Top ten alternative British boating bases

Look beyond the typical South coast boating bases and there are plenty of welcoming harbours that offer some delightful experiences

Inverness Seaport

Scotland’s east coast is off the normal cruising map but has some delightful corners worth exploring.

The Moray Firth is a wide triangular bight in the far north-east, which I hardly registered until we made a landfall here from Norway a few years ago.

Arriving off Fraserburgh, we followed the south shore in warm sunshine past rolling hills, small fishing harbours and the mouths of tumbling salmon rivers.

Fifty miles from Fraserburgh, the Firth funnels in towards Inverness, where we locked into the outer pool of the Caledonian Canal and moored for a night with panoramic estuary views.

08-Seaport-marina-03Next morning we passed a railway swing bridge into Muirtown Basin and leafy Seaport Marina (pictured above).

This, we thought, would be a splendid base for a season or two, with easy access out to the Moray Firth or along the Caledonian Canal to the great mountain vistas of Loch Ness and the smaller linked lochs leading right through the Great Glen to the West Coast.

What an opulent cruising menu, and the Moray Firth has a warmer climate and more hours of sunshine than anywhere else in Scotland.

08-Muirtown-basin-02Berthing: Seaport Marina in Muirtown Basin (pictured above) or Inverness Marina

Getting there: Seaport is 530 miles from Bristol M4/M5 interchange and 550 miles from M25/M1. Alternatively, the train takes about 8hrs from King’s Cross. Many flights serve Inverness, from there it’s a 25-minute taxi to Seaport.

Pilot book: North and East Scotland by Martin Lawrence

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