Sunday, 17 July 2011

Cruise in Company to Orkney

As part of the Tall Ships race there is a Cruise in Company leg, between Greenock and Lerwick, where the ships choose their own routes and sail leisurely, making as many stops as they want along the way, enjoying the company and the scenery. Ports vie for the ships as they're a big attraction - and this year the 'official' guest ports on this leg are Ullapool, Stornoway, Campbeltown, Orkney (both Kirkwall and Stromness) and various other ports in Shetland, including Fair Isle, Cullivoe, Unst and Scalloway. Of course where the ships actually end up calling in is very weather dependent, and the current north easterlies have meant a few ships haven't arrived in some of the ports as planned, but it's generally been a very successful cruise as far as I can tell.

I saw my first tall ship (of this trip, as obviously I'd seen rather a lot of them in Arran too), the Wyvern, on my way to Orkney. She had travelled through the Caledonian Canal and I saw her as I drove over the Kessock Bridge. Then I saw my next, the Svanhild, from the ferry, a beautiful sight. I believe she was the only ship who actually sailed the whole way during the Kirkwall to Stromness sailing challenge.


I was lucky enough to also see gannets diving, puffins & 3 porpoises from the ferry - a great start to my holiday.

This is the Gulden Leeuw, first passing Graemsay, with the Hoy High lighthouse and my friend Sian's house clearly visible...


... and then passing the Hall of Clestrain, where John Rae (the Arctic explorer who discovered the North West Passage) grew up.


I was here to see the tall ships, catch up with some friends, and rejoin the crew of the Spirit Dancer Canadian canoe, who were heading for Shetland. They had returned to Orkney to collect Spirit Dancer who had been over-wintered there (I'm making her sound like cattle now!) and were heading for Shetland, where I'll be joining them in a few days (more about the Spirit Dancer & her crew later...)

Meanwhile, I was enjoying the spectacle of the many tall ships visiting Orkney, mostly berthed in Stromness...


There were 9 tall ships berthed in Stromness on Sunday.

A festival had been organised locally around the ships, with food, stalls and music. You could also buy tickets for "parties on the poop deck" of some of the ships.



The Harbours Department tug was kept busy...


There were yole trips around the harbour.


 Tecla and Pogoria

 Statsraad Lehmkuhl and Eendracht

 Svanhild leaving the harbour...

... seemingly being chased by a yole...

... but she escaped!

I left Stromness to meet the Spirit Dancer crew, but with plans to return again the next day...

2 comments:

Sian said...

Great photos (as ever)....

Perpetua said...

Super photos, Fiona. Thanks for the link, Sian.