Friday, 28 December 2012

Why bother with shipping channels!!!!

Leaving Kinghorn
A couple of weeks back, we decided to organise an evening island paddle - sounds nice and romantic!
We met up with Niall and Aline at the boat shed before heading down to Pettycur Bay to launch. It was getting on in time as after Aline had double checked she had everything, announced in the carpark that the spraydeck she thought she had was sitting in her living room at home! After a frantic few calls to whoever we could think of in the area that would have a deck we could use, it was our Number 3 son who came to the rescue - they do come in useful sometimes- by that I mean Sons, spraydecks are always useful!
Niall and Aline

We set off for what always looks like a short distance over to Inchkeith. Aline was having a bit of a wobbly day and about half way across "jumped" in for a swim! We got her back in, but she wasn't desperately happy. We were nearly at the island when Hubby dear suggested we head back to Kinghorn as it was getting a bit late. We had hoped to get a quick breather on the beach first, but after a quick look, discovered that the area was covered in young Grey seal pups, so that was out of the question.
Niall, glad to be back on the water!

Aline was still not her usual happy self, so we put her on a tow with me keeping her going with my usual constant nattering. After a bit with her still on tow, over she went again. I got her back in, tried to comfort her by explaining what a pants time I had up on Skye and that we are all here just between swims!
Hubbydear heading for Inchkeith

As we were paddling along, we were keeping an eye on a container ship heading out from under the bridges. We were still on the island side of the red marker as this boat was coming closer. We headed straight for the red marker, reckoning this would be about our safest area. The boat was going well outside of the shipping channel, travelling between the marker and the island - just where Aline had been having swim 2. This massive ship with a full load of containers wouldn't even have had the decency to go bump had it hit us! We have been out to Inchkeith three times now. Twice this has happened while out on the water and happened again whilst we were watching from the safety of dry land. Why bother having a shipping lane marked off if it's going to be ignored. I always feel a quick shipping channel crossing is essential, but in this case, having a daunder in this particular channel would have been OK, whereas outside the channel should be our "safe" area - not this time!

Getting back to Kinghorn, I'm glad to say Aline hasn't been put off paddling, instead is more determined to get her support strokes worked on.


  1. A very interesting account, Sarah. Vessel traffic (of that size) certainly needs to be predictable. Clearly, the skills and obvious composure of the group contributed significantly to a happy ending. Thanks for sharing. Duncan.

    1. Thanks for that Duncan, yes, it was an interesting paddle, but still enjoyable.

  2. Hi Sarah,

    Sounds like an "interesting" evening paddle - glad it turned out OK for you!

    Just a thought - is there just one channel here? I have a recollection of using a second channel (on a ship) to avoid a tanker manouevring at Hound Point terminal.

    Kind Regards

    1. Hi Ian,
      The boats come out from Braefoot via Mortimer's Deep where they join the North channel before Inchkeith. The other channel is the south channel on the other side of Inchkeith. I reckon the boats from Hound Point would use the North channel. Both channels join between Wemyss and Gullane, but as you say it all turned out OK and was still a good paddle.