The Scrabster to Stromness ferry across the Pentland Firth takes about 90 minutes. As we leave mainland Scotland for the Mainland of Orkney there’s a classic Stevenson’s lighthouse. Here’s Holborn Head Lighthouse and Keeper’s House. It’s a private house:
The sky and sea are blue with lush green fields.
There’s a view of what I think for a moment must be Stroma, a large uninhabited island, unless it’s one of Orkney’s vanishing islands like Hildaland. The name Stroma is from the Old Norse Straumr-øy meaning “Island in the stream”. Please make the ensuing earworm stop. Then I realise it’s Dunnet Head because there’s another Stephenson’s lighthouse on the end of it; and it’s not an island at all.
We can see the Old Man of Hoy and Hoy itself from the deck:
The cliffs of Hoy are amazing and very unlike much of the rest of Orkney:
There’s time to admire the design of the Hamnavoe ferry, run by Northlink Ferries. The whole experience of the ticket sales, the welcome and check-in, the roll-on and roll-off are fabulous.
And there’s the thrill of seeing a small pod of White-Beaked Dolphins jumping behind us. I’ve never seen them before:
It’s a glorious day so there’s plenty of activity on deck:
The Mainland of Orkney comes into view with another of Stephenson’s lighthouses:
And Stromness appears too soon for us given all the interesting views we’ve had on the journey.
It’s time to roll off the Hamnavoe and start driving again.