Inspired by reading the Novel The Watter’s Mou’ by Bram Stoker which is set in Port Erroll, I went to the harbour with my camera at dawn one late December morning.
My attention had been drawn to this, the third novel of the writer of Dracula, by Paul S McAlduff, the South Korea based owner of the websie www.bramstoker.org. Paul had contacted me because of one of my posts on this blog where I had wondered about the original course of the Water of Cruden. [A Missing Burn] Paul told me that Stoker mentions the diverting of the original line of the Water of Cruden in his novel and calls the burn whose name I was seeking the “Back Burn”. When the weather is better I plan to vist the Old Water Moo and compare it to Stoker’s descriptions. But for the moment I decided to concentrate on the harbour and the passage in his book describing a fishing boat involved in smuggling, making a desperate but successful atempt to make harbour in a storm.
Closer and closer came the Sea Gull, running for the port with a speed and recklessness that set both the smugglers and the preventive men all agog. Such haste and such indifference to danger sprang, they felt, from no common cause, and they all came to the conclusion that the boat, delayed by the storm, discovered by the daylight, and cut off by the revenue cutter, was making a desperate push for success in her hazard. And so all, watchers and watched, braced themselves for what might come about. ……..
Closer and closer came the Sea Gull, lying down to the scuppers as she tacked; lightened as she was she made more leeway than was usual to so crank a boat. At last she got her head in the right direction for a run in, and, to the amazement of all who saw her, came full tilt into the outer basin, and, turning sharply round, ran into the inner basin under bare poles.
There was not one present, smuggler or coastguard, who did not set down the daring attempt as simply suicidal. In a few seconds the boat stuck on the sandbank accumulated at the western end of the basin and stopped, her bows almost touching the side of the pier. The coastguards had not expected any such manoeuvre, and had taken their place on either side of the entrance to the inner basin, so that it took them a few seconds to run the length of the pier and come opposite the boat.
The Watter’s Mou’ (Chapter IV) 1895
No stormy wind this morning, just the occasional wave splashing on on the rocks and the harbour wall. But I could just picture the little sailing boat making a desperate left turn into the inner basin and grounding on the bank of sand that marks its furtherst end.
The dogs had been very patient while I wandered about trying to capture the mood of the water on this winter morning. Their reward, a scamper on the beach. We were all satisfied!