Passage to Stornoway

The next morning we left Kirkwall and went round to Holm Cove where anchored for the night. This enabled us to get the tide right for the run through the Pentland Firth with its strong tidal streams.

We anchored with another kiwi boat and had coffee with them before leaving the next morning.

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We ran through the Pentland Firth with the tidal stream, making a new top speed of 14.8 kts with the engine at 1350 RPM. The previous best was going through Hells Gate at 13.3 kts.

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That night we anchored in Loch Eriboll at NW corner of Scotland.

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The next day we crossed the North Minch and arrived at Stornoway.

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Churchill Barriers

Continuing the drive we went east of Kirkwall. We crossed the Churchill Barriers, built during WWII after U47 penetrated the defences and sank the Royal Oak with heavy loss of life. Given the tides running it must have been some job.

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We had a sandwich at St Margaret’s Hope with the view below.

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Before driving back through the countryside and eventually overlooking Kirkwall.

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St. Magnus Cathedral

This magnificent Cathedral is in the centre of Kirkwall, once on the seashore but now a little inland. It was built by the some of the same team who built Durham Cathedral which we have also visited.

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St. Magnus was murdered for political reasons but his grave became known for miracles and in 1137 his uncle commenced building the cathedral to house his remains.

A few years ago I read a book on a great arctic explorer named John Rae who was born in the Orkneys. “Fatal Passage: The story of John Rae, the Arctic hero time forgot.”

His mausoleum is in this cathedral which was a nice find.

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Opposite the cathedral is a great museum detailing Orkney history, well worth a visit.

Kirkwall

We arrived and were all tied up in Kirkwall by 1600 so had a quick walk up the road, got some lovely lamb chops, a bottle of my favourite whisky – Clynelish and a rich whisky fruit cake. Things you miss when travelling!

Clynelish is relatively hard to find and this was the first time I had seen it since leaving the UK in April. I always rate whisky shops on whether they stock it or not, most fail but the ‘The Brig’ in Kirkwall passed the test.

Here is a light house on the approaches to Kirkwall and a stately home on the same island as the lighthouse.

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Fair Isle

After a relaxing and pleasant 5 days in Lerwick we left for Kirkwall in the Orkneys. A day cruise with nice conditions and only a low SE’ly swell to roll us a bit. This is Fair Isle, the home of Fair Isle sweaters, right in the middle of the channel between the Shetlands and the Orkneys. Harbour a bit tight for us but very good for bird watching and wool.

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Lerwick

Back in the UK after almost 5 months away. Made very welcome with an easy entry. We were berthed next to the ferry berth to Bressay so had a constant stream of people having a look and a chat. The ferry crew were great and were always full of advice and the odd helping hand.

Lerwick is a lovely town, clean and friendly. We had Scottish Fish and Chips on arrival – best in the world.

There is no unemployment in the Shetlands and I was amazed to see a paper with 2 pages of jobs advertised.

Some photos.

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This is the ferry coming in across our stern.

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