Speedwell of Rhu Ship's Log

8 th to 10 th of July 2011 - Out Skerries

Crew : Helen and Andy
Destinations : Out Skerries.
Distance : 26 miles

We set off from Lerwick at the very reasonable time of 1005. After a great sail with one tack and one gybe we entered Out Skerries Harbour through the North East channel, a dramatic rocky entrance. There were a couple of boats moored on the harbour wall, but we decided to anchor in the bay below the school. Later we moved closer in as we were swinging a bit too close to the mooring buoys.


The next day we waited for the rain to stop and watched the start of the Eela, an annual fishing competition held on the islands. When the starting horn was sounded the small fishing boats motored quickly out of the harbour's 3 entrances. The rain stopped and we went ashore and were told the boats were due back shortly. We watched them arrive with their crates of fish, all line caught within 2 hours. Local knowledge clearly helps when it comes to catching fish! We were invited by a lovely lady to the party being held at the village hall that evening, where prizes are awarded and the fish gets eaten. The same lady also invited us to use her husband's pier so we didn't have to walk too far. She records the details of all the yachts that visit the harbour and the children at the school had done a bar chart to show how many visited last year. We were really shocked by how few boats visited Out Skerries in 2010. Also, other than Scottish boats, the main visitors were Norwegian and Swedish, with only a hand full of English yachts visiting and two Welsh throughout 2010.

We had a walk around the two inhabited islands, which are joined by a bridge. There is a total of a mile and a half of roads on the island, and yet we had never seen so many cars! Around the north side of Bruray we found cliffs with nesting shags, which gave us the opportunity to finally get to grips with how they differ from cormorants.

In the evening we went to the party, where we ate a number of fish dishes, including one of oatmeal and fish livers, which was delicious. I think it was called Crappin. We also had a go at The Gay Gordon. The band was really good, but we decided the Gay Gordon was the only dance we would try as there were only three elements to it. After that we decided it would be safer if we watched. We managed to win one of the many raffle prizes, the whole event being held on behalf of MacMillan Cancer Relief. The whole day was definitely improved by the fact that we now have a working outboard motor.


The next day we had intended to head north. The forecast was for northerly winds, but as we only had about 10 miles to go to Fetlar, we thought we would get there nice and quickly even with tacks. Unfortunately as we headed out of the harbour, the swell was very big and we decided to head back. This time we picked up the mooring buoy, which we had been told was for visitors and was secure. The wind continued to be fairly strong, so we stayed on the boat for the day. It was Sunday after all!

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