July 6, 2022

An east coast update from Andy

Having had the most amazing row through the inner Hebrides to Cape Wrath we finally traversed to the top of Scotland to John O’Groats. The scenery, the cliffs, the wildlife, the sunsets and sunrises were incredible moments for me, but have been written about a photographed for years in perpetual beauty.

We crossed one of the most treacherous water ways in the world, Portland Firth. We had a very small window to cross the 10miles which either side sees calm seas turn to frothing, angry and unforgiving sections of water. Our navigation plan was perfect, and we saw very little but a ripple - thankfully.


The weather forecast however caused us to review our progress before crossing the Moray Firth. A south westerly was due to blow up before we could cross it, so rather than risk tricky seas we took refuge in Wick. While disappoint we had to stop again, we discovered a great marker of humanities journey. Wick was one ofthe largest Herring ports for the 1700 and 1800’s. The heritage museum cataloging everything. But it was no good life. With husbands away at sea at night, wives gutting, salting and packing by day. Long long days part of a community that followed the Herring around the UK, that sealed its fate by fishing the seas clean of Herring, a fish stock that hasn’t really returned, wiping out a way of life. The final tragedy of this story was that many barrels were sold to the USA to feed the slaves. There is pride in Wick, but it’s build on a brutal reality of a life that formed the foundations of this country - all the way on the tip of Scotland.


We left Wick midnight, working a plan to take us across the Moray Firth in a weather window before the next high winds blow through. It’s a horrible bit of water and our new friend at the RNLI helped us understand what lay ahead. And so we look optimistically to the south. With much for the moray Firth behind us now, and shelter of the land to Edinburgh we are homeward bound - Family bound .I’ve missed my family as I knew I would, and now my burning desire to see them soon pushes me on. I don’t feel as strong as I did when midway through, but the thought of home - a thought which feels good - is the wind in my sails.


As a final nod to the beauty of northern Scotland that we’re leaving behind a pod of Minky whales cape through to say hello. A beautiful, pure fleeting moment. Onwards.

Back to GB Row Virtual