Stromness


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Stromness, on Mainland in the Orkney Islands, was once a major provisioning stop for Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) ships heading to and from Canada, and a major source of labour for the company. By the late eighteenth century, three quarters of the HBC’s Canadian workforce were from the Orkney Islands. The town has real character, with quirky alleys that wind up and down the hills between the houses and a narrow main street looks little changed since the HBC days.

From St. Margaret’s Hope, we took an hour-long bus direct to Stromness and spent the day exploring the town and taking in the view across Hoy Sound.

Below are trip highlights from October 4th, 2017. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at http://mvdirona.com/maps

 

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Stromness Marina

This is the Stromness marina—the docks are all lashed together, presumably to secure them in the big winds as there are no pilings. We’d investigated coming here for the big storm, but we’re not comfortable putting Dirona on a dock without pilings in big winds since seeing a storm destroy the docks in Richards Bay, South Africa. This one looks pretty shaky.
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Stromness Hotel

The historic Stromness Hotel was established in 1901.
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Karin

With all the submerged shipwrecks, Scapa Flow is a popular scuba diving locale. This dive boat, Karin, was full of double-tanked scuba setups. We also noticed that, rather than carry an air-compressor to fill the tanks, they carried several large canisters of compressed air. Several other dive boats in the harbor were similarly setup.
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Hamnavoe

The ferry Hamnavoe that we’d seen heading to Stromness when we’d first approached the Orkney Islands two weeks ago.
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Lifeboat

The Stromness RNLI Lifeboat Violet, Dorothy and Kathleen. We’ve now seen all three RNLI lifeboats in the Orkney Islands.
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Crane Envy

We loved the cranes on Green Isle.
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Dundas Street

We really liked Stromness with it’s narrow main street that looked little changed since the 18th century.
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Ferry Inn

We had an excellent lunch at the Ferry Inn in Stromness. We also had a great conversation about Norway, Alaska and scuba diving with the skipper of the dive boat Karin who was at the bar and had noticed us taking photos of his boat earlier in the day.
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Sheep

These sheep just arrived on a small transport boat and were craned ashore, then off-loaded into a waiting trailer.
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Close

Another reason we enjoyed Stromness is that the town is full of quirky closes (alleys) that wind up and down the hills between the houses. The place has real character.
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Waves

With big winds still blowing, we walked out to see the waves in Hoy Sound, between Hoy Island and the Orkney Mainland. Currents there are strong and can reach 8 knots on spring tides. When we arrived, the current was ebbing against the strong westerly winds and huge waves were rolling ashore.
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Gun Viewpoint

The fabulous view across Hoy Sound from the Gun Viewpoint, a former World War II gun emplacement. The winds were strong enough up here to push Jennifer into the stone structure.
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Cannon

A cannon mounted outside of town was said to have been salvaged from the American privateer Liberty in 1813 and was used to salute the Hudson’s Bay Company ships. Stromness was a major provisioning stop for Hudson’s Bay Company ships heading to and from Canada, and a major source of labour. By the late eighteenth century, three quarters of the company’s Canadian workforce were from the Orkney Islands.
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Mailbox

We often see Royal Mail mailboxes embedded in stone walls and even the sides of houses.
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Seatricity

From town we could see these giant aluminum donuts at Point of Ness that looked somewhat like inflatable boats from a distance. They are the the first generation, Oceanus 1, of Seatricity‘s wave energy conversion technology. These were built in Stromness and deployed locally. Their second generation, Oceanus 2, is being tested off Cornwall.
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Stromness

View to Stromness from the Point of Ness.
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Login’s Well

Hudson’s Bay Company ships took on water from Login’s Well from 1670 to 1891, as did Captain Cook’s Resolution and Discovery in 1780 and Sir John Franklin’s ships Erebus and Terror in 1845, prior to their doomed Arctic exploration.
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John Rae

The Stromness Museum is packed with memorabilia and displays on Stromness’ rich history, with particular focus on Orkneyman John Rae, his involvement with the Hudson’s Bay Company and subsequent Arctic explorations. Pictured is a recreation of Rae exploring the Arctic in a Halkett boat, a lightweight inflatable boat designed by Peter Halkett in the 1840s.
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Stromness Harbour

Colorful fish boats in Stromness Harbour
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140 kilos

The two of us weigh in at 140 kilos (308 lbs) on this truck scale at the Stromness ferry dock. Looks like this scale is making a little more money than it should.
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Flattie Bar

A pint at the Flattie Bar in the Stromness Hotel while we wait for our bus back to St. Margaret’s Hope. We’d really enjoyed our time in Stromness.

Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at http://mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


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