Tall Ships off Flotta

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.

15 thoughts on “Tall Ships off Flotta

  1. What a delight, Liz. And the tracking maps are very cool. I found another (a good deal less detailed than yours) at http://www.sailwx.info/shiptrack/tallships.phtml . Statsraad Lehmkuhl is at the top of the list there, and I can see several ships in your vicinity even on that global list.

    The first of Deborah Pulliam’s articles that I published in Spin-Off was about the textiles on the tall ship Godspeed (“Thoughts from Godspeed’s foredeck,” Summer 1990, page 92). Godspeed is now either in port or not reporting (although she’s due in Alexandria, Virginia, for an appearance this October).

  2. Great pics, Liz. Glad to see they’re on their way despite the poor weather.
    Fair Isle is all prepared–48 keps were knit in total for the barter which will happen Tuesday am with the Sorlandet.

  3. Lovely photos. I’m sure the Pentalina was nearly keeling over, with everyone on the same side gawking at the tall ships. Thank you so much for sharing – wish I was there!

    1. It was such a pity that the weather was so hazy – it was lovely the day before and most of yesterday – and glorious this morning. Hopefully it will be good for the ‘barter’ of the caps off Fair Isle. Liz

  4. Better late than never I love those photos. which you now only see in films. It is like going back in time. A great feeling. Thanks for your continually interesting blog
    jenni young scottish borders

  5. Wow, I luv your blog. I just found it today. I love spinning and knitting; and I love reading about spinning and knitting. I enjoy traditional knitting of lace and fair isle. Thank you for sharing your jaunts and activities with the rest of us. Great scenery; Great pictures! It’s almost (not quite, but almost) like being there. What a treat to be able to visit, along with you through pictures, the mother-lode of Fair Isle knitting fibres: Jamieson & Smith. (Now, I’m hyperventilating from excitement.) For a few minutes I was not here in Pittsburgh, PA. My Scot ancestry is all stirred up, now…..I’m going to have to find a Highland Games to attend! (Yes, we do have those, minus the sheep stealing, on this side of the pond.)—–Kathryn

  6. Thank you so much for the pictures! Your blog is always interesting and your pictures are the best. Barb in Pittsburgh, PA where the ships are tugs!

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