58:59.271N 02:57.516W Kirkwall

Madeleine and Martin
Mon 28 May 2012 09:17
Uneventful run up the North East Coast and across the mouth of the Pentland Firth well off to void the skerries which Reeds says “must be avoided at all costs”!. The entrance to Kirkwall through the islands overlooked by Balfour Castle in the evening sunshine was rewarding. Anchored overnight outside Kirkwall harbour and woke to thick fog! Once that was clear entered the marina and went into town to explore. Magnificent cathedral but otherwise a rather dour town much enhanced by very hot sunshine. Judging by the reaction of the locals, clearly a rare event. Next day took the bus to Skara Brae to inspect the oldest known dwellings in Europe, built 2000 years before the pyramids! The countryside is spare,; no trees few gardens just a rolling mass of green country side with grey farmhouses and crofts irregularly scattered. Skara Brae was impressive and the dwellings surprisingly large and homely if you like stone furniture. On to Stromness and the worlds most interesting small bookshop, the museum (much on Scapa Flow and various naval events thereon/therein) and an abosrbing (MB)/ less than absorbing (MJ) art gallery. Yesterday was a make good and mend day again in glorious sunshine. Off to recon the Islands to the North today and hopefully meet the wildlife before we set off for Norway early tomorrow.