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Archive of entries posted on May 2006

Scalloway




Scalloway

Originally uploaded by arctica.

We tied up alongside the Scalloway Boating Club pontoon and were made very welcome. It was the evening of a sea-fishing competition and a bag of lovely fresh pollack was put aboard for us while we were in the bar. Scalloway is the ancient capital of Shetland but, other than a large harbour and a ruined castle, seems to have little of interest for the visitor – except the little Shetland Bus museum, when open. There are some pleasant walks, though. Next day, we were joined by ‘Ice Maiden’, 49ft go-anywhere steel sloop, sister ship to ‘Maiden’ which raced round the world with Tracy Edwards and an all-women crew some years ago. Ice Maiden has been south to South Georgia and north to Spitsbergen, and we have just realised that Shetland is nearer to the North Pole than South Georgia is to the South Pole. With the strong, cold wind today, we can believe it!

Fair Isle




Fair Isle

Originally uploaded by arctica.

Fair Isle lies midway between Orkney and Shetland, but is a ‘must see’
destination in its own right, so we spent a few days there enjoying the peace and tranquility, bird life, landscape/seascape and sunshine. As you see, we were berthed in the North Haven next to the island’s lifeline vessel the ‘Good Shepherd’. Fair Isle is Britain’s most isolated inhabited island – population approx. 70 – with life (other than the Bird Observatory) mainly based around traditional crofting supplemented with various craft activities. The coastline is very rugged with geos, cliffs, stacks and skerries all around, with the shoreline easily accessible in only a few places. We enjoyed a slide show on South Georgia at the Observatory last night and this afternoon left for Shetland. We are now in Scalloway and looking forward to exploring the west coast of Shetland before making for Lerwick.

Orkney




Orkney

Originally uploaded by arctica.

We sailed on past Handa, then had a sudden man-overboard drill as the dinghy painter parted. Despite the wind, the dinghy drifted away slower than expected, and we were able to down sail and motor back for it in good style. We spent the night in Kinlochbervie, a pale shadow of a once busy fishing harbour, being the first yacht of the year to call. From there we made the 13 hour passage round Cape Wrath and across to Orkney. Since then we have sunbathed in Stromness, bussed across to Kirkwall, and visited the Scapa Flow anchorages of Houton, St Mary’s, St Margaret’s Hope (photo) and Burray (beside the Churchill Barrier). At St Margaret’s Hope, on South Ronaldsay, we cycled the length and breadth of the island and had a fine dinner at The Creel restaurant, run by Alan Craigie, Scotland’s Restaurant Chef of the Year 2006. Now back in Stromness, we plan to go west-about round the Mainland and into Kirkwall in the face of a deteriorating weather forecast.

ON PAST THE OLD MAN OF STOER




ON PAST THE OLD MAN OF STOER

Originally uploaded by arctica.

On passage from Tanera Mor (Summer Isles) to Lochan Saile (Badcall) we took Arctica close inshore for this photo of the Old Man of Stoer. It being Saturday we hoped to see climbers, but were disappointed. However, a fixed traverse rope from the shore side remains in place. There is always an extra frisson of excitement on entering an anchorage for the first time, and so it was with Lochan Saile. The approach from Eddrachillis Bay is through a scattering of islands and islets, past narrows with a central reef, then a final turn in to a sheltered pool, well protected by reefs. Here we are enjoying the proximity of red throated divers and greylag geese.

OOPS!




OOPS!

Originally uploaded by arctica.

The skipper of a neighbouring yacht, obviously suffering more from cabin fever than we were, took “Judicious” out for an evening spin (or to seek the end of the rainbow over at Kyle?) but took an injudicious course across the old ferry slip and ran aground very publicly. Fortunately, it was around low water and the only damage was his acute embarrassment – he floated off again an hour later. We gave the slip a wide berth on leaving the next morning!

KYLEAKIN




KYLEAKIN

Originally uploaded by arctica.

The Mate rejoined ship after a free bus trip up from Glasgow. On a dreich day of mist and rain we bussed to Portree to replenish stores,
and sat out a second day of frequent showers, some of hail. As the photo shows, it is an attractive place to lie, alongside a pontoon under the ruins of Dunollie Castle with Loch Duich and the hills of Kintail to the east.