• Asha

Back in sunny Peterhead

Updated: Jun 28

We arrived in Berwick-upon-Tweed in the evening on the 19th of May, and made our way towards the Tweed Dock. I must say, after looking at the Navionics Charts I imagined the topography of the area differently, but guess what, it wasn’t a neat river leading to the entrance of the dock, it looked more like a vast open bay. The channel is well buoyed thou, and has a transit line. As advised by the harbour instruction available on the internet, we made our way in very close to the concrete pier, then along the channel, avoiding small sailing boats which were racing around the waters.


When we entered the Tweed Dock through a gap in concrete walls we easily spotted the small leisure craft jetty with two boats already moored alongside and one small fishing boat moored at the end. That meant we had less than Altor’s length left of the pontoon. The crews from the two sailing boats made every effort to conjure up a little bit more space by moving their boats forward while we circled around in the shallow dock. Then they assisted us with mooring lines which was very nice of them as we had our hands and feet full getting 44 feet of Altor alongside 41 feet of free dock - Mark with helming the boat and I with fending off with my legs to avoid collision with the beautiful Najad moored on the jetty. Without any losses and the bow hanging a couple of feet off the end of the pontoon we tied Altor successfully. Celebrations!


The other two boats had very interesting crews - the Najad belongs to an ocean yacht master and author of pilot books, Mirand Delmar-Morgan and her husband Edward, and the Jeanneau to the cats who sail and take Dave along for the ride. By the way, the cats didn’t bother helping with mooring Altor, they delegated Dave.


The dock is designed to receive commercial cargo ships and we were amazed at that, as it felt very confide and we were nervous enough sailing Altor in there, never mind a cargo ship. All the same, it delivered a safe harbour for the next few days while northernly gales rolled over.


The Tweed Dock is located on the south side of the River Tweed and the town centre on the north bank. There are three bridges spanning the river banks. Train track runs over the tallest one - a very impressive Royal Border Bridge, built in the 19th century. Berwick Bridge, also known as the Old Bridge, which is a Grade I listed stone bridge built at the beginning of the 17th century, is currently closed due to renovations so we crossed the river over the most modern one - Royal Tweed Bridge. I really wanted to breach the gate and walk along the old bridge but the idea remained in the unfulfilled rebellious dreams department. The stroll around the old town led us to a couple of local food merchants - a bakery and a cafe. Their shop displays were so appetising that we couldn’t resist abandoning the mad diet idea. With the goodies stashed in my backpack we wondered to the river bank in search of a picnic spot. Much of the way led alongside the huge wall that surrounds this town. The wall originally built in 1558 was designed to keep the marauding Scots who regularly tried to claim the town as Scottish! The walk around the town ended up with some rain, but a couple of days later when the weather delivered some sunny spells we completed the sightseeing by walking to the lighthouse at the end of the stone pier.


The following morning we set sail for Peterhead. The first two hours the wind wasn’t doing much and we were motoring along. The rain clouds coming from the south missed us on a few occasions until finally caught up with us. The wind build up and the tide was taking us north so we were able to let Perkins take a well deserved rest. With the jib up we were sailing at last! When the tide turned we slowed down temporarily, but the wind was picking up to defy the forecast again. We had to riff the jib as the wind steadily grew to a feisty 30 knots on the beam. Luckily we gave ourselves a lot of sea room expecting the wind to shift to the east and were now immensely happy with that decision. The sea was rough and the boat was pitching on the waves which would make the entrance to the port in Peterhead very difficult if we were closer to the lee shore.


Mark called the harbour on the VHF and we were granted permission to enter. Despite a well planned entry it was still a very uneasy approach with the tide pushing the boat sideways, and the strong easterly wind providing the exact challenging conditions that the pilot books warn you of. Luckily we made it through and headed for the marina. The spaces nearest the entrance of the marina are for boats with deeper keels and to our dismay there wasn’t much room, but with careful manoeuvring we got Altor tied to a dock - face to face with a boat we have met on a few occasions while sailing on the east coast these last few weeks. Just down the pontoon was another familiar boat which we previously met in Wolverstone Marina and in Amble. The cheer up factor of meeting familiar boats, combined with the warm fuzzy feeling of getting safely in a familiar place and away from a gale started restoring homeostasis on the good ship Altor. Celebrations again! I love the celebrations part.


Later on we got to celebrate with Mark Ashley Miller, the captain of a beautiful Nauti Cat, perversely called Good Dog. Mark is sailing around the United Kingdom on a mission to visit every Harbour Master in the country. What a cool idea.


We are happy to be back in Peterhead, able to take our brains out, do laundry and get ready for more northern latitudes. Yes, I must have mentioned before, that laundry day on the ship is like a holiday to me, as it gives me a great feeling of restoring good energy.


Berwick Bridge, also known as the Old Bridge, which is a Grade I listed stone bridge built at the beginning of the 17th century

Old commercial building converted into an apartment block.

Berwick-upon-Tweed

Gardens in Berwick-upon-Tweed

Gardens in Berwick-upon-Tweed

Gardens in Berwick-upon-Tweed

Church and grave yard in Berwick-upon-Tweed

Berwick-upon-Tweed

Berwick-upon-Tweed


Berwick-upon-Tweed

Berwick-upon-Tweed

Berwick-upon-Tweed

Berwick-upon-Tweed

Berwick-upon-Tweed

Berwick-upon-Tweed - on the town walls

Berwick-upon-Tweed - Main Street

Berwick-upon-Tweed

Berwick-upon-Tweed - Main Street

Berwick Bridge, also known as the Old Bridge

Gale force seven catching up with us on the way from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Peterhead

Berwick Bridge, also known as the Old Bridge,

Royal Border Bridge, built in the 19th century

Royal Tweed Bridge

Back in sunny Peterhead

Mark after hoisting the Scottish courtesy flag

Cooling water outlet, Peterhead

Altor moored in Peterhead Marina

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