We’re on our way back to Scotland now after ten days away from Nova, catching up with family and work (Jonathan) and enjoying a few days at home. Its felt a bit strange being in our house again – the floor doesn’t move, you can pop out to a shop without having to get in a dinghy and – best of all – there’s no need to wear thermals!
We’ve been reflecting on our journey so far and making plans for the next half of our voyage. We have loved discovering places we would not normally have visited, finding friendly, helpful people wherever we have gone and learning about the huge amount of work that goes on along our coastline which makes our country function. We have seen some amazing scenery, and feel very privileged to have seen some of the remotest parts of our coastline: castles and holy places along the coast of Northumberland, gannets in their thousands at Bass Rock, the magnificent Old Man of Hoy, Cape Wrath in evening sunshine and the rocky remote coast and beautiful islands in the far north west of Scotland. We have loved the unexpected events we’ve encountered: skiff racing in Edinburgh, the Wick lifeboat day and being in Scapa Flow on the 100th anniversary of the scuttling of the German fleet.
Jonathan’s collaboration with These Islands has been progressing and you can read some of the fascinating articles that have been written by going to the 12 key ports page and clicking on the links there. We are very grateful to Peter Kent, illustrator, for producing the lovely line drawings to go with the articles. Chrome Media is working on a number of podcasts about the key ports and we will let you know when these are available.
So, where next? After a couple of weeks more in the west of Scotland, we sail to Belfast. We have decided to go down the east coast of Ireland to Dublin then across to north Wales before we head south to Milford Haven, then Bristol and – in September – towards Lands End (possibly out to the Scillies, weather permitting) and round the corner to our last leg along the south coast.
Sailing down the east coast of Ireland is less wild and remote than the west (so Jonathan is disappointed!) but it gives us a more relaxed timetable and we’re both looking forward to the chance to spend more time exploring new places, including Ireland north and south. We’ll also be doing better justice to the Welsh coastline, probably adding Holyhead (Anglesey) as one of Jonathan’s 12 ports. Inevitably we are still missing significant places – we considered a north east English route (via Isle of Man) but choices have to be made – we are just sampling the menu! Sailing writer Ken Endean describes a one-season British circumnavigation as a ‘reconnaissance’.
If you want to see a bit more detail about our plans, we’ve updated the Route page: if you are anywhere near any of our destinations, do let us know and we’d love to see you.