Sailing The Tay 3



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And in the morning we saw some of the things we failed to hit on our way up – but no worries Katie is tough enough to bounce off most of them

we cast off with the first of the flood and let the incoming tide sweep us up the earn – bouncing and scraping our way along the river bed.

This little stretch of water, the earn, is the jewel in the crown of scottish east coast rivers. We spent an utterly magical morning drifting up this sparkling little waterway towards the bridge at the top –

I count my blessings for the day I found Jill. Her father was in the navy so she came fully trained in all things nautical, how to hold a course, row a dinghy, cook in a tiny space, drive a landrover – tow a big trailer – and she also seems perfectly accepting of a husband who disappears on a boat for weeks or months on end. What more could I ask.

Drifting on a calm summers day up a new to me estuary on a tide with a bit of spring about it is one of my real pleasures. Katie I foot draft with her centre plate up and rudder almost raised there are not many underwater obstructions that can do us much damage. I do no more than use the incoming current to sweep us inland – using a bit of genoa to keep us out of the shallows and away from the mast snagging overhanging trees – if I fail with the sail then I apply a few strokes with the paddle to get her pointing towards the deeper water and the best of the current.

. The earn meanders in every direction of the compass so the gentle wind is all over the shop. There ahead in the water you can see where the incoming tide is changing the surface of the water.

If she starts running backwards then that is all part of the fun – as long as the plate and rudder up kept out of the way.

. After an hour or two of this cruising nirvana I start to get a real feel for this enchanting little waterway.

It is along these a semi-tidal stretches of the Tay system that the pure peaty fresh water from the mountains and glens of scotland meets, mingles and then blends with the crystal clear northern latitude salt laden sea water that comes surging up here with every tide.

It is to here, to this shallow boulder strewn riverbed where the brachish semi salted , yet still clear water, is always on the move,

that the salmon come.

They linger for days on the downcurrent side of the boulders which are strewn across the riverbed. These semi-pellagic sea fish have to undertake the ticklishly challenging physioligical trick of transitioning from wide ranging salt water fish to one that can exist in the shallow fresh water tinkling streams of Scotland where they come to spawn.

This is where the rich blokes. who pay £5,000 a rod, will try to temp the all but comatose salmon who are not a bit interested in eating to snatch at cunningly contrived artifical flies made of bird feather, ocelot hair and verdigrease.

And finally to the Bridge of earn. I would have liked to have gone further up in the dinghy…. maybe another day, another year, another life.

our dawdling up the earn had meant that we were in an unseemly rush to get through the unpredictable shallows and banks of the mini bar formed where the earn drains into the tay

And the worst sound Katie ever makes is when the single 6 hp cylinder of the tohatsu is being tortured in an effort to meet a tidal gate.

So, the journey was completed with the help of a pair of noise cancelling headphones. Which miraculously transformed this ungodly racket – into this.



This is about KTL 11 Sailing the Tay.

14 Responses to “Sailing The Tay 3”

  1. 29 November, 2018 at 1:16 pmSven lundén says:

    Dancing with the river!

  2. 29 November, 2018 at 8:19 pmHerman says:


    Having seen both versions, my vote definitively goes to the one with commentary.
    As for including music, I would propose a compromise: stick to surrounding audio as long as you’re sailing (with a sail, that is, it always stikes me as somewhat odd that ‘sailing’ in English also covers being underway while using an engine) or drifting. Then use gentle music to cover the racket produced by the outboard – as you have done in this one, at least in the first part.
    The second part, if I’m honest, struck me as being rather ridiculous. After all, the whole – and indeed the only – point of drifting seems to be that one can enjoy the peace and quiet of a lovely little river. Turning it into a speeded-up sort of slapstick for me at least does not add anything of worth.
    Nevertheless – thank you for yet another excellent impression of a day on the water.
    I will click the Paypall buttons…

    Cheers, Herman

    • 29 November, 2018 at 8:46 pmdylan winter says:

      I agree H,

      Ideally I would have enough time in a place to be able to sail both up and down each Firth with good light. Good light is something you have to wait for. I agree, the engine is an abomination, The noise cancelling headphones help a bit. I now have an electric one – whiney bugger.

      I left the speeded up bit in because it demonstrates the techniques I use when drifting up a river with the incoming tide.

      It also has a second purpose which is to get people to linger for watching the letters being scraped off. The looming end of the the project informs the way I am editing the material.

      Interestingly the stats show that it is 41 to 17 for views. Of course when watching on a computer you can dip in and out more easily. AS TV is harder to manage.

      Do you think you are more likely to just watch the first eight minutes of this on and then go onto something else.

      It is an experiment worth doing I think.


  3. 29 November, 2018 at 9:31 pmApplescruffs says:

    Nice and peaceful, the dolcet tones of Mr Winter in my ear and a well chosen piece of music to play out on.

    Yher … my kind of KTL.

    For me, I enjoy watching the ‘river’ films more than the coastal ones, dunno why, I guess it’s the type of landscape I’m familiar with, but I probably won’t watch the film without commentry, but here’s an idea….

    You could market them as travelogue ‘kareoke’ !

    the viewer could extemporise their own commentry as the film is playing…

    I might just watch the other film now and have a go ! And no I won’t send you a recording of my efforts.


    As ever a well thought out production and as for proclaiming undying love on camera for the lady in your life…

    You must be after something.. let me guess… is it about 25 foot long and generally green?

    Seriously, it’s a nice touch that you really appreciate her part in this odyssey, it takes a special person to say that publicly.



  4. 2 December, 2018 at 8:23 pmJohn Harrington says:

    Much prefer your comments. The blokes that don’t like your soothing voice do have volume control.

    Keep it up!

    P.S. I’m an admitted cheap bastard, so my giving shows how much I enjoy your videos.

    • 2 December, 2018 at 8:34 pmdylan winter says:

      everyone can have everything – woo hoo ! It is the modern way!

      and I am hoping that people are more likely to re-watch one without a commentary

      as for your tap ….every journey starts with a single step

      each according to his means and inclinations


      PS – by chipping in you are among the elite three per cent of altruistic old fellahs

  5. 7 December, 2018 at 5:14 amChristine Hammell says:

    Did you get the cheque ? I don’t think it’s come off my account ? Thanks, as ever, for the videos

  6. 9 December, 2018 at 7:44 pmEd LeBlanc says:

    I enjoyed your version with you narrating, best. You are a wonderful journalist. Thank you, thank you for all you have shared with us, your loyal crew of old blokes who love your travelogues. Good luck for an uneventful towing back down south of your boat. Keep going, please. Wishing you, and your dear Jill, a delightful Christmas season. Cheers, Ed

  7. 10 December, 2018 at 11:20 pmPeter says:

    Hi Dylan, is it somehow possible to watch again with more resolution? Although it says 1000p, too much compression. I used to be able to view with way more resolution, e.g. during Orkneys, but now those also became less. Vimeo just a littlebit better, but still not enjoyable.

    • 11 December, 2018 at 9:31 pmPeter says:

      O, what a joy. I have no clue how, but the resolution issue overhere is suddenly solved. Lots to catch up.

      • 11 December, 2018 at 9:36 pmdylan winter says:

        that is good – computers are very confusing things – you can do things the same way twice and it comes out differently – odd stuff also happens with bandwidth… sorry to have let you down

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