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Archive of entries posted on May 2009

Fair Isle

Fair Isle | Click photo to enlarge

Originally uploaded by arctica

We were disappointed to find that the Bird Observatory was not only
closed but also largely demolished. A replacement is going to built on
the same site and should be ready for next season. In glorious weather,
we walked right round the island and climbed Ward Hill. A highlight of
the day for locals and visitors alike was the arrival of two Shetland
Ponies on the Good Shepherd. The outward trip to Sumburgh had seen a
scrapped car sent off on its final trip. Strong southerly winds
overnight brought intermittent showers the next day and we managed short
walks in the dry spells. At 0600 the next morning three yachts left for
Shetland, passing the Polar Star, an adventure cruise ship, anchored out
off North Haven. Although winds were now light, there was a residual sea
running in the notorious area between Fair Isle and Shetland, but the
Sumburgh roost was not in evidence. We anchored in Grutness Voe just off
Sumburgh Airport, well sheltered from the next blow from the south.


Westray | Click photo to enlarge

Originally uploaded by arctica

On leaving Rousay we called in at Egilsay and visited the remains of St.
Magnus’ Church where in the 12th century Magnus, joint Earl of Orkney,
was treacherously murdered by his cousin and joint Earl Hakon. Then on
to Westray in beautiful weather, and straight off for Fitty Hill, the
highest point of the island, where we found many nests of gulls,
oystercatchers, fulmars and a goose. The next day, armed with detailed
directions, we set off in search of Primula Scotica, a tiny, very rare
flower which grows in a few scattered locations. The walk included a
visit to the Wheeling Steen Gallery, a superb place with wonderful
artwork, photography and coffee shop. On Sunday, after a walk to Noup
Head, Alison left us for the return journey to Inverness

Kirkwall and Northwards

Kirkwall and Northwards | Click photo to enlarge

Originally uploaded by arctica

On our return to Kirkwall (photo of Old Harbour with spire of St Magnus
Cathedral behind) we found that summer temperatures had not yet arrived,
but after a day of boat chores we were rewarded with warm sunshine.
There was a sudden flurry of activity in the marina as local boat-owners
turned out to make ready for the season. We were joined by Andrew and
Alison for a few days and immediately set off for a walk from Finstown
back to Kirkwall over the tops of Keelylang Hill and Wideford Hill. We
were caught in a lengthy shower, but a fine evening ensued. Today we
left Kirkwall and motored north to Rousay, where the flat calm
conditions allowed us to berth at the pier. An easy ascent of Blotchnie
Fiold, the highest hill, saw us in afternoon showers again – this
weather pattern seems established with more of the same expected
tomorrow. Our next port of call will be Westray, where we look forward
to a feast of dressed Orkney crab – ordered today and fresh landed tomorrow.

Orkney Sunset

Orkney Sunset | Click photo to enlarge

Originally uploaded by arctica

An Orkney sunset seems an apt way to sign off this blog for a couple of
weeks. We are off to the South of France to join Caroy at the start of
her passage back to the UK through the French canal system. Temperatures
there are around the 70s – a world of a difference from those prevailing
in the Northern Isles. Hopefully, summer weather will have reached there
by the time of our return.