Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Orkney

Sadly on Monday Trevor ran out of time and had to leave us so at a stroke we were deprived of our IT expert, cabin boy, logistics expert and master salesman. Bonita seemed much quieter and a little higher in the water without Trev and his luggage.

We woke up in Stornoway on Tuesday morning to find that our long promised southwesterly wind had arrived so we quietly slipped out at 4am before anyone else was up (apart from the fishermen). We then had an excellent fair wind sail covering about 140 miles in 25 hours. This may not seem very fast (it is about the speed at which, if you are on a bicycle, you wobble and fall off) but for a small sailing boat it is a good passage making speed, rolling along and surfing down the waves.

Cape Wrath
Much of the morning was misty with poor visibility and the photo shows the notorious Cape Wrath visible through the murk at a distance of about 4 miles. Cape Wrath is the most northwesterly point of the British mainland, and though its name comes from a mistranslation of the original Norse, it still has a reputation for being bad tempered especially if there is a heavy swell rolling in from the Atlantic. As with other large and bad tempered objects its best to keep a safe distance away.

The cliffs on Hoy in Orkney can be seen many miles away, and after admiring them for a few hours we entered  Eynhallow Sound about 10 miles north of Kirkwall  at 2am, and with a fair tide were soon speeding over the hidden rocks at a frightening 10 knots - and this was on a neap tide!
Orkney landfall
The second photo shows the sunrise this morning. As we are virtually at the longest day there is really very little difference between the sunset and sunrise at this latitude. They just sort of merge together in a continuous display on the northern horizon.

After what seemed like a lot of weaving through narrow rock filled channels we finally reached the welcoming harbour at Kirkwall at 5 am. The music festival is being held this weekend and we feel this is a suitable place to celebrate midsummer's day and the farthest north point of Bonita's cruise.