Sunday, 10 January 2010

The Snow and the Flame

On Sunday 10th January we set off from St. Margaret's Hope in South Ronaldsay. After a perilous scramble over an icy old pier, I managed, with much help, to assemble all the essentials.
Unfortunately unlike Johnny I was without sunglasses. The clear skies meant, as we headed south west, we were looking into the low sun most of the way out.

Aided by the easterly wind we made light work of going south.

Mary(aka NK) and Johnny.

Johnny and Kristian.
It was all happening down in The Hope. First the lifeboat appeared and raced towards Flotta. A helicopter simultaneously passed overhead.
Johnny watches the lifeboat.
Mary and the Pentalina.

Then the Pentalina raced past with a promising looking wave building up behind her two hulls. Disappointingly however, by the time it did reach us tales of wakes of mythical proportions had been dismissed as nonsense.

We went as far as Hoxa Head, contemplated crossing Widewall bay to the Altar but decided time was against us and turned back for The Hope. We passed the WW2 gun emplacements and the new light before stopping for afternoon tea and toast.

Passing below the WW2 archaeology.

Peter passes the light
The snow and the flame.
A very pleasant afternoon which was dominated at all times by the view of the Flotta flame and the snow covered hills of Hoy.

Blue boat takes a break.

After watching the last rays slip over the horizon we turned and paddled hard into the easterly wind for about 3km - a stiff push back but I was pleased with my fitness. We arrived back in The Hope in darkness, the Pentalina looming over us.

10.01.10 - 14.3km.


  1. I know its been cold there, any idea what the water temp is now?

    Tony :-)

  2. Beautiful pictures Mackayak! Lovely to get out and so stress free! Unfortunately, my throat doesn't agree now!!!

  3. Hi Tony - the surface water temperature is about 9 degrees C here at the moment, but that is just the surface! I think it is usually coldest about April and warmest September. The wind here is the most common weather issue.
    The boat is a pretty tight fit at the moment with all the thermal layers!

  4. Jenni and I were chatting about water temperatures last night - she thinks about 7 degrees once in it. She said she'd only manage a 20 minute dive in all her gear so we reakon about 5 mins until hypothermia if you're just in a wetsuit. Brrrrr!!!!