Rowing around the corner at last


By late morning on Sunday the haar – the east coast fog – had started to lift, but still not a breath of wind. I had the rest of the day ahead of me – a good day for a long row. Leaving the masts and sails in the dinghy park I set off from Portobello beach.


A children's sailing course was running – but with no wind they were doing knot work.


The sea was like a mill pond and Scratch moved easily through the water. I had a leisurely row stopping to take photos from time to time.



Behind me the haar came and went. With the risk of fog I decided today was not the day for a row to Inchkeith island. Only the other day the Rosyth Zeebrugge ferry ran down a fishing boat at sea, one crew member still missing presumed drowned.



Instead I decided to head eastward hugging the shore – much as I love the view of Portobello and the Edinburgh skyline (Arthur's Seat is supposed to look like a lion) I wanted to go around the corner for a change of scene.



The day remained hazy with steam apparently rising from the beaches exposed by the low tide. A lone fisherman on an old outfall from Seafield sewage works.


Not a nuclear power station but some part of the sewage works.


Historic monuments on Calton Hill (left), include the tower, Nelson's Monument, which incorporates a large ball on top which drops at 12 noon GMT, originally so ships in the Forth could set their chronometers.


And then along the edge of Leith docks. The large building in the foreground is a now disused grain warehouse – described in Pevsner's The Buildings of Scotland as 'the massive grey concrete lump' built in 1933 and extended in 1957. New flats – in the distance – seem to be inevitable on docks these days.



Lots of flats.



But some parts of the place still look like docks.


The light on the end of eastern wall of the docks – the corner I wanted to go around to get a new view. I'd been following the shore north eastwards which brought the Forth rail and road bridges into sight in the distance – the destination for a future trip I hope.


Looking back across the bay – Cockenzie power station, the dirtiest in Europe, is just visible in the haze.



Someone else enjoying the view of the dock in the fine weather.


The entrance to the lock gates.



Apparently the fee to open the lock gates for entry to the docks is £1,000.


I'd been rowing gently and intermittently for a couple of hours and it was now after 2pm. I ate my lunch as I drifted into Wardie Bay – to the right of the yet more flats on Leith Docks' western wall. Tucked behind and to the right of the flats is the old fishing harbour of Newhaven. I had planned to row into the harbour after my lunch, but the wind was getting up and I found myself across the bay faster than I expected.



The eastern wall of Granton Harbour was busy with fisherman – but only time for one shot in the rising easterly wind before I pulled away to avoid their lines and the wall.


This rather nice looking yacht was just heading out now the wind was up.


A quick glimpse into the harbour before heading for home.



The wind was starting to put up a chop and the tide was making – both against me for the row home. The first leg home was to be across the mouth of Wardie Bay straight towards the harbour entrance on the far left.

Once back round the corner I stayed close to the shore to avoid the worst of the time – I could go over the various outfalls and between the rocky outcrops and the shore. It was a long steady pull – no time for photos or a rest as I didn't want to lose ground. Once off Portobello beach the wind, swell and chop picked right up but the boat handled well.

Nine miles or so in all, hard work on the way back but not difficult. I forgot to keep accurate time, but I think the journey back was around two hours. Although I felt I could have carried on for much longer I was glad to have a hand to put Scratch on to her trolley – and for the sailing club's new quad to pull her across the soft sand and into the dinghy park.

At last I feel this blog is starting to live up to its tag line!



About Osbert Lancaster

Creating ripples to foster sustainability. Seeking solace & clarity on the sea by sail & oar.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: