Fretting in the Fog

When the relatively warm moist air flows from the north sea towards land and colder waters, the cooling process forms what is termed Advection Fog, otherwise known as Haar or Fret.
Alone and out of sight of land, in some localised lumpy water where the south going stream was running against a swell of around 3ft, I found I was fretting a little too.
Launching from Catterline Bay (south of Stonehaven and Aberdeen), the visibility was poor but much better than it soon became.
I paddled north, passing arches and caves amongst the the charismatic conglomerate cliffs, still teaming with birds including a few puffins, though the casualties of the breeding season littered the sea's surface; old gannets, their last summer spent, hung amongst the waves while fledgling gulls too weak to survive their first months were hacked at by their larger brethren.
Passing inside a narrow channel, I soon came across a seal colony and stayed awhile as their curiosity got the better of their caution.
Others were content to snort at a respectable distance.
The old men of the sea...
...and the young alike seem tired of the dreich day.
Passing Bowdun Head, I paddled further off shore, surfing against the Spring tide on the swell, steepened by the flow. It seemed I was making good progress but on checking for a mark on the cliffs there was nothing but the swirling fog, waves and water meeting at sea level, no horizon and no reference points; I felt suddenly unbalanced, and cut back across the flow. It took some time for the cliffs to appear, a murky dark smudge growing from the fog as I fretted. I started the return leg soon after, passing beneath Dunnottar Castle though I could see no more than about 10m up the cliffs, moving quickly with the tide.
A spectacular arch, the roof lined with large rounded rocks that appeared poised to fall, lead to a calm bay where I took a last break on this eerie paddle, emerging beneath the pier at Catterline and returning it seemed, to the world.


Ian said…
Hi Will,

What a coincidence! I was out on Saturday from Catterline, but heading south to Johnshaven. The haar came in about 1230 and at Inverbervie the visibility was down to a cable, the VHF full of yachties reporting their position to the CG. An hour later I was back in blazing sunshine as the haar burned off. Better than the torrential rain today!
Will Herman said…
Hi Ian,
I would have contacted you but it was a last minute thing on my way south...the fog was unbelievably thick at times that day - vis' down to 10m at times!
Alberto Blank said…
Hi Will!

That beautiful places!

greetings from south Brazil

Alberto Blank
Will Herman said…
Hi Alberto - Que bom que vocĂȘ gosta!