3 weeks ago we left Norway, and we are now at anchor in Broad Bay, just around the corner from Stornoway before heading in tomorrow. The past 560 miles have sometimes felt like a dash from one sheltered harbour to another, but we have found some hidden gems on the way.
We’ve carefully watched the weather and first picked a gap to sail downwind all the way from Norway, around the top of Shetland and on to Scalloway. We arrived there 24 hours before the first gale and we spent 3 nights at anchor waiting for it to abate.
Strong wind is so often followed by calm and so we had a long but pleasant motor to Fair Isle. We have sailed past this tiny island for the last 10 years always with the thought of stopping if the weather worked, well this time it did. The harbour is tiny and shallow and whilst it was great in the south wind I really would not like to be there with any north in the wind.
What a beautiful spot, we walked all the way around the island, met some very friendly locals and saw lots of sheep.
We sailed from Fair Isle to Sanday and then from there to Inganess Bay around the corner from Kirkwall. A spectacular bay with a glorious sandy beach and we anchored not far from the wreck of the Juniata.
After another 2 nights sitting out the next gale we motored round into Kirkwall harbour and found a space in their small but pleasant marina.
The tourist office told us that with limited time in the Orkneys, Scara Brae would be the best place to visit so off we went on the bus.
Skara Brae is a stone-built Neolithic settlement, located on the Bay of Skaill on the west coast of Mainland. Consisting of eight clustered houses, it was occupied from roughly 3180 BC to about 2500 BC and is Europe’s most complete Neolithic village After our visit here, next stop was a more modern experience – shopping in Tescos for the rest of the trip!
You have to get the tide right in the Orkneys and we set off for our overnight sail to Scotland at just the right time – 11 knots over the ground had us clear of the islands in no time and on route to Loch Eriboll
Another gale was forecast and we were tucked up nicely in the Loch before it started. Good job too, the most wind we saw was 57 knots! It was no surprise when a 90 metre coaster joined us in the ‘shelter’ of the Loch.
After studying the weather again we left Loch Eriboll early evening for an overnight sail to Broad Bay to get there before the next gale. Yesterday there were 37 knots of wind in the bay and today it is flat calm an foggy – tomorrow we hope the sun comes out for our final leg into Stornoway harbour.
The gales we have been avoiding have all been from the south or the south west as we encountered low pressure after low pressure giving us wind always on the nose. We’ve 2 weeks left now before we are due in Plymouth, surely this time it will blow from the north. Watch this space