Antipole cruises

Kinlochbervie, Cape Wrath and to the Orkney Islands with Stefan

On Tuesday evening we moved from Stornoway dock to an anchorage just inside the harbour and spent an evening watching a pair of Golden Eagles perched on fence posts just 200m away and hunting.  The next day we left for the 48nm passage to Kinlochbervie – the northern-most port on the west coast mainland.  The wind had gone to the east or north east and was bang on our nose, so it looked like a slow passage and we were prepared to break it at one of the numerous anchorages on the mainland coast.  In the event, after a very slow start beating against the wind, we managed to make the most of the tidal flow and some shifts in the wind to achieve the passage by evening, having covered 65nm.

Kinlochbervie was once a very busy fishing port but with over-fishing has now fallen on lean times. There are many mostly idle sheds on the quayside and the port has now installed pontoons for passing yachts as it is very conveniently situated for passages around Cape Wrath.  Apart from the port there are just a few houses and one small shop.  We chose to anchor in Loch Clash close by but more pleasant than the dock.  On Friday Stefan [husband of Tony’s paternal cousin Rosie] arrived after a long journey from the south by trains via Inverness and eventually by minibus.

On Saturday we set sail at 6:00am for the passage around Cape Wrath, the extreme north east corner of Scotland.  As the name implies, this is a difficult headland – two tidal streams clash there and there are almost continuous nasty overfalls.  We chose to take the flood tide up and round the headland and to stand off about four miles to avoid the bad seas – even so it was a bit lumpy at times.  We made very good time and were in Loch Eriboll on the north coast by lunch time.  Here we watched another pair of Golden Eagles hunting and feeding their two young in their nest on a ledge just above the beach.

The next day we sailed for Stromness in the Orkney Islands.  The tides are seriously strong in these parts and we needed to time our arrival in Hoy Sound to the hour after a 52nm passage.  We made good time and reduced sail to slow down but still arrived too early and so hove to for an hour.  [Heaving to involves crossing the sails to cause the boat to virtually stop.]  We eventually entered Hoy Sound against the last of the ebb, still running at five knots – this made possible by an excellent wind.  We are now tucked up in Stromness Harbour, and will be exploring some of the ancient sites here.

Ynskje, Tony & Stefan  x

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