Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Orkney Odyssey - The Journey

Here I am to bore enthrall you with tales of our recent Orkney Adventure.

Once again we were lucky enough to be accompanied by middle daughter and our lovely granddaughter Felicity (Flic).

Although we live in the North of England the drive to Gills Bay for the ferry to Orkney is just over 400 miles and especially with a little one in tow, it is just not possible to drive the whole distance in one day and meet the ferry deadline.

So we set off early Friday morning, driving up to Jedburgh for a stop at the Tollhouse Cafe for breakfast. Then it was onwards and upwards for a lunchtime comfort break at Pitlochry before the final push to our overnight B & B at Netherton Farm just north of Inverness.

I can't recommend this B & B highly enough. The lady who owns the farm, Romay was so kind and helpful. We were greeted with a tour of her lovely home, then tea outside overlooking beautiful countryside. There were free range hens running about and beautiful old breed pigs for Flic to greet. We had an evening meal in the Culbokie Inn, a short stroll from the B & B, then back for some relaxation and reading before bed time.

The view at sunset from our bedroom window.

Next morning after a hearty breakfast, we set off for the last leg of the journey to the Ferry. We stopped a couple of times along the way including a very interesting visit to the Laidhay Croft Museum and the lovely little cafe next door for fantastic home made cake.

Onwards and upwards we climbed, right up to John O'Groats. I would like to be kind to John O'Groats, really I would, but truth to be told, if you had traveled there specifically, you might be left wondering if it was worth the effort. Despite new building work, most of the places are empty and there is a rather sad, dejected feeling about the whole place. We however were only there to pass a little time until we were due at the ferry terminal a few miles along the road.

Our ferry journey was on the Pentalina a purpose built catamaran. 

The MV Pentalina moored at St Margaret's Hope.

Whilst waiting for the ferry we were enthralled by a group of seals basking on nearby rocks.

Seals at Gill's Bay.

Then just before the ferry appeared there was a bit of a commotion with people looking out to sea and pointing. We trained the binoculars towards a black spot in the water and there was what looked like a shark! Once we were on the ferry itself one of the seasoned ferry workers told us that indeed it was a basking shark - Flic was so excited, not only had she seen real seals but also a shark!

After what did indeed seem like an epic journey we finally arrived in Orkney a mere 34 hours after leaving home!

To be continued...

Linda xxx


  1. What a great read, I'm looking forward to part 2! x

  2. Hi there - we've been paired together for the Halloween swap! It is lovely to 'meet' you. Am looking forward to the swap. Helen XX

  3. Thank you for taking us on this lovely journey with you. I love seeing countries through the eyes of it's people and not the eyes of a tourist guided photographer. I was so excited when I saw your thumbprint among my list of followers. Welcome! I am looking forward to becoming good blogging friends. Connie :)


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