Inner Hebrides

It's been a while. There doesn't seem to have been so much time this year for blogging,but what a year it's been. Looking back, I'm amazed that in May, we managed to sail all the way to the Orkneys in just 14 days. So lucky with the weather, just one day that conditions prevented our progress, which meant an extra 24 hours in Lowestoft of all places, we felt frustrated, it would have been nice to get out of our home county, and there are many places I'd have chosen over Lowestoft, but there we go.
When we reached Stonehaven, near Aberdeen, we heard the news that Penny, our daughter-in-law, had been given the date of Friday 18th May for her caesarian section, the day we had been planning to travel home, the chances of us crossing the Pentland Firth and reaching Orkney in time to get home for the arrival of our first grand-child seemed remote. We looked at alternative ports to leave Bliss. As it happens, Monday 14th conditions were perfect and we crossed that notorious stretch of water without incident.
We've returned to the boat three times over the summer, twice to Orkney, which is complicated, took up to 36 hours. We tried trains, planes, buses and ferries In assorted combinations. I thought I'd cracked it having booked to fly Stansted/Edinburgh/Kirkwall, in theory only about 9 hours door to boat, so worth the expense, flights to The Orkneys aren't cheap, but a two+ hour delay from Stansted meant we missed our flight to Kirkwall, by about a minute! That was the last flight of the day so we spent the night in Edinburgh, caught the 2pm flight the next day, making the journey 33hours!
We loved Orkney, and stayed longer than we'd expected to, it's a magical place, with an extraordinary history and full of remarkable folk. We had the added bonus of our middle son, Owen, joining us for a week. On his first morning, he and I were up and out on the Bromptons to visit Skaerra Bray, the Ring of Brodgar, Standing Stones of Stennet, before getting back to our local, The Ferry Inn to watch the England v Panama match, Chris had got the beers in and ordered lunch when we arrived just in time for the first goal!

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