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Archive of entries posted on June 2012

About Turn

Fulmar

Fulmar

Lichen & Thrift

Lichen & Thrift

Hoy Head

Hoy Head

We set off from North Ronaldsay for Fair Isle but soon found ourselves in rough seas and making slow progress into a strong NE wind. Our patience finally cracked after weeks of such conditions so we turned around, temporarily abandoning thoughts of Shetland. After a day at Pierowall, Westray (a favourite place) we had the wind with us to head south to Stromness, then Kinlochbervie. A close encounter near Cape Wrath with a large coaster which ignored the collision regulations relating to an overtaking vessel gave some excitement to that lengthy trip. We are now safely down in Lochinver, where Arctica will lie for a spell while we catch up on things at home.

Kirkwall

Standing Stones of Stenness

Standing Stones of Stenness

Whalebone Sculpture

Whalebone Sculpture

We spent a week in Kirkwall marina, using it as a base for exploring the Mainland and southern isles, both by bus and hired car. The wind continued to blow steady and cold from the NE with occasional showers, making the prospect of sailing to the northern isles unattractive for Innes and Janice – city folk not used to the motion of a yacht. Around the town, visiting the cathedral, museum, library, bookshops and supermarkets kept us all occupied. We also had a lengthy fruitless search for a new deck plug for the masthead lights which, despite pre-launch checking, were refusing to work. A temporary repair has now been effected. On Sunday night we had dinner and a very enjoyable evening at the home of friends Ann and Ken, who now live in Kirkwall. It was good to get on the move again as we left the marina early this morning and set course for North Ronaldsay – our first visit to the island, the most northerly in Orkney. There is good anchorage on sand off the pier, but the bay is subject to a constant swell, which is a bit tiresome.

Stromness

Mute Swan'sNest

Mute Swan’sNest

Login's Well, Stromness

Login’s Well, Stromness

Stromness Harbour

Stromness Harbour

We crossed to the east side of Scapa Flow and briefly looked in to St Margaret’s Hope, the Orkney terminal of the John o’ Groats high speed ferry. Although the village is attractive, the anchorage is less so, being very shallow and requiring lying a fair way off it. Burray has a well sheltered bay close to one of the Churchill Barriers. There is a good walk round to Hunda Sound and back by the Ayre, where swans are nesting. St Mary’s Bay gave another nice anchorage once we got the anchor to set in the gravelly bottom. We spent two nights in the welcoming Stromness marina. The town was very busy with the Folk Festival, with virtually all events sold out, but there was a good afternoon session outside the Ferry Inn. The excellent little museum has lots of interest regarding the whaling trade, the Hudson’s Bay Co and John Rae, the under-recognised Arctic explorer, discoverer of the final link in the North West passage and the fate of the lost Franklin Expedition. We are now in Kirkwall, looking forward to the arrival of Innes and Janice for a short holiday with us.