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Old 16 December 2011, 07:12   #11
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I've only pulled in to three places along the south of the firth so I can tell you about them. Lossiemouth has a marina and the town has café and most everything you'll need, Buckie will happily let you in and they're friendly and helpful but it's still very much a fishing port, you can stay overnight and there are showers. Normal town facilities available. Further east there's Whitehills, marina facilities, pretty, friendly, smallish and the necessary caf in the village. That section of coast though is exposed and without offlying islands so can be bleak.
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Old 16 December 2011, 15:45   #12
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Bruce where are you going to be based? this will make a big difference to where you go. From Banff/Macduff to Inverness by road is 70ish miles so by boat alot of coast.

Others have covered ports up to Pennan/Gardenstown, next is Macduff which is a commercial harbour fuel a short walk 10 mins and food directly across the road from harbour.
Banff is across the bay crap access but nice town.
Whitehills is approx 3 miles further west small marina with visitor pontoon, showers etc.
Portsoy is the next harbour, tidal but you can slowly make your way in at low water springs. Very nice little cafe just of main street, shop and chemist.
Sandend is next small bad access and no facilities.
Cullen dries (most of the time even at high water)
Portknockie access with care at all states of tide, shop, pubs, chippy.
Findochty access with care all states of tide, shop, pub on harbour front.
Buckie covered
Lossie across the bay from buckie approx 6 miles
Hopeman dries don't know haven't been for years
Burghead commercial harbour some facilities
Findhorn watch for the bar (contact Simon at the marina) pubs, shop and marina
Nairn marina but limited access and very shallow and flat long way out.

You can cross from South side to North in a few hours but you have to watch the weather as it can change quickly and as noted before there is very little shelter. Having said that the coast is stunning.

As for charter boat skipper shouting that's Inverness all tourism and nothing else Used to run a charter boat furhter down the coast and we were just glad to see other people Oh and the Firth further east isn't crowded.
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Old 16 December 2011, 17:44   #13
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Sandend is next ... small bad access and no facilities.
beautiful little harbour and I do like places where no one else goes
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Old 18 December 2011, 17:45   #14
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Thats something to be going on with.
Probably going to be based around Inverness but never been afraid to tow to get somewhere nice.
Should know tuesday or wednesday if its going to happen...
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Old 18 December 2011, 18:11   #15
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Thats something to be going on with.
Just mind this bit on the north side though

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That section of coast though is exposed and without offlying islands so can be bleak.
The few small harbours are nice and a step back in time in some ways.

When I mentioned Sandend, or 'sanine' as the locals say it .. lovely big beach.. there are quite a lot of holiday lets down at the harbour and so you could be close to your kit although the beach in the harbour is stoney IIRC.. and theres some trouble afoot these days

Village blackout sparks crimewave | The Sun |Home Scotland|Scottish News

mind you 3 incidents a year is a crimewave in Sandend I shouldnt laugh
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Old 20 December 2011, 18:02   #16
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Its all sorted, was offered and accepted a job in Inverness today so will be based around this area somewhere before the summer
will start looking for slips and places to go in earnest in a month or two, plus anyone about for runs or diving.
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Old 20 December 2011, 18:18   #17
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Congratulations!

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Old 21 December 2011, 04:55   #18
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Inverness is a nice spot. Hope you both enjoy it. You'll sound out the boating thing fairly quickly - you might make some interesting discoveries on that local lake if you run the sidescan regularly....
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Old 01 March 2012, 16:26   #19
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East Coast

I can see the attraction of both the east and the west coasts but being an east coaster myself I have to support it, there are loads of little towns and villages all the way up the coast with harbours and free slips, as for the comment made about having three weeks where you can't get out!, thats nonsense, RIB's are made to handle the challenges of a bit of motion in the sea, as long as you're not tearing along at full throttle it's perfectly doable, I live in Wick in the far north and we have some horrendous sea's in the winter but spring and summer time is fine, just pay some attention to the weather forcast and wait for a spell of westerly winds, its a beautiful coastline with some cracking wee harbours along the way, just be aware of the ones that have no water at low tide, go on, you know you want to
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Old 02 March 2012, 06:22   #20
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In that case check out Helmsdale - its a beautiful little village with a sheltered harbour and a long floating pontoon - the village has all the usual amenties and an award winning chippy where the portions are huge

Ah "La Mirage" Chippy, Num Num Num! a frequent stop of mine on my way home from the Big Rigs, gotta try their fish suppers Mmmm thats got my mouth watering.

Helmsdale is probably the last port of call on the way north with amenities before you get to Lybster though its a fair treck up to the village, nice wee harbour though and their is a visitor centre and cafe there if you're visiting at the right time of year, Wick is the next town with a floating secure marina and plenty of choice for B&B and eating places.
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