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Lews Castle Grounds

Sir James and Lady Matheson created the Lews Castle and its grounds over a period of seven years starting in 1847. The extensive grounds encompass 687 acres (278 hectares) of woodland and included the widest range of exotic flowers in Scotland at the time. The subsequent owner, Lord Leverhulme, gifted the property to the people…

The Iolaire Disaster

The shipwreck of the HMY Iolaire was one of the worst UK maritime disaster during peacetime. The ship sunk Jan 1, 1919 in a severe southerly gale off Holm Point just outside Stornoway harbour. At least 201 of the 238 on board drowned (the ship was badly overcrowded and records poor, so the death toll…

Cnoc Nan Uan Hill

Cnoc nan Uan hill is just north of Stornoway, and an easy walk from town. The hill is the highest in the area and has sweeping views across Stornoway and the Isle of Lewis, along with a sobering reminder of the toll of war. Atop the hill stands the 85-ft (26 m) Lewis War Memorial,…

Stornoway Arrival

After completing quarantine at Longhope in Orkney, we returned to Stornoway to refuel, provision and accept several deliveries. Departing Orkney is always a bit of a challenge in needing to time the strong tides as well as get a good weather window. We made the journey in two legs, with an 81-mile, 10-hour run to…

Quarantine at Longhope

We spent much of our two weeks at Longhope, Orkney in twelve days of quarantine required for entry into Scotland during the pandemic. The days aboard passed quickly, and were somewhat reminiscent of our time spent the previous year at the Isle of Gigha during the Scottish lockdown except that instead of the local fishfarm…

Norway to Scotland

Free from the ice, we departed Farsund, Norway for Orkney, Scotland on the first leg of our journey home to the US. Conditions were blissfully calm, especially considering we were crossing the North Sea in late February, and the passage was a relaxing and easy one. We finished the run with an exciting entry through…

Thawing in Farsund

Valentine’s Day 2021 brought an online Pearl Jam concert and the end of the cold snap in Farsund, with the temperature soaring 26° to above freezing at 37.8°F (3.2°C) from the previous day’s low of 19.1°F (-7.2°C). The ice melted as quickly as it formed, and over the course of ten days we went from…

Frozen in Farsund

In the second week of February, the temperature plunged well below freezing in Farsund and remained that way for ten days. The ice around Dirona rapidly grew thicker to the point we could actually stand on it. Given the water temperature was fairly warm at 45°F (7°C), we were surprised the air temperature dominated and…

Snow, Ice and Heat

The temperature continued to drop in Farsund in early February, bringing more snow and our first grocery trip in the white stuff. And surface ice started to form around the boat. The ice was still pretty slushy and we could poke through it with a boat hook, but it happened remarkably quickly. We also took…

Boensbakken

Hundreds of miles of highways were built throughout Norway in the late 1800s and early 1900s to connect the communities. Since most of the work was done by hand, building tunnels and even blasting large sections of rock away was prohibitively difficult. Where no appropriate route was available, some rather impressive engineering resulted in narrow,…