A holiday in Orkney…and farewell for now…


With John and Chris gone the boat is oddly quiet. Having dropped Chris at the airport we make use of Alan’s kind offer to borrow his car for the rest of the day. Just east of the airport is Deerness and we have a bracing (isn’t it always?) walk along the cliffs to The Gloup.

Yee Tak’s mind is on other things and we end up at Jolly’s Fish back in Kirkwall. As luck would have it, the weather has been too rough for most of the local boats and so we have to satisfy ourselves with just squid (which Chris would not miss) and salmon (which she would). We have been ever so slightly ashamed that Heydays has just sat in the marina for the last 2 weeks, with not a sail raised in earnest….good to know that even the locals thought better of going out.

We take the ‘scenic’ route back to Stromness and find ourselves in Tingwall. This is a small fishing harbour and also the ferry jetty for services to Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre.

Oddly enough, Yee Tak wanders over to a fishing boat which is unloading crabs and whelks. A casual enquiry to James, the skipper of ‘Enterprise A’, about a crab results in him promising to ‘sort her out’ with something. I stay close by! We finally stagger away with 3 large brown crabs, two velvet crabs and over a dozen huge whelks. James refuses to take anything for them, telling us to accept them as a present from Orkney. Yet another example of the kindness and generosity of people on these islands.

Even Yee Tak has not come across velvet crabs before…apparently they are not regarded in UK so they all get shipped to Spain.

One the way back to Heydays, we drive past Eynhallow Sound which is another route into and out of the islands from the west. The pictures tell a story of dangerous roosts and local fishermen tutting and sucking their teeth when one talks about sailing through.

Back on the boat we know that Chris would not be enthusiastic, but we miss John who would have loved this feast. We dine simply that evening on a brown crab and the two velvet crabs (very sweet meat), with simnel cake to follow. Lunch the following day on the two remaining brown crabs and then dinner of pilau rice with the boiled and garlic sautéed whelks…and the odd bottle of wine. We toast James from the Enterprise A…cheers James.

The three of us are leaving Heydays for a while and are sad to be leaving both her and Orkney. There is no doubt that these islands are something very special and we are all grateful to the people we met along the way who suggested that we make the voyage north. Special mention to Pam and Dave on their Westerly Seahawk who we met in Arbroath on their way round clockwise, who first put the idea of going right round the top in our minds. A magical experience we are glad not to have missed.

James and John will be back in May (elderly parents permitting) with Yee Tak and Chris coming later after family commitments, to continue our voyage anti-clockwise.

One thought on “A holiday in Orkney…and farewell for now…

  1. A sort of vicarious pleasure here – I did suggest Orkney – but I’ve never been there myself. But if going anti-clockwise around England it would seem to be a real miss just to duck off into the Caledonian Canal. Nice to read. Hope all is well in Plymouth – we shall be there in July.
    Dave & Pam


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