Left Amble on the tide. 3 hour trip to
Spent the afternoon watching sea birds (guillies, razorbills, puffins & various gulls) drift or fly by, plus a seal colony (grey not the smaller ones we get down south) on nearby rocks. The seals in a wide range of colour thru white, mottled, to all over dark, were very vocal, & whilst a couple swam round & inspected us, for the most part they were very loth to get wet & as the tide rose there was a lot of pushing & shoving to stay on the highest dryest rock. I have to say that size counts here! We also saw flocks of homo sapiens visit the island. After being disgorged from small boats they stood in patient queues to tour the island whilst the gulls bombarded them, in several senses.
At teatime we moved on the short distance to an anchorage off Lindisfarne (
Went ashore in dinghy. Wandered round harbour, castle, sand dunes, village & priory - interesting & scenic, fairly busy, but only with happy people. St Cuthbert again.
No sooner had we got back on board than the wind started reving again.
Prompt start for sufficient water in channel out of anchorage then a mix of sailing & motoring (where has last night's wind gone?) north up the coast & across Firth of Forth to Arbroath. A small, welcoming locked in harbour with pontoons where the fishing fleet used to be! After a stroll round the Town we discovered the only open resturant, but that was already overflowing, so it was fish & chips on board!
Tidied boat & shopped, then friends - Malcolm & Pixie Moore - who
used to sail out of Levington & now live in
After they left we walked a couple of miles north past a sandy bay & along some cliffs with deep inlets then back by a path slightly back from the beach with views over the Abbey gardens.
Another prompt start from Arbroath because of tide gate
opening times & again a mix of motoring & sailing. We did have a
spell with the kite up though! Arrived Peterhead early evening.
Went in to Peterhead in search of spare fuel filters which we got with considerable help on their part from a firm probably far more used to dealing with trawlers & tugs than yachts. (had realised that the spares had been used for winter service & not replaced).
Usual stroll round town & fish docks. Nice lunch of smoked haddock with poached eggs - new to us.
That evening someone jumped off a newly arrived boat & said 'Hi Sylv' - it was Rob Chapman from the Orwell YC helping
friends deliver their boat to the
4.30 am start. Misty day which got thicker & not much wind. We only 'saw' Rattray Head on the radar, the Moray Firth dolphins failed to show (we think we glimpsed a fin once) & I logged a ray of sunshine at 14.45 - premature as it was gone in the time I took to write it. There were plenty of birds fishing, sitting on the water, the usual gulls, guillies (including razorbills, but I have trouble sorting them out) gannets & puffins, but the highlight was to see a Artic Skua mug a gull. They were very close as the gull was circling the boat & trying to hide behind our rig (making whimpering noises), but was totally out flown by the skua. Wow.
Got to Deer Sound, Orkney Mainland 100nm trip & anchored at 8pm - lots of motoring . The sound was about the width of the river Orwell at Freston & the anchorage about 6 miles down it, all to ourselves. There was a seal colony on the far shore & occasionally one swam round & inspected us.
Lesiurly start enjoying the Sound then a brisk sail - a beat, but nice to
be sailing - on to
Then a quick stroll along
Bus to Stenness & walked to the standing
stones, then to the ring of Brodgar (2 stone circles
within a couple of miles!)
Domestics am then a walk south from
Biked to other neolithic sites, Wideford Cairn & Cuween chambered cairn then to Finstown & round south of West Mainland (Orkney)
A round tuit day.
Hired a car go south via the Churchill Barriers, over Burray
& S Ronaldsay. Looked at the
Italian Chapel on Lamb Holm, amazing artwork inside as it was built by Italian
POW's using scrap material, more silver beaches at Sands of Wright & Scapa Floe from the WW2 batteries at Hoxa
Head. Had lunch at the little ferry town of
Finally back Mull Head (near Deerness Sound where we first anchored) to walk round the Headland, looking at the Gloup - an enormous blow-hole - & an old chapel on the Brough of Deerness, almost cut off from the land.
Looked at St Magnus Cathedral.
Took midday tide the 24 miles to Westray,
Walked from Pierowall to Grobust
beach, then uncharted bit of map to west coast & followed coast path around
Noup head, past 'seabird' city with its vast
tenements of gulls, guillies, gannets
puffins etc. Parking space definately
at a premium on the cliffs. At the lighthouse our path took us past heathland with a colony of Artic terns who decided to buzz
us with a sort of growling cry, despite the fact we were actually on the road.
Then just outside Pierowall another Historic Scotland
site - key from farm opposite -
Moved to Papa Westray & anchored of pier at Moclett.
Walked round most of island, starting with a traditional farm museum, then the oldest known N European dwelling at Knap of Howar (3800BC) with a low entrance that you crawl through - amazing that you can access these sites with no restrictions. Then on along the W coast where we saw skuas (Great & Artic), were buzzed by the terns again, down the E coast, more sandy bays & seals to St Tredwell's chapel - now abandoned - on an islet on an inland loch. Finally past some spitting fulmars (yes they really do, but why nest next door to a style that people must be using several times a day?) & back to the boat.
Early start from anchorage. Some motoring, some sailing, lots of rain, vis poor & picked up several very large tankers on radar before we saw them. The birds entertained again especially the skuas.
73nm trip & early evening tied alongside Scalloway Boating Club's private pontoon. Very friendly Club.
Explore Scalloway - Sundays are not a good day to arrive at new places as most things are closed or limited services
Wet. All day.
Caught the bus to Lerwick & explored. Harbour looked crowded & uncomfortable.
Then walked uphill out of town over the moors & back along the coast. (book said 4 miles, seemed more).
Moved boat to other side of pontoon on our return.
Supper at the
By mid evening forecast gale had arrived with accompanying rain.
Windy start so jobs & round tuits.
Swapped burgees with Scalloway Boating Club - a really welcoming Club.
Sat out at Midnight - there do not seem to be special celebrations for mid Summer's day - but it was certainly light.
Topped up water & diesel watched by a seal who apparently lived in the diesel berth getting backhanders from the fishing fleet, & then sailed just under jib (lazy!) the 7nm to Skeld. Doug immediately found the Shetland's smokehouse (don't tell Mr R) so we shalln't starve. The Voe is steep sided & at the harbour is almost the first time we haven't had a mobile phone signal - you have to walk up the hill.
Walked through Skeld & along the coastal cliffs, bays & fields (we discovered field means hill in Shetland) of Silwick, Westerwick & Culswick. Finally to the granite broch (Iron age fort) of Culswick perched on a mound overlooking the sea cliffs. Suberb location - we saw it from the sea the next day. Then back by a more inland route. The lone farmer we encountered switched his tractor off to engage in conversation. We have discovered we need to add extra time to the walks to allow for these chats - the people are so friendly & interested. (walk about 11 miles)
On again the 21nm to Housa Voe on Papa STOUR (well we had to didn't we?), an island off the western end of Mainland (Shetland). A lovely secluded anchorage with huge stacks & sea caves at its entrance & seals checking on the visitors.
The forecast is good for today then a long period of unsettled so we have decided to head South after looking at the island.
Walked round a large part of Papa Stour - across the airstrip (tuesdays) & uphill, giving a great skua a very wide berth, to Neolithic Chambered cairns or burial chambers, but upsetting the gulls & terns who thought they were their domain. Then round Hamna voe, past some old watermills driven by water funnelled from a inland loch, old crofts & a prehistoric site & back to the boat.
Mid afternoon set sail for
Early evening isle of Foula abeam. Huge towering cliffs with weird stacks some with tunnels through them, & the usual avian tenants.
Some lovely sailing .
At sea. The 'night' barely happened although the sun did set.
& I did the ‘night’ watch in half an hour!
Two visits by (I think) white beaked dolpins in the small hours about an hour apart. Lucky us! In both cases they stayed & played by the bow for about 15 minutes, & we think there were at least six each time but it is very difficult to count them.
Wind light – Doug is fishing!
Changed plans & headed to
On to Stornaway – 50nm
Lots more vessels than we have seen for ages & the military are playing ‘war’ games.
Berthed on quay astern of Northern Lighthouse Board’s vessel Pharos ( we know Patricia – Trinity House)
In Stornaway . Jobs in morning.
Then in afternoon a lovely walk to
On our return moved boat to inner harbour as strong winds forecast for overnight.
for 33nm trip to
Several visits from dolphins, one as we left Stornaway then more as we closed Scalpay.
Walked round the island – about 8.5 miles – to the coast with Bonnie Prince Charlie’s cave (only we never found it), the lighthouse, & highest point (via several bogs).
We had company for most of the way having been picked up early on by 2, & then a 3rd dog. When we thought they might be deterred by a style they were over it ahead of us & we finally gave up & politely held gates open for them .
We felt a bit guilty when we got in the dinghy & they looked very dejected. I hope their owners weren’t expecting a long walk that evening.