Saluting the lifeboat, we depart Buckie, with communication to the harbour office on 12. Turning east at the harbour mouth, we remain tight to the coast on the inside of the West Middle and East Mucks, three offlying rocky shoals. We row past the abandoned harbour of the once-thriving Jones shipyard basin, which built fishing boats. It is a glorious afternoon and our small flotilla is creating a bit of a stir along the shore as we head towards the sands of Strathleen. No landing today, although we have often in the past, and no landing this time either on the outcrop of Craigenroan; due to the narrow channel our approach is too close for the seal colony who all decide to go swimming. You can’t stop the inquisitive nature of seals and we are soon surrounded by big and small heads bobbing up and down. Maybe they are just making sure we are not stopping, ushering us out of their area.
Rowing onwards from Strathlene, golfers on the course watch the progress of our little flotilla as we navigating through lobster creel city. The creels have been placed by a number of boats working out of our home port of ‘Finechty’. Our usual inside route is not advised or navigable when the tides are on a low water spring. The inner route is entered at the Jaws of Death which is a channel the width of one skiff beam and two (short) oars.
The next highlight is Shalla Midden – a small gut with a footbridge for the coastal pathway. In the not so distant past, all household refuse was dumped into the sea here by the council waste truck. Most coastal towns had a dumping location like this and, although a bit messy, it was before the days of plastic. The route then goes alongside the caravan site, a rocky shore with a rounding of the large Edindoune rock, making a straight line course to the harbour entrance avoiding a submerged Middle Rocky en-route.
However, today we stay outside the rocks with our flotilla and round the Bekin Rock, lining up on the harbour entrance channel. Once in the harbour we can beach and recover both our skiffs to the Watersports clubhouse for the evening. Once washed down, a few thirsty souls seek a wee refreshment in the local, ‘Admirals’.