Life, work and other things meant that this blog was a little neglected during 2021. That's not to say that I didn't manage to get out and about though, and there will be some catch-up posts coming in the next few weeks.
Just a couple of days prior to the winter solstice and there isn't much daylight here in Aberdeenshire, realistically six hours is what we get. When Allan and Lorna and I left our homes in inland Aberdeenshire we were in bright sunshine with temperatures well below zero Celsius.....just 45 minutes drive north to the Moray Firth coast and things were a lot different; very misty conditions and the temperature a couple of degrees above freezing. With just a light wind and a low swell we decided to set out from Cullen, paddle east to Sandend and return to Cullen. It's an area we know very well but we took no chances with the visibility and set up a GPS in case things closed in further.
The misty conditions certainly made for an atmospheric journey through the rock stacks which are such a feature of this coast, everything seemed out of scale as towers and rocks loomed out of the mist. We mentally ticked off known landmarks as we went and had soon warmed up from the chilly start.
The swell was low but long-period and as is typical on this coast had "sets" of two or three much larger swells at regular intervals. Near to top of the tide this cave-arch doesn't have much headroom, so good timing is a must!
We took lunch in the tiny harbour at Sandend before heading back around to Cullen. The mist had started to lift a little and the swell eased to give a leisurely return leg.