9th July - Voyage to the Heart of Neolithic Orkney
Ruled by the Scandinavian crown until 1468, when transferred to Scotland as part of a marriage dowry, the Nordic influence on the Orkney islands is still evident, making them distinctly different from the Western Isles.
Tuesday, 9th July.
We set sail from Oban at the start of our foray to the Northern Isles and anchored overnight in Bloody Bay off the Isle of Mull.
Wednesday, 10th July.
We spent this morning cruising the Sea of the Hebrides on passage towards North Uist. After lunch guests went ashore at Lochmaddy, North Uist for an afternoon tour of the island which included Pobull Finn and Barpa Langass.
We anchored off the Shiant Isles overnight.
Thursday, 11th July.
This morning we arrived in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, where guests visited the Callanish Standing Stones and the Gearranan Black House village.
During the afternoon cruise around Cape Wrath and the north coast of Scotland on passage towards Scrabster, guest speaker Bruce Bennison gave the first of his talks in the Tiree Lounge.
We arrived and berthed alongside in Scrabster in the late evening and remained alongside overnight.
Friday, 12th July.
Our morning visit was the former home of HM The Queen Mother, the Castle of Mey where guests explored the castle and gardens.
We arrived in Stromness after lunch and guests enjoyed an afternoon tour of Maes Howe and the Ring of Brodgar.
We remained alongside overnight in Stromness, Orkney.
Saturday, 13th July.
Guests travelled from Stromness to the Neotlithic settlement of Skara Brae this morning.
When all guests werre back on board we spent the early afternoon cruising Scapa Flow during which Bruce Bennison gave the second of his talks.
We arrived and berthed alongside in Kirkwall in the late afternoon and guests had the opportunity to explore the town and visit St Magnus’ Cathedral.
We remained alongside overnight in Kirkwall.
Sunday, 14th July.
Our morning tour from Kirkwall included the Italian Chapel and the Churchill Barriers and a walk to the cliffs of South Ronaldsay where the refreshment hamper was enjoyed.
Landing on Stronsay after lunch, guests enjoyed a visit the Vat of Kirbister or walks on the island.
We anchored overnight off the Isle of Sanday.
Monday, 15th July.
After breakfast we landed on Sanday where the local ranger accompanied the guests to the Quoyness Chambered Cairn.
Our afternoon port of call was the 'Queen o' the Isles', Westray, to discover the 16th century Noltland Castle and beach excavation site.
We anchored overnight off Papa Westray.
Tuesday, 16th July.
Our final island visit was Papa Westray for walks ashore and to visit the Knap of Howar, one of the oldest preserved stone houses in northern Europe.
Guests spent a relaxing afternoon on board as we cruised south through the Pentland Firth, and the east coast of Scotland during which Bruce Bennison presented his third talk in the Tiree Lounge.
The Farewell Gala Dinner was held at anchor in Sinclair Bay just north of Wick. The boat pictured is the "Isabella Fortuna" which is part of Wick Heritage Museum, with Castle Sinclair Girnigoe in the background.
Wednesday, 17th July.
Guests spent an enjoyable morning in Wick exploring the town and the Wick Heritage Museum.
Dolphins were spotted as we entered the Cromarty Firth during our final afternoon cruise on passage to Invergordon where we berthed alongside overnight.
During the afternoon the Maritime and Coastguard Agency used Hebridean Princess for a training exercise.
Chief Purser Iain Gibson and guide Malcolm Milne performed “The Battle of Trafalgar” prior to dinner.
Thursday, 18th July.
Guests disembarked in Invergordon this morning and we hope they have enjoyed their Voyage to the Heart of Neolithic Orkney.