Gardenstown to Rosehearty – Section 8 | Day 13

Gamrie to Pennan

Passage Planning Point:
Once clear of Gamrie, there are no offlying dangers when rounding Troup Head.
There is a sheltered sandy cove at Cullykhan on the south side of Lions Head.
There are offlying rocks on approach to Pennan Bay and approach to Pennan Harbour.
Pennan Harbour has beach landing available for launch or recovery.

Gamrie to Crovie Head 1.0 miles
Crovie Head to Troup Head 1.1 miles
Troup Head to Pennan 1.8 miles

Aberdour Bay to Rosehearty

The coast has no offlying dangers. The buoys shown in the chartlet relate to a previous bombing range.

Aberdour Bay to Quarry Head 0.9 miles
Quarry Head to Rosehearty 2.0 miles

Gardenstown was once a very busy fishing port with 90 boats plying their trade here in 1900 and almost all of the local population involved in the fishing industry. But with the end of herring drift net fishing in 1958, the majority of the fleet ceased operating. A few larger trawlers operated from here into the 1980s, when this form of fishing also declined. As we leave the harbour there are still a few local boats working from here, maintaining a 300-year-old tradition.

There’s a bit of a swell running this morning and its slightly misty, though we are quite used to that as we experience it a lot at Portsoy! The five skiff flotilla, Morven and Morag from Finechty, Soy Loon and Soy Quine from Portsoy, Heave Awa from Whitehills, heads out into Gamrie Bay and maintain a reasonable distance from the shore as this is an unfamiliar stretch of coast for us, but not too far out as we are keen to see as much of the coast as we safely can. Crovie stretches for what looks like miles along the eastern end of the bay, probably because the village is really only one street wide running along the coast.

Coastline around Crovie

Coastline near Troup Head
We are heading initially for Crovie Head which is clearly visible as the headland runs down to the shore; the mist is clearing and the swell has reduced slightly. Fortunately, it’s a dry day and we settle into a steady rhythm as we round the headland. Almost immediately the coast changes and high cliffs tower ahead of us as Troup Head looms in the distance.

Troup Head colonies
These cliffs really are impressive, as are the thousands of seabirds that make this fortress their home. There are so many birds nesting here that with today’s easterly wind we can smell the birds before we can actually see them on the nests; the cliffs are white with their droppings.

As we pass the seabird colonies, there is a significant increase in aerial activity with lots more birds overflying us, presumably to see whether we are a threat or have food for them. We are probably as alien to them as they are to us, certainly in these numbers.

We are now heading for Pennan which, as you probably already know, was the setting for the film Local Hero. We are not stopping off there today, though, as we are barely halfway to Rosehearty, today’s destination. The coast remains predominantly rocky with high cliffs and for the most part it seems almost deserted, with very few signs of habitation, almost lonely.

Aberdour Bay is, by contrast, a wide sandy beach. A few cars are parked up with their occupants sat inside, presumably wondering what we are doing in this neck of the woods. About ten minutes rowing east of the beach and we can just make out the outline of Dundarg Castle ruins, perched on a rocky outcrop; it is hard to spot from the sea – we only know it is there because of the reconnaissance trips undertaken in advance of this row.

Relaxing by the beach!
The shore line is still very rocky though the cliffs are reducing in height as we get close to Rosehearty. Not far now and only the Bay of Lochielair to clear before we round the stony beach point and can see the entrance to the harbour. We are welcomed by members of the Rosehearty Community Boat Club who have expressed an interest in building a St Ayles Skiff (or two?). There are a number of people who would like a taster row and to discuss the differences between the five boats and five different sets of oars. They have also offered those who are continuing to row tomorrow, and who don’t want to return home, a space to camp – so these discussions could continue long into the night!

All in all, its been a good day with plenty of new sights to see and explore. Having experienced rowing in unfamiliar waters for the first time, we have all developed an appetite to do more passage rowing and look forward to many new adventures in the future.

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