dry it with smoke from a peat fire. After that you mix it with water and yeast for fermentation in large stainless containers.
After fermentation the liquid is distilled in traditional way, poured on wooden barrels and placed in large storage rooms.
After ten or more years it is time to taste the result. We went to the Laphroaig distillery to taste a dram (or two..). Here we are, Tove and me, after a very nice tour around the factory.
The next day it was time for a lobster party and why not combine the lobster with another Scottish speciality ? Potato chips with haggis and pepper ! Thank you Bernt and Ica.
Before we left Scotland we wanted to bye a souvenir, why not a Scottish cow, the Highland Cattle.
End of Scotland 2012