The Northlink Ferry ride from Lerwick to Kirkwall was much shorter (5 hrs) than the overnighter (12 1/2 hours) from Aberdeen to Lerwick, however since the boat ploughs through a considerable portion of the confluence of the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, it is quite rough. Even though no alcohol is consumed by our party, we staggered like drunken sailors down the aisles to the restaurant, holding on to handrails and posts – as did most everyone else. Well, those who weren’t already well into their drinks or sick. The boys were quite queasy and unable to eat supper – thankfully, they did not throw up! But like many of the passengers, sat quietly in their seats and hoped it didn’t get worse. Which it didn’t. The rough ride only lasted about two hours, then it was smooth sailing again. Then they were hungry – but the diner was closed by now. We had snacks. With such late arrival and our accommodation some distance from the docks, I was concerned about how we were going to get there, so I had e-mailed a local taxi company, Craigies and they assured me that taxis are there, which was confirmed by the helpful lady at the Northlink Ferry desk when we picked up our boarding passes in Lerwick. But above that, Craigies had a sign with my name on it – the driver was waiting for us at the docks! What a delightful young man was our driver and though he’d never been to Woodwick Mill in Evie before, he found it straightaway. Though our host did not meet us, he had already given us clear instructions and had the light on for easy access at what we discovered inside is a superior, well-fitted 2 bedroom apartment and next morning we stepped outside to jaw dropping views! Orkney Island here we come!
Once we dragged our lazy hineys out of bed about 11 am, Dallas and Nathan prepared a delicious breakfast of eggs from free range Scottish hens, sliced baguette, oat biscuit, toasted haggis, and tea.
We started the day with a jaunt to Waverly Railway station to enquire about a rail and sail ticket from Edinburgh to Lerwick, Shetland. Although, she was unable to book that route (apparently it’s new, the agent didn’t know about it), her advice helped us come back to our rooms and map out more of our trip. Since learning from Allen’s cousin that some of my husband’s family (6th great grandfather) lived in or around Thurso, we are trying to incorporate that into our plans. SInce a lot of the travel will require the use of the Northlink Ferries – it will depend a lot on the weather.
Quickly, I booked cheaper online tickets to Edinburgh Dungeon to catch the last tour of the day and we quickly descended the steep steps through Warriston’s Close– a short cut from the Royal Mile to the show. Unfortunately, the dungeon tour was disappointing and a waste of funds.
When we stepped out of the dungeon the sun was shining and the sky a patchy blue! Hooray. Perfect weather. We had more daylight, so we found the National Museum of Scotland and Greyfriar’s Kirkyard. Not surprisingly, both were closed, although the Kirkyard was open to strolling about. We’ll go back tomorrow.
On the way back, we enjoyed street performances and took more photos. Nathan returned to the room to start supper from our leftovers whilst Dallas and I went to the grocer for more food. With deepening shadows and a bit of nip in the air, the streets grew quieter as locals and tourists alike began to either go home or gather in the many cafes and pubs lining the Royal Mile and side streets of Old Town.