I have spent an interesting hour or two chasing round the island this afternoon trying to photograph some of the tall ships in Orkney this weekend. Eight were due to be sailing from Kirkwall to Stromness, passing Flotta as they went. But weather affects sailing ships, and bad weather off the West Coast of Scotland meant that three of the ships due to take part were not even in the County yet.
I spent a bit of time nosing round yesterday to work out the best place for taking pix from the comfort of the car. The forecast was bad, and I didn’t intend spending ages waiting in the rain. In the event, it was warm and dry – but very misty. NOT good weather for taking pix!
Computers are wonderful things, and there I was able to follow the tracks of three or four of the ships on line. When the first got as far as the southern tip of South Ronaldsay I got my cameras, car keys and dog and headed off.
Although the bad visibility was a pain, it did mean some atmospheric shots as the three masts came into view…
This first ship is the Norwegian sail training vessel Statsraad Lehmkuhl. As she came into the Flow, the car ferry MV Pentalina came up from behind on her way from Caithness to the ‘Hope.
As the Statsraad Lehmkuhl came between Hoxa Head on South Ronaldsay and Flotta, I was able to get this shot. The small boat is the pilot vessel, the Kirkwall Bay, which accompanied her throughout.
Half an hour or so later came another three ships, fairly close together. Again, the first site of them was as ghostly shapes coming out of the haze…
And again, along came the Pentalina, this time on her way south to Gills Bay in Caithness:
The ship under most sail is the Dutch registered Gulden Leeuw.
She was the second of the three as they came in to the Flow, but she soon put on speed and passed the Norwegian registered Soerlandet.
The final ship was slightly smaller, another Dutch ship, the Eendracht:
I was taking pix from the Buchanan Battery on Flotta, and got a few pix with Flotta included!
The Soerlandet took a more Northerly course, and she was also passed by the Eendratch:
There are about 20 tall ships of all sizes due in to various Orkney destinations over the weekend, and a whole programme of events on board the bigger ones and on Stromness and Kirkwall piers. There is a webcam above Stromness showing where the ships are berthing.
Then at the beginning of next week they all sail on up to Lerwick in Shetland for another weekend of fun before starting the next leg of the race proper.