Monday, 6 October 2014

Back to Sunday Cycling

All good things must come to an end and the Heron came out of the water for the winter last Sunday. The bigger boats are lifted out by crane so I have to get the Heron into place before all the chaos commences.

So with no sailing excuses this Sunday morning, off I went for a cycle around Dunbar and then down the coast.

There was nothing fancy this week, just a nose around town, then a quick spin down to Barns Ness lighthouse for breakfast coffee sitting on the beach. Chandra might be interested to know that this is a Stevenson Lighthouse, and there is a wind swept fence nearby!

I found some shelter from the wind tucked in under the marram grass, then it was time to sit back with a flask of freshly pressed coffee, watch the sea and enjoy the sunshine.

A simple cycle, some blustery wind, just enough to stretch the legs and get me back in the saddle.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Breakfast on board

There was little to see on Saturday morning in Dunbar. A thick east coast sea fog, or haar, had silently stolen into town overnight. But if you looked carefully in the early morning light, there was a quiet group of sailors scuttling around their little yachts, dropping the moorings and heading out of the harbour.

I was on the Heron, Stuart on the Seline, Davey on the Wee Beastie, and James and Gordon on the Freedom. The sea was like glass without the slightest breath of wind as we slowly motored along the coast in a little flotilla.

The fog drifted in and out but navigation was never a problem. The coast appeared through the mist and we would gently adjust the heading.

Along past the wildfire rocks, and the wreck of the Ponderosa,  it was easy to sea how a ship can be lost.

Further west and the South Carr loomed out of the fog and we could here the moaning calls of the seals on the rocks. Then it was time to turn into the shelter of the secluded bay at Seacliff.

As we dropped anchors and rafted the little boats together, the sun began to burn through the fog and the temperature started to climb. The sea was gently lapping on the sands, the kettle was whistling as I brewed up some coffee and bacon was frying in the pan.

We sat soaking up the early morning sun and enjoyed breakfast. There were a few people walking on the beach and a couple of horses came down to the shore. One rider brought her horse in for a swim near the boats and somehow I didn't take a photo.

The morning passed as the boats swung languidly on their moorings.  Eventually we felt the gentlest stirrings of a breeze as the tide turned. Without too much effort, anchors were hauled, stowed and lines were cast off.

 Banks of fog drifted through on the light easterly breeze as we headed around the South Carr and on to a rough bearing of 150 degrees.

An hour or so and we were back to civilisation.

That might be the last outing of the sailing season. If it turns out to be, I'm not complaining.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Sunday morning cycle

It's been a busy old week. Saturday was spent sailing and there will be a post mid-week once I put it all together. Meanwhile I've bought another car as I need a diesel as my weekly commute could soon be increasing dramatically.

I finally found a car that was suitable, bought it and by chance a work colleague was able to give me a lift to pick it up. I drove the new car home on Friday night which left the old car lying at work. So on Sunday morning I was off on a cycle to Haddington in the rain to collect it.

It was a dull damp start on the Long Haul Trucker. I just stuck a bottle of water in the rack and didn't bother with the waterproofs as I was only going 12 miles or so. I would regret that omission.

The first mile along by the Winterfield was just damp with a Scottish smirr. But as I headed out along the straight to East Linton the mist became thicker and a cold rain started. For the first time since April I began to think about long fingered gloves.

The leaves are beginning to change to their various shades of brown and the sky was most definitely grey. Then the rain really started so I just had to get the head down on plod up over Pencraig and on to work where the poor Berlingo has been sitting neglected since Friday.

My journey time was quite quick (for me) at 48 mins, and I thought again that I should commute by bike, but the comfort of the car with it's heater and a 15min journey home kind of reinforced that I cycle for pleasure. It wasn't the most interesting of routes, nor the most pleasant of weather but I still enjoyed it, the 'trucker was impecibly behaved as ever and breakfast, when I got home, tasted that much better.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Sailing as it should be done.

Sometimes you just have to grab the moment and get out sailing. Last Sunday was as good a day for sailing as I've seen for a long time. The sun was shining, there was a light but steady breeze and there was only the slightest swell.

So the little outboard was fired up to get me off the mooring but as soon as I was out of the harbour entrance, the motor was off and the Heron caught some wind in her sails.

Davey came out for a sail on his yacht 'Wee Beastie' but was having problems getting tension in his mainsail.

It didn't matter too much, It's still a faster boat than the Heron.

Davey soon passed me and headed off into the distance. I just set the tiller and headed north.

I often take photos of the horizon when I'm out sailing. I don't post many because they don't convey what I really experience. In the pictures the sea looks empty but when I'm sailing it's full of movement, changing colours, birds, the sound of the water and wind and of course the insignificant dot that is the Heron slowly bobbing along in the midst of it all.

With the back of my neck suitably burnt I turned south to get a bit of sun on my face and headed along the coast to the east of Dunbar.

I gybed off the east beach the tried my best to goose wing back to the scart rocks. Having the wind directly behind you might sound easy but if you sail, you'll know how tricky it can be.

Back in the calm of harbour and the colours are changing again as the sun starts to get a little lower.
Then this weekend, the weather was really settled again on Saturday. There was no real wind to speak of but I wanted to get out on the water and so hatched a cunning plan to spend the afternoon practising the black art of anchoring. 

It's probably best not to tell anyone that you intend to drop an anchor as it is amazing how many experts there are out there. And none of them agree.

After dropping the hook a couple of times and feeling it set on different grounds I heard the buzz of an engine and Stuart appeared on the Seline.

My back was beginning to complain with hauling up 11 meters of chain so happily agreed to go for a motor to the yacht Carioca which we could see bobbing around a mile and a half off-shore.

We all rafted up and sat chatting and some cold beer was passed around.

The boats creeked and groaned and slowly swung around on the tide and soon Jamie appeared on the Ambition to increase the raft of sloth to four. As the tide started to ebb, the Carioca had to head in to harbour as it draws a lot more than our little boats. The change in the tide also brought a little breeze and we gathered ourselves together, cast off the lines and hoisted some sail to get home.

Days like these are few, and can be far between, but are good for the soul.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Easy harvest cycling.

 Saturday morning was bright and breezy and time for a pedal before breakfast. I'm still trying to get out on shorter cycles and I now have some exercises from a physiotherapist to loosen off my sore achilles. It seems to be working, albeit slowly.

 I always take a camera with me when I'm on the bike and usually take a few pictures but I haven't got around to posting much as the views all seem so familiar to me. But that doesn't mean that they won't be of interest to someone else, so here is a bit of my morning with the first views over Belhaven Bay.

Then it was along the dump road past the pond and a gentle climb as I headed inland.

 The harvest is in full swing and there are little hints of Autumn in the hedgerows.

The brambles not quite ripe yet but if the weather stays warm for the next week I'll be out picking and trying some cunning jam making plans.

An easy going ten miles and I didn't feel sore at the time, and more importantly I wasn't limping the next morning although it was definitely a bit tender.

I'll just keep taking it easy and try to post a bit more.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Anstruther Muster 2014.....stormbound in Dunbar.

I haven't been posting much recently partly because I just seem to be too busy but also because I've had a niggling problem with my right Achilles tendon. This has been going on for a couple of months and seems to be a tendinitis (there is a noticable lump on the tendon!). I have finally admitted that it does seem to get better with rest and that going for a long cycle just aggravates it.

The weekend past however would not normally include any cycling as it was time again for the annual Anstruther Muster. I had everything ready to sail on the ebbing tide at 07:00 on Saturday. Unfortunately the wind had other ideas and, as forecast, it was soon blowing over 30mph. That's far too much for my wee boat. If I was caught out in it I know the boat would be safe, if a bit uncomfortable, but to deliberately set out into that sort of wind is foolhardy.  

So I was at a bit of a loss. El was expecting her sister to visit and the usual suspects had all headed over to Anstruther on Thursday evening or Friday morning.  

 With nothing better to do, I decided to take it easy and have my own weekend away at home.
 I took Fly for some good walks along the beach and the cliffs.

I paddled out to the Heron, put the kettle on, then turned it off and had a beer instead.

 I had a look at the Kittiwakes and realised just how far on summer is. This years young are almost the same size as the parents and it will not be long before they all head back to sea.

 I went rock pooling and did some light rock fishing.

I caught wee Pollock, coal fish and a pugnacious little sea scorpion who kept hold of the isome worm even after I had taken the hook out. He went back eventually, but not without bristling his little spines at me.

It is the first time in five years I have not sailed to the muster, which is a disappointment, but there will always be next year. The rest arrived back from Anstruther in various cars as the yachts have all been left there until the weather settles. The summer seems to have slipped by this year and there is just the start of a hint of Autumn in the air. I've missed going for decent summer cycles, but every time I do go out, I end up limping the next day. So I'll make a commitment  to get back into regular cycling but just keeping it to short five to ten mile outings. See how it goes.