Northern Perambulations

We returned to Coleraine after our week back home with no fixed plans , but the winds were from the South so , of course , North we went. Its only a hop and a skip across the North Channel and there you are in the Hebrides , arguably the finest cruising ground in the world – if you don’t mind the weather! After a couple of quiet days this soon soon resorted to the Westerlies that had powered us round Ireland , and so what if it rains most days, if you can be entertained by the seals that teem around the rocky little anchorage of the Ardmore islands , feel the adrenaline pump as you get squirted through the Sound of Islay by a big spring tide , or laugh at the comic antics of the puffins in the anchorage between the Treshnish isles.



Possibly best of all was the view from Atlantic coast of Bernaray ( this time with a touch of sun to enhance the magic),




or was it perhaps the lonely anchorage of the Shiants where the night sky was so full of birds you couldn’t see the stars!



All these places pulled us along like iron filings to a magnet , but it was time to decide how to spend our last month. We had never been to Orkney , and the Westerly wind was still blowing , and would get us there fast . So Orkney it was , and a plan was hatched to spend a couple of weeks exploring these islands before returning home down the east coast.

Well , so much for plans! Initially all went well and we gazed in awe at the rugged North west of Scotland , before screaming into Orkney through Eynhallow Sound in the fastest passage we have ever done , averaging close to 8 knots from the little North coast bay of Talmine. And what a welcome the islands put on for us . The sun shone for the first time in weeks, revealing the impressive cliffs of the Brough of Birsay at the entrance to the Sound,


and once through the race the scenery changed to the calm agricultural beauty of Wide Firth in the middle of the islands.


We couldn’t wait to explore all the charming little anchorages in the archipelago, but we were going to have to , because the forecasts began to hint at an unseasonably nasty storm at the end of the week, with at least a further week of significantly rowdy weather to follow.

It didn’t look like we were going to be able to do  do much exploring and so after 2 days of preliminary scouting , a 24 hour period of fresh Northerlies offered us an escape route and we opted for plan B, which was a 210 mile dash South to hole up in the Firth of Forth and go to the Edinburgh Fringe festival.

Don’t worry Orkney , we will be back!

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