At the weekend we'd taken the train to Edinburgh to visit our friends Duncan and Hillary, and to see something of the Festival. I'd never been to the fringe before, and was quite surprised and taken in by its scale. Well done Edinburgh - its a treasure and well worth visiting.
We were very much in two minds about whether to leave Arbroath this morning or not. Not because of the charms of Arbroath, but the ever ongoing balance of weather, tides and sea. From when the loch opened and we could leave Arbroath, we'd have more of the favourable tide tomorrow. Having had a bit of a storm over the weekend, we'd also have less of a sea state tomorrow. But we'd also have less wind.
We decided to go, but it wasn't a great passage. The wind was directly behind us, which strangely enough isn't a good direction to sail. There was also quite a swell - sometimes up to perhaps 3m - which makes it less comfortable. However it also made me nervous about getting into Eyemouth Harbour which the almanac advises not to enter in a north wind F5 or more. The wind this morning was 25knots, but had (as forecast) fallen to about 10-15knots by 4pm when we came close to Eyemouth. We spoke to the Harbour Master and it sounded like conditions should possible to enter so we approached the bay. As we passed between the rocks either side of the entrance to the bay the swell increased and we were surfing in between breaking waves. We were committed. The entrance to the harbour itself is only 17m wide - and as we were at low tide and the base of the walls tapers in we had perhaps 15m. As we passed the first pier, the swell was still throwing our stern around too much for comfort, and we only just managed to keep in the channel and avoid hitting the stone sides.
Safely in and tied up, we'll see if we can get out tomorrow. The forecast is for the swell to only gradually die down during the week - and leaving in similar conditions as we entered would be an unnecessary risk.
Tuesday 19th August
Not surprisingly the swell was still strong entering the harbour at Eyemouth, and nobody was moving out. We therefore took the bus to Berwick Upon Tweed to walk around this historic walled border town.