Sunday, 5 September 2010

The Lunna Sea Row

After our successful row to Whalsay a couple of weeks ago I was eager for more. A trip to the Out Skerrie seemed a step too far so decided to raise the possibility of a row from Vidlin round Lunna Ness to Swining where we'd pick up the boat with the trailer.

Immediately it was named the Lunna Sea Row (I assume you get the pun), but a couple of crews were still up for it even though, depending on the route, it might be 13.5 to 15 miles. It ended up being the 15 mile route on a wonderful day that took us right around Luna Holm rather than through the channel of skerries between Lunna Ness and the Holm.

We set off a couple of hours before low tide from Vidlin. The weather was scorching as we rowed out along Lunna through seas that were much choppier than originally forecast. Still we had chance to rest and take a few photos as the boat bobbed about.

The Hunters Monument

Lunna Kirk and House

The Stanes of Stofast

Looking east towards Lunning

Despite the side on swell and wind we made good time down the east side of Lunna, about 4mph and were soon past the head of Lunna and rounding Lunna Holm at just before low water. The tidal races that we'd been told about were very mild and just currents that pushed us west round the head to sheltered water in the lee of Lunna Holm with a spot for a quick landing to say we'd been there.

Rounding the Holm, staying clear of rocks, while looking for a landing spot 

A brief and tricky stop on Lunna Holm

On a bit further and we were at our well deserved lunch spot on the head of Lunna Ness, 8 miles done. Some odd haunting noises greeted us though. Luckily they just turned out to be from a large group of seals on the nearby skerries, not the ghosts of old yoal sailors!

Lunna Holm not far across a skerrie filled channel

The Orrick at rest

Soon enough it was time to head back. I could see Firth and Mossbank across the many headlands and islands that poke out into the sea. We saw an otter swimming, seals followed us and the gannets were hard at work diving for their dinner.

The sea was still calm as we rowed on now southwards towards Swining, stopping occasionally to check the charts as it can get a little confusing out here with so many headlands, voes and islands.

As we continued out up the voe the wind strengthened and was head on to us. After a long row the home straight was going to be tough work. Luckily for me I was entrusted with coxing for a bit, the crew seemed happy I wouldn't take them off out to Out Skerrie or further a field now!

We passed Lunna House and the Hunters monument from the Swining side of the Ness

and finally landed at Swining 5 hours and 15 miles later.

Just time for a haircut, bath and then out to the SYRA prize giving at Nesting to receive our spoils for Vidlin's best year so far in the rowing league. Well Done Vidlin!

Today (Sunday), after a late night the plans were to row the opposite way around the Ness with another team, but as I look out the window the winds have got up pretty strong, even though it's nice and sunny. I think we'll just be exploring the more sheltered Swining side of Lunna Ness and see how it goes as we work our way up to Lunna Holm.

A great day out with a good bunch of friends. Although they may not be so keen on me as I'm now planning that trip to Out Skerries; only a similar distance, but with two large stretches of open water either side of a break on the north end of Whalsay...

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