Billed as the longest, biggest, highest, deepest and oldest fjord in Norway, exploring Sognefjord is the focus of our Norway trips this summer.

Our first night in Sognefjord, the pretty town of Leirvik

We set sail from Bergen 3 days ago and have just entered the fjord. The approach from both north and south are protected by a series of islands so we had some intricate wiggling to do today

Whilst the main part of Sognefjord is extremely deep, there are many smaller, narrower fjords branching off with small towns and villages at the end. Tonight we are in Bofjord and alongside the pontoon in front of the pub in the town at the north end, Leirvik.

Leirvik, right in front of the Kro (pub)!!

Can’t wait until tomorrow when we head further into the fjord – Glaciers, Waterfalls and more await us.

Shetland to Norway

All smiles, under way again

The wind continued to rage through the next day in our anchorage and so we were in the Bay of Quendale for another night, learning new card games and listening for updates. The next forecast was for SE5 – 7 becoming 8, so we upped anchor and moved north to another anchorage in Gruting Voe.

After our third night at anchor the weather cleared and moderated to SE5 giving us a glorious sail around the west coast of Shetland before our haul across the north sea. Our passage to Norway was a classic beat – sail towards the new wind and wait for the shift, so we were hard on the wind on Starboard tack for the first half and then hard on the wind on port tack ! The wind gradually ‘freed’ us and we were reaching at 8 knots trying to catch up time. In the end we arrived in Bergen just before noon on Sunday – in time for some flights but not others – That’s weather for you!

Velvet lady in foreground nestled in between some much larger boats

Noon on Sunday – Bergen quay was at its busiest with lots of smaller motor boats rafted 6 deep for their weekend outing – so we had to find a space with the ‘big boats’. We are quite comfy here, but our neighbours move tomorrow so we will be moving space too.

Not too many jobs to do this week – usual cleaning, tidying, shopping and laundry – looking forward to our Sognefjord trips now and cruising amongst the islands – still some spaces see

Gale Warning – Viking – NE8

We were sailing along in a lovely NNE 4 breeze yesterday when at 11.30 am the Met Office issued a Gale Warning – Viking, NE8 soon.

X marks the spot of Velvet Lady and we were heading right into Viking. Soon means in 6 to 12 hours time and we still had 48 hours to go until we would be clear of Viking. Time to look at those all important preparations for harbours of refuge. Where would you go?

The nearest option – and importantly within reach in the shortest time – was the Shetland Islands and so we set off on the opposite tack towards Sumburgh Head. It wasn’t long until the wind shifted and we were reaching in ever increasing wind making the sails smaller and smaller as we went. By 1900 the wind had reached 30 gusting 40 knots just to help us on our approach to the anchorage and by 2000 we were all secure at anchor in the Bay of Quendale just north west of Sumburgh Head.

Long ago I was taught – to escape the wind and waves just put a large lump of land between you and the wind – so that’s what we did! It is ‘sheltered’ but there are still waves all around us. Wind dial still registering 32 knots. Glad we are not outside.

I say ‘sheltered’ but even a quarter a mile off the beach there are waves all around us.

Lets hope tomorrow is a little better – now, where are the cards?

What a difference a day makes.

Light house keepers cottage

We left our anchorage in Dores Bay and headed down Loch Dochfour. On the first bend was a lighthouse and this fabulous lighthouse keepers cottage. I could quite imagine living there!

This evening we are anchored in Cromarty with a couple of rigs for company!

Yet another great day in the canal – its been a great but intense rope handling course. Finally we have also found out why it is so green here – plenty of rain. Pete braved the elements as we left the Canal and headed out under the bridge into the Moray Firth – plenty of cups of tea to keep us going!

And on to Cromarty – I have heard Cromarty mentioned so often when listening to the shipping forecast – Cromarty, Forth, Tyne, Dogger always seem to be grouped together – but although I knew it was a shipping forecast area I had no idea it was place! Tonight we are anchored in the very flat Cromarty Firth – right opposite the town. A busy and interesting approach very much like being in the North Sea.

We always said this would be the trip of many parts. So far we have done Scottish Islands and the Caledonian Canal – tomorrow it is time for watches and the passage to Norway (2 to 3), Weather is looking good.

We’ll be back on line once we reach the other side.

Loch Ness

We were planning on first lock down this morning from Fort Augustus but Lord of the Glen beat us to it. Not much room for both of us. We both needed to negotiate a 5 lock staircase and by the time Lord of the Glen was in the third lock they opened the top lock for us. An hour later we were off into Loch Ness and on our search for Nessie

About half way along the Loch are the ruins of Urquhart Castle, dating back to 1200’s. We had planned to anchor here and go ashore but the wind direction changed our minds, so after a quick spin around the bay we were off to take a look around Dores Bay to see if it would be any better.

Urquhart Castle

Dores Bay turned out to be well sheltered and so we now have the hook down ready for a quiet night on Loch Ness – but we still have our eyes peeled for the monster.

Dores Bay – beautiful and calm this evening

Tomorrow we are off for the last stretch to Inverness and then hope to pop out into the Moray Firth just before the locks close for the day.

Its so Green

They call it the Great Glen but it should be called the Green Glen. Today we have gone from the top of Neptunes Staircase at Banavie to the top of the staircase at Fort Augustus. Up 4 locks, down 4 locks and 3 swing bridges in between. Every where we looked it was green.

The basin at Fort Augustus

It has been a fabulous day today – great weather, fantastic scenery, and to top that all we were treated to a flying display in Loch Lochy by 4 F15 fighter jets and 1 C17 transport aircraft which waggled its wings for us. There is never a camera handy when you want one.

Tomorrow – its down the staircase and into Loch Ness. The search is on!!