We have now sailed exactly 665 nautical miles (1,232 kilometers) from IJmuiden to the most northerly point of our trip around Britain and now it is time to go around Rattray Head and sail West. The wind is favourable and we enjoy some good sailing into the little harbour town of Lossiemouth. Lossiemouth just like Stonehaven is listed as a shallow harbour but the friendly harbour master Amanda assures us that she has a decent spot against the harbour wall where we will not touch the bottom at low water. Whilst the hospitality in Lossiemouth is very good, the town itself misses any sense of life and activity - although we do have an enjoyable time visiting the old fisherman's museum in the harbour.
The following morning after a decent sleep we slip our lines and head off to Inverness. During the first miles out from the harbour we again experience engine problems in the choppy seas and Roland films under water with the GoPro to check that nothing is jamming the propellor.
The verdict is clear, the propellor is totally free so we agree that the problem must be in the fuel tank/lines itself. As the swell diminishes we turn off the engine and set sail towards Inverness. Several hours later as the Firth of Moray narrows we start looking out for dolphins which live in abundance in this area. Our patience is rewarded as we see two dolphins swimming directly beside our boat.
A look to the left reveals approximately 100 sea lions sunbathing on the beach as well. Wow!!
As the estuary narrows we have to get used to the idea of having land on both sides of the boat… a new experience after roughly a month with land only on the left!
We moor in Inverness Marina which is very modern and well equipped. The next day we decide to give the boat a most needed wash down after all the salt water before heading into Inverness to meet up with our dear friend Irene who happens to be on a walking holiday in Scotland at this very time. The venue is the Castle Tavern directly under Inverness castle with a good choice of real ales and a friendly atmosphere.
After a good nights sleep we leave Inverness and enter the Caledonian Canal. We pass through two swing bridges and six locks and dock in Caley Marina where Roland had made an appointment with marine engineers to inspect the fuel lines/filters and tank. After three hours work the engineers remove a blockage in the fuel line, and filter a lot of debris out of the tank. We are hopeful that the problems are now solved.
With the fuel problems solved we confidently start out the next morning towards Loch Ness along the Caldonian Canal. We are amazed by the beauty of the man made sections and are of course in awe at the magnificent scenery of Loch Ness itself. After lunch in the ultra touristic town of Drumnadrochit where we anchored, we sail on again to the south west to Fort Augustus for our second night on the canal.