My partner and I headed down the coast to Elie yesterday to go sailing with a chap I met at a bus stop at the west end of Edinburgh. I had my golf clubs and this interesting looking gentleman in a boiler suit asked if I was going up to play in St Andrews. I wasn’t actually, as I was just in the process of carting my gear on my pilgramage to my new flat there. He was on his way to go painting. Anyway we got chatting and turns out he is a retired diplomat called Charles, who has a wee pad in St Monans and a wee boat in Elie harbour. I told him I had a fancy for creel fishing and learning a bit more about seafaring, so he invited me (us) out yesterday.
Now Charles turns out to be a bit of a character to say the least. He has been in staying in a treehouse overnight in Tyningham, with his grandchildren, and is up with his artist niece, Rowena.
We get there at 1pm and after a quick, but unsuccessful bite, in the Ship Inn, (famed for new owners turning away Jordan Spieth at last year’s Open on the basis that they were full, ‘as there was a golf tournament going on in St Andrews!’), and a reasonable pint of Black IPA, we headed to the harbour where we see some chap shouting and waving eagerly from this rather old fashioned little sailing boat just off the shore. It is Charles and he indicates that he will meet us at the pontoon. I don’t know what a pontoon is, or indeed where it is, but presume it’s somewhere adjacent to the harbour. And I don’t know why but I suddenly feel I’m in a scene of a film that is a cross between Para Handy and Three Men in a Boat.
I had to go and get a lifejacket from Angus at the sailing school and he intimates that if I am in my right mind going out with Charles. Of course its all good jibing fun , but Charles did tell me that he had a wee bit of a cap size on his boat way back from fishing last year.
After a few unsuccessful attempts to get the motor started we set off and get the sails up just outside the harbour. Unfortunately, we weren’t blessed with a stiff wind, came to a standstill and had to resort to the motor again. Only the motor wouldn’t start and we kind of were heading towards rocks, And then from around the corner, out of the blue, came a RNLI boat which was heading straight for us, It was miraculous. We had only been there for about 5minutes and suddenly we were being rescued by the full compliment of the Anstruther based lifeboat crew. Charles looked a tad perplexed and marginally embarrassed,
However, we then got the motor started and were kind of semi escorted round the bay a bit by the said lifeboat. Turns out it was on a training exercise. However, it had caused serious amusement to half of Elie as there were few boats out that day and we were rather the focus of attention.
What a fun day and trip. Priceless actually. Next time I hope Charles will show me how to lay creels, and we get a bit of a breeze and that The Ship Inn will up it’s game.