Moray 3 – Tain Bar

If you wish to watch this film in HD it is  available  by clicking on this paypal button.

$1 to download or stream in HD

Upon  payment it will immediately give you the URL of a the high definition page.


That night it blew a real good one but we were hard aground in the harbour so katie squatted stolidly on portsoys sandy bottom

by the next morning the front had blown through and all was peace and quiet once more

As soon as katie was afloat we paddled out – heading along this wonderful 30 mile stretch of south shore – which is just a tiny portion of the estimated 400 miles of Moray coast

The Moray is all cliffs, rocks intrigueing little coves and stunningly beautiful beaches that can stretch further than the eye can see.

The moray is the biggest of all the scottish east coast mega firths . a full 70 miles wide across the mouth and thrusting deep, deep inland. Dozens of rivers and streams including the the spey, the Ness, the conan and the Beuly drain into the Moray bringing huge amounts of sediment down from the plains and mountains of Northern scotland but the glacier scraped Moray is 600 feet deep in places so it will never fill before the next ice age comes along and the mighty great glen glacier returns like an angry houseproud giant and shoves all the outwashed litter of rocks and sand further out into the north sea.

The Moray geology is mind bendingly complex – the fault of the great glen runs though this area of sedimentary rocks which have been transformed by once molten granite incursions like fat marbling through a piece of good beef.. This has all been re-shaped by the recurring central belt glacier and sea levels that have bobbed up and down through the millenia long before man pitched up here.

After following this delectable coast for 30 miles we turned north across to the Dornoch firth where we planned to find a nice sandy peaceful spot on which to park Katie for the night.

The Dornoch has a wonderful entrance – Tucked away behind the slightly sinister promontary of Tarbet ness is an entrancing labyrinth of gracefully sculptured sand banks – as perfectly formed as physics can ever make them.

I began to feel at home putting in late shore side tacks made only when scraping sigh of centre plate on sugar textured scottish granite sand gave warning of shelving water.

As an east anglian shallow sailor I began to feel in my element –

I could have played for hours but it was getting late in the evening and after 14 hours of sailing Jill was ready to stop.

so we tucked in behind Tain bar, dropped the hook into four feet of clear water with a nearly complete 360 degrees of shelter and settled in for the night...

the next morning... well what could be nicer than to slide the hatch back and find yourself in a place like Tain inlet.

We walked around a bit and breathed in the wonder of it all.

as the tide started to invade our place of sand and certainty we returned to the boat to breakfast on toast and marmalade while watching the twice daily miracle unfold around and undeneath us.

Tides are amazing things – some ancient cultures thought that they were powered by a seaweed draped neptune style over the horizon jolly green giant who gently breathed the water back and forth. Us modernists are too sophisticated for such beliefs – we now know that tides are caused by water molecules talking with the molecules a quarter of a million miles away on the moon . scientists tell us that something called god particles are involved in this process – a theory which I find is barely more credible than the now widely debunked water breathing big man nonsense.

As soon as Katies keels kissed goodbye to the sandy tidal bed of the Tain we headed out back around Tarbet head and into the expanses of the Moray. Despite the current calm the weather man was promising a bit of a northerly blow the coming night so we laid a course for the excellent shelter and twee little shops of lossiemouth on the south sore of the Mighty moray.

just as we turned west along the shore dodging the endless nets and pots three dolphins turned up –

we were only doing two knots with the tide and they started a little slap dance – for us, for each other, for the fishes – dunno. I have asked around and not got a good replay as to what you see unfolding.

When we turned south towards lossie mouth the northerly started to get behind us and Katie powered through the growing swell...

By the time we got close to the Lossie shore it was starting to get a bit nasty and I was very pleased once we made it safely through the harbour entrance – which was far too rough and splashy to risk running the camera.

That night the wind got a bit serious but we were safe and snug and warm and dry inside this lovely little haven. I sleep very well when stormbound in a safe harbours. Wonderful.



This is about KTL 12 Moray Firth, Sailing around Britain.

20 Responses to “Moray 3 – Tain Bar”

  1. 5 January, 2019 at 9:38 amApplescruffs says:

    Strange behaviour from the Dolphins, maybe they could smell the eggs and bacon frying and hoped some scraps be coming their way !

    That last shot looks nice and cosy with the storm blowing outside…mmmmm…toastie.

    Anyone out there know why the dolphins slap their tails…. it looked a bit half hearted so I’m guessing it’s not meant to be a threatening thing ?

    All the best,


  2. 6 January, 2019 at 8:38 amSteve says:

    …’nother goody, Dylan… the tail slapping intrigued me as well.. loads of stuff on Google but like you, it mostly says “communication method”

  3. 6 January, 2019 at 2:44 pmJacob K. says:

    I think the dolphins use this technique to assist their echolocation of prey in or on the seabed – they use another frequency that the can produce in their “nose” and so get another range – so perhaps they can better “see” through the mud or sand. It looks rather shallow in that area. Or they just use the noise to see if they can stirr up prey that is hiding on the seabed. They clearly know what they are doing – and it doesn’t really seem like communication to me.
    Nice film – I get a few unclear spots from time to time though – and some holes in the sound the first time I watched it – maybe it is my internet connection or the use of another camera/resolution.

  4. 7 January, 2019 at 10:23 amDavid Ellis says:

    Lovely as always. When you anchored were you in the inlet that runs towards Inver? I’m moving to Lossiemouth this season and hope to explore around there.

  5. 7 January, 2019 at 4:34 pmDave Barker says:

    Maybe the dolphins were impatiently tapping their tails trying to encourage you to go faster? One of them seemed to be snorting with derision! Only joking, that’s some of the best footage of dolphins I’ve seen in a long while. Thanks again, Dylan.

  6. 7 January, 2019 at 10:40 pmTim says:

    Good timing getting into Lossiemouth just before the weather turned nasty.

    Noticed how Gill gave you the third egg…
    They don’t make wives like that anymore!

  7. 8 January, 2019 at 9:07 pmdylan winter says:

    we are so lucky with our weather forecasts – accurate almost to the hour

  8. 8 January, 2019 at 9:07 pmdylan winter says:

    inver is in a later film

  9. 9 January, 2019 at 10:06 amDavid Ellis says:

    Thanks, look forward to it.

  10. 9 January, 2019 at 9:12 pmTim says:

    Where do you get your weather forecasts from?
    I use;0.617;10&l=pressure

  11. 9 January, 2019 at 11:31 pmdylan winter says:

    windguru is my favourite – it also tells me what the light will be like

  12. 10 January, 2019 at 7:33 amdylan winter says:

    thanks for thanking

  13. 14 January, 2019 at 4:02 pmSue Schofield says:

    I agree with Dave Barker, I think the dolphins were telling you to go faster and give them a proper race! Great filming and good balance of wildlife/geography/water sculpture. On reflection better without the music. I got a bit lost with where you were going in the firth so a rough felt pen route on one of the google maps would help but most of all I want to know what month and year these films are. You said summer but I could see snow on the mountains in one shot. Do you withhold the date of your films for a reason?
    Well done anyway. Fab.

  14. 17 January, 2019 at 11:13 pmdylan winter says:

    Good question – about the date. I like to think that the films stand for themselves – as a slice of indeterminate time. Scottish weather is so capricious that the month plus or minus 90 days seems to make no odds.

  15. 20 January, 2019 at 10:58 pmSimon Ellis says:

    I liked the photo of the group of marching waders on the knobbly sand, where the first two were beautifully in step – excellent! And also the one that illustrates that the sight of the eggs n’ bacon nicely sizzling in a ship’s galley can get the average sailor going better than any of Pavlov’s pooches.

  16. 23 January, 2019 at 8:05 amdylan winter says:

    I did eat egg bacon twice while editing the film – the power of self autosuggestion

  17. 8 February, 2019 at 2:20 pmBen Fraser says:

    Hi Dylan,

    I asked biologist friend who has observed the Moray Firth dolphins for most of her life what she thought about the tail slapping. She said she believes tail slapping like that is usually an acoustic and percussive display to the other dolphins- it’s likely they were ‘flirting’ a little with each other before mating. But I f you get really aggressive tail slapping it’s a sign of annoyance either to each other or a boat.

    Lovely film,


  18. 8 February, 2019 at 2:32 pmdylan winter says:

    It was the classic dolphin menage a trois – two large ones (males) and a smaller female – being squeezed and flirted with. A few years ago I made a radio prog about the moray dolphins – to us humans the two on one seems rather odd – but as the wildlife expert explained – for mammals having sex in the water is quite a challenge because there is nothing to push against – unless you can enlist the help of a good friend to steady things up a bit. That seems to make sense to me – and puts a new light on two males and one female.


    Thanks for liking the film

  19. 21 September, 2019 at 8:26 amGeorge says:

    The dolphins do seem to be attracted to Katie. I wonder if if its because her hull colour is a similar tone to their skin, and they’re slapping to defend territory. I used to drive a white van onto a farm, the geese would go crazy. The farmer told me they thought it was a giant goose!

Leave a Reply