Monday, 9 May 2011

Days like this

Up at 05.15 and packed and away by 06.30. Walked down to the charming little harbour at Cove, through the 60m tunnel that leads down to the beach. The tunnel and cellars leading off were once used for storing fish.

Then it was on to Torness Power Station where I particularly wanted to see a jetty that I hadn't listed on my ports website. A path leads round from Skateraw Harbour, which although no longer has a quay, is still shown as a harbour on the maps, and road signs direct you to it. The remains of an old pier can just about be discerned, close to a restored limekiln.

When the nuclear power station was built in the early 1980s, two jetties were constructed to bring in heavy items that would have been difficult to transport by road. The jetties are no longer used, except the southern one, part of which is a base for the local lifeboat.

After Dunbar, the next delight was Seacliff - what a magical place. Not only does it fully merit the title of Britain's smallest harbour, but its location below the imposing Tantallon Castle is quite amazing. The tiny tidal harbour was cut out of the Gegan Rock. It used to have a gate across the entrance, probably operated by the old winch. Across the water is the Bass Rock, home to thousands of gannets and fulmars. Sitting here having lunch, watching the rock martins wheeling overhead, the waves breaking on the shore between the harbour and the castle, and the occasional graceful fulmar gliding effortlessly past, it's a place I could happily stay at all day.

On to North Berwick, where I met Ross Harbison, the Harbour Master, who was keen to show me a YouTube video of a storm last year when the harbour was flooded, damaging dozens of dinghies.

After several more small harbours at Port Seton, Cockenzie and Fisherrow, it was finally on to Leith, where I was very pleased to meet up with Toby Speight, who had kindly offered me accommodation for the night. A welcome shower was followed by a steaming bowl of rice and spicy chinese chicken.

Days like this make me feel the journey is all worthwhile. Glorious weather (mostly), delightful harbours, and a friendly welcome at the end of the day.

No comments:

Post a Comment