Our astonishing run of luck with the weather has finally run out. Since leaving Fleetwood on 20 April and having covered over a thousand miles, we have until now had just one ‘weather day’ – in Dover, where we sat out a day of high winds.
We had hoped to make two long passages north from Arbroath, to Peterhead then Wick, but as I sit in Bubble’s cosy diesel-heated saloon with with the wind howling and the rain falling heavily I know that we’ve made the right decision to remain in port.
There are umpteen sources of weather information and we scour them all looking for what we want to see, but the Met Office’s Inshore Waters Forecast has to be taken as the definitive position, and today’s forecast indicates that if we were to make for Peterhead we would probably manage the passage but it would be hard work and very wet, and certainly cold too.
For a long passage we really need the wind to be in a suitable diredction and we have that for the next two days. The forecasts remain for strong winds, though, and we have decided that an Inshore Waters Forecast which mentions a Force 7 or above is one which is likely to signal a weather day in port for us.
There is a possibility that this report could be the last for a while as once the wind direction changes against us we are essentially trapped here in Arbroath until there is a change in the weather. We are disappointed but are accepting the situation with good grace given the conditions we have enjoyed thus far and the progrss we have made.
Yesterday I spent a fascinating afternoon at the Arbroath Signal Tower Museum which tells the story of the construction and operation of the Bell Rock lighthouse. We had seen the lighthouse when at sea the day before. My task today is to get my glasses repaired; in the course of an early-hours fumble for my phone to check the weather forecast I rolled onto them and broke one of the hinges. So today is unlikely to be one of the highlights of our trip.