Archive For The “Orkney Islands” Category

St. Margaret’s Hope

St. Margaret’s Hope

St. Margaret’s Hope is the terminus for the fast ferry Pentalina between mainland Scotland and the Orkney Islands. The bay also is an excellent anchorage, with plenty of swing room, good wind protection and convenient bus access to the towns of Kirkwall and Stromness. We very much enjoyed the anchorage, especially after the ordeal of…

Read more »

Stromness

Stromness

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,…

Read more »

Neolithic Orkney

Neolithic Orkney

The Heart of Neolithic Orkney UNESCO World Heritage Site consists of four prehistoric monuments dating to some 5,000 years ago. They include the ancient settlement of Skara Brae, the Maeshowe chambered tomb, and two ceremonial stone circles: the Standing Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar. After freeing our ensnarled anchor at Widewall Bay,…

Read more »

St. Mary’s Bay

St. Mary’s Bay

In October of 1939, the German U-boat U-47 crept into Scapa Flow through Kirk Sound and sunk the British battleship Royal Oak. To protect Scapa Flow, Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, ordered the construction of barriers across the eastern side of Scapa Flow. 66,000 locally cast concrete blocks were dropped onto a…

Read more »

Scapa Flow Museum

Scapa Flow Museum

Scapa Flow, a large bay in the center of the Orkney Islands, was the base for the British Fleet during the two World Wars. The former Royal Navy base at Lyness now is the Scapa Flow Visitor Center and Museum, covering the history of the area and it’s use as a naval base, plus lots…

Read more »

Longhope

Longhope

The RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) is an amazing life-saving group. They are supported by donations, and most of those out there risking their lives in maritime rescues are volunteers. The RNLI serves the UK and Ireland, and operates in some very difficult sea conditions. The Longhope RNLI station on Hoy Island in the Orkney…

Read more »

Orkney Islands Arrival

Orkney Islands Arrival

The currents around the Orkney Islands are among the swiftest in Great Britain. Currents in the Pentland Firth separating the islands from mainland Scotland can reach nine knots on spring tides and powerful tide rips form on the west-bound current, particularly in an opposing wind. We had lovely, calm conditions on our overnight run from…

Read more »

Anchor Ensnarled

Anchor Ensnarled

Yesterday morning, we started up the main engine just past daybreak for a planned run from Widewall Bay along the west coast of Hoy and the Mainland in the Orkney Islands. But the anchor was locked down solidly on the bottom. That’s happened before and we have our tricks. Dropping another 100 feet and pulling…

Read more »