#935167 by Sealink
13 May 2017, 01:21
Orkney.

The little group of islands just off the coast of the North of Scotland, but a world away.

I love Orkney. I am very lucky because my brother lives there, so I get to visit all the time.
The place is steeped in history, from the prehistoric Skara Brae, Tomb of the Eagles and Maeshowe (don’t even start me on the ongoing excavations near the Ring of Brodgar) to the magnificent St. Magnus Cathedral to the wonderful Italian Chapel, the Churchill Barriers and the block ships sitting as memorials to the war.

St. Magnus Cathedral:
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I do love Kirkwall
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One of the Churchill Barriers, with a block ship visible.
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Orkney, for us aviation fans, is also the home of Loganair Inter Island. Two Britten Normal Islanders fly from Kirkwall to Eday, North Ronaldsay Papa Westray, Sanday, Stronsay and Westray. Eagle eyed viewers may recall that the between Westray and Papa Westray is in the records books as the shortest scheduled flight in the world.

From the Loganair website, here is one of the little ‘planes that flits across the sea to the islands

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Sadly, the flight between Westray and Papa Westay was fully booked (I was trying to book their special ‘sightseer’ fare of £45 but this is only bookable on the day, as you basically are taking up a seat on a lifeline service.

However, there was availability on the Kirkwall - Sanday - Stronsay - Kirkwall flight. This flight would take 41 minutes including touch downs at Sanday and Stronsay. I didn’t have particularly high hopes for this but I was wrong - the scenery was spectacular, and we were at such low altitude you could see so much from the air.

I booked my ticket at Kirkwall Airport, so when I returned for the flight the booker recognised me and said ‘That’s you checked in now’. Here was my ticket:

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Kirkwall Airport was as quiet as you might expect, with a few arrivals and departures.

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Loganair are removing the Flybe livery from their ‘planes in preparation for operating under their own name again.

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About 15 minutes before the scheduled departure, we were asked to go to Gate 3 at Kirkwall Airport. There is no formal security check for these flights and Gate 3 is part of the main airport.

As I boarded, the captain mentioned that there was a ‘Sightseer’ passenger on board, so ensured that I had a window seat.

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The views were stunning, and this was a side of Orkney I knew existed but had not seen.

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The airport at Sanday

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A few passengers disembarked here and an equal number boarded. I had to lean forward in my seat, pull the back of the seat forward so that they could get in behind me.

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Look at that beach! Sorry about the ‘boomerang’ - I don’t think my iPhone understood what the propeller was doing!

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Stronsay Airport
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The village of Whitehall, on Stronsay
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More Orcadian beaches
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A block ship
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fi8gJ8J7Zj8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRvFZ4JKRA4


Each landing was so smooth, and I commented on this to the person beside me. The Captain overheard and said ‘Total flukes. I hope you’re not expecting the third landing to be smooth too?’ - but of course it was. 

All in all, a wonderful experience, wth a good natured captain, lovely passengers and amazing views. Next time I will do Westray to Papa Westray!
Last edited by Sealink on 13 May 2017, 14:55, edited 2 times in total.
#935171 by TimCrawley
13 May 2017, 08:50
A very interesting/entertaining TR with absolutely stunning photos .... thanks a lot for posting. What a great part of Scotland that I wish I'd been to, hope you manage the Westray to Papa Westray flight on another of your trips up there.

I think I'll have to go dig out my old photos from NZ (1991, the old days of film so sadly not digitised for posting here) of the stunning scenery on the short hop from Te Anau to Milford Sound - maybe time I got around to doing a vintage TR on that :-)
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