Friday, 6 November 2015

Better than summer?

The final few days of October and the first three days of November brought absolutely gorgeous weather to the north east of Scotland. On consecutive days I managed a mountain-bike ride with family, a day hillwalking and a day sea kayaking - all three were "blue sky" days and T-shirt weather! Setting out on one of my local paddles from Sandend, I paddled west along the coast......

......through the narrow channels and past stacks.....

....through tunnel arches .....

....even finding the tricky landing below Findlater Castle to be feasible with a low swell and just the right state of tide.

From on the water it's not easy to see the full extent of this 14th century stronghold.  It can be reached on foot by a path from a car-park signposted off the main A96 road between Sandend and Cullen and is well worth exploring.

It was tempting to land at Sunnyside beach, but even in a low swell the landing here can be surprisingly "entertaining" with rolling surf and some hidden reefs on the final approach.  I paddled on.....

.......around the Logie Head and across the "border" of Aberdeenshire and Morayshire..... land in the deserted outer harbour at Cullen.  Unfortunately the chip shop doesn't open at lunchtime outside the summer season so I settled for sandwiches, eaten whilst sunbathing on a bench on the harbour wall - I had to remind myself that this was November!

I'd chosen to start from Sandend in order that I wouldn't have the afternoon sun in my eyes on the return leg; just as well as the glare was tremendous even with the sun from over my right shoulder.

I landed back at Sandend just as the sun was sinking behind the village and shadow was creeping across the tiny harbour.  After packing up and putting the boat back on the car I sat with a cup of tea before making the short drive home.  A silver splash out in the bay caught my eye - the Moray Firth dolphins en route across the bay and putting on a great show of acrobatics.

Early November 2015 -  better than summer?!  :o)


  1. I was sorry not to be able to join you on this one Ian.

  2. A great spell of autumn weather. Not as midges,ticks or clegs... great visibility and some early morning mist inversions. What's not to like? I've walked along that stretch of coastline but as your photos show it's much better seen from the water.

    1. Hi Bob, there's a lot to be said for outdoors stuff in the autumn! If you're up this way any time let me know and we can get you out on the water


  3. Oh Ian...memories come rushing back of the trip you and I enjoyed, and this past summer when Joan and I paddled those same waters on another perfect day. The image of Findlater Castle and the Tiderace...simply stunning! Warm wishes from us both.

  4. Thanks D & J - we must paddle it again! Given the nature of the landing at Findlater, the Tiderace boat was definitely number one choice :o)

    Warm wishes