Roman and Mediaeval History, Illlustrated Travel Journals, Mediaeval Literature, Geology


15.11.13
  Crossing the Pentland Firth

Hi, just a photo post today. I'm doing Nano again, plus I had a special qualifications course for work that left me pretty braindead in the afternoons. We'll be back to Alnwick Castle in December.

John O'Groats House

There are several ways to cross from the mainland to Orkney; the best known is the car ferry from Scrabster to Stromnes. But I took the bus from Inverness which connects to the person ferry from John O'Groats to Burwick (and another bus to Kirkwall). It's a nice way to see a lot of landscape.

The beach at John O'Groats

The Pentland Firth, the sea dividing the mainland from Orkney, has a pretty bad renown as being a brewery for some nasty storms, but while there were some nice waves, I would have not called it bad, and I doubt the inhabitants of Orkney would.

Lighthouse at the Caithness coast

Since the waters of the North Sea and the Atlantic meet in the firth, there are some currents as well, which likely were fun for the Viking ships (not so much of a problem for modern ferries). The storms and currents did not prevent the Vikings from using the firth as passage to Ireland and the Hebrides, though.

Passing some island

So I got a tour along the scenic Caithness coastal route and then along the WW2 fortifications at Scapa Flow to Kirkness. The day was on the sunny side and I managed to snatch some photos from out of the bus. Material for another post.

The cliffs of Hoy

My first impression of Orkney was: it's incredibly green. And that will say something in a land that's overall more verdant than Germany. The names are mostly Norse, and the Orkney flag could be a twin of the Norwegian one. The Vikings have left more than a few traces behind.

Coming into the harbour at Burwick

The evening sun made for some lovely pics of the crossing, though the wind on the outer deck was cold; it felt like coming right away from Greenland or so. But I love the sea so much that I suspect there must be Vikings somewhere in my ancestry. :-)

Sunset in Kirkwall Harbour

After a long day traveling from Stonehaven (near Aberdeen) to Kirkwall, I was looking forward to a good dinner, which I got down at the harbour. *grin* But that way of traveling gives you a better feel of distances and a lot more landscape than a flight would have.

Duncansby Head / Caithness (I took that one on my way back)

BTW, I said I participated in Nano again, as 'rebel' this time since I work on an ongoing project, but it's not going as well als last year. I got a bad start due to a cold the first weekend and I may also have set my expectations too high after last years success, so I keep felling dissatisfied. But every word written is still a gain, right?

 
Comments:
Hey, I'm doing Nano too. It's not the 50,000 words for me as much as a solid start on the project. Just plug away - you can do it!

Love the Sunset in Kirkwall Harbour pic. And you must have Viking in your past. No way would I be out on those cold waters. Of course I'm from sun-loving Mediterranean ancestry...
 
Constance, it's the same for me, only that last year I got such a good start and this year the words are just not coming.

Heh, you ancestors where those whimpy Romans who couldn't take some real weather. *grin*
 
Don't make me come build a wall across your country!
 
Your ancestors tried that* but it didn't work. My ancestors ran straight over it. :-)

* The Limes, cutting off the angle between Rhine and Danube. It was abandoned in AD 263.
 
What a fabulous photo of the sunset at Kirkwall!

I seem to remember reading somewhere that the Pentland Firth has some of the most powerful tidal races in the world. Doesn't it feature in Dorothy Dunnett's King Hereafter?

Good luck with NaNo, and with your wrting generally. As you say, every word written is a gain.
 
Good luck, Gabriele! With all your projects :-) Beautiful photos, as always!
 
Thank you, Carla and Kasia.

Carla, I think it does. Those Vikings weren't kept back by some currents. :-)
 
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The Lost Fort is a blog based on my travels in Germany, the UK and other places, with essays on Roman and Mediaeval history illustrated with lots of photos of old castles, cathedrals, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes. You may also find the odd essay about geology or Mediaeval literature.

All texts (except comments by guests) and photos (if no other copyright is noted) on this blog are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.

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Location: Germany

I'm a blogger from Germany with a MA in Literature and History which doesn't pay my bills, so I use it to research blogposts instead. I'm interested in everything Roman and Mediaeval, avid reader and sometimes writer, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, photographer, and tea aficionado. And an old-fashioned blogger who hasn't yet gotten an Instagram account. :-)


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