We’re not going to be going anywhere for the next couple of days as the sea forecast isn’t favourable, hopefully we’ll be able to move on by Wednesday but it’s not looking certain by any means. We are both very grateful that we are not ‘stuck’ in Loch Eriboll and at least have the main components of western civilisation here, namely a pub and a shop plus electricity and water on the pontoon.
The other good news is that this is the first berthing arrangement that offers BOGOF i.e. buy one get one free!! I confidently book for two nights with the next two nights gratis, but it gets even better, the free nights are transferable to the next stop down the track, Lochinver which unsurprisingly is in Loch Inver. The Highlands Council owned pontoons in various locations offer this deal to encourage visits and a bit of a stay to enjoy the local facilities.
The electric scooters properly come into their own here, backwards and forwards for supplies, a bit of shopping (we needed a toaster) and of course the pub/restaurant. Polite note to Hotel Kinlochbervie, (the pub/restaurant) please try to accommodate a couple of extra bar meals if your restaurant is fully booked.
On our second day in KInlochbervie a solo sailor in a 40ft sailing boat, that we had met in Wick, turned up. He asked if we had gone through the Pentland Firth. We confirmed that we had and that it had been trouble free. The same Harbour Master that had approved our passage plan had recommended to this guy to miss it by going over to Stromness in the Orkneys and round the top of Scotland from there. This he did. He wasn’t best pleased to hear of our trouble free passage however, he was a local boater from Lossiemouth and had always wanted to go through the Pentland Firth but had always in the end gone via Stromness. Perhaps the contrary advice was entirely to do with our 20 knot capability versus a typical five knot sailing speed over ground. Either way it put into perspective our success at the first attempt and that we have in the words of Edith Piaf ‘ je ne regret rien’ .
On our third and last night in Kinlochbervie we ate on board but were told by the bar staff to come up anyway as The Trooters were playing.The Trooters are a Scottish Ceilidh Band consisting of a fiddle player, pianist and guitarist and they were brilliant. They were conducting their annual summer tour of the highlands. The name derives from their love of trout fishing or ‘troots’ hence the name The Trooters.
The following morning we filled up with diesel (cheapest yet) at high tide, as there was the same type of ladder arrangement as Scrabster, but where the very friendly chandlery staff said they would dispense the fuel through the same type of huge hose designed for big trawlers.
We set off with a moderate wind on the nose and a slight to moderate sea state, it was only 25 miles to Lochinver and therefore if we motored at a slow displacement speed i.e. 8/9 knots it would take us no more than three hours. Lochinver offered a choice of restaurants and pubs and a much needed different outlook after three nights in Kinlochbervie.
Everything went as planned and other than another discussion regarding how far or near we should round another significant west coast Scottish headland we arrived after three hours or so and took possession of a northern facing finger pontoon as instructed by the Harbour Master.
Lochinver is yet another fishing port with a number of pontoons for visiting yachtsmen, and was free of charge as per the Highland Council’s BOGOF deal.
The boat was hosed down, the scooters folded out and we headed off to the nearest pub.
What was interesting about both Kinlochbervie and Lochinver (and no doubt all other northern or Scottish fishing ports) was that all of the huge articulated lorries waiting for the trawlers to land their catches were either from Spain or France. We were told that at least 80% of the catch was destined for there.
Haddock was virtually the only fish on sale in northern Britain , along with a prawn cocktail or two.