Tuesday 31 May 2022

Orkney Ferry Plus (Part Two)

Senior Moment Number 362

fbb was congratulating himself that he had sourced a "silver bullet" wagon for less than Rails discounted price (to which £4 postage would have to be added) that he ordered the cheapo version very quickly.

Only there was a snag.
It was cheaper 'cos the twit had ordered an "N" gauge "bullet". Which he did not want.


Hopefully cancelled in time and back to Rails for the OO version.

More Orkney Ferries
The rest of the Islands are served by little circular runs, not always the same sequrnce on all days. Here is a brief summary.

Tuesday and Thursday offer the same service, but all other days are different with no ferries on Sunday and only a limited service on Saturday.
The boat (and, presumable its crew) sleep at Longhope overnight. The Mainland terminal is Houton ...
Lyness is on Hoy ...
... and has the luxury of a waiting room, information centre (?), electronic sign and toilets.
No caff - but facilities for refreshment are available nearby.
Flotta just has toilets and an electronic sign.
Travellers have to be hardy creatures in these parts.

The fbbs have good friends who used to live at Carsphairn in Dumfries & Galloway. They emigrated to Rousay where they maintain a smallholding with a few coos and some sheeps. Their "steading" is Innister near Wasbister ...
... almost directly opposite the ferry terminal.
The terminal is asb lavish as ever!
Wyre is just opposite ...
... but lacks the richness of passenger comforts that you would (not!) find on Rousay.

And then there is Egilsay. When Streetview paid a visit, the lavish terminal was undergoing some sort of upgrade ...
The approach road looks quite scary!
The timetable is what you might expect.

And finally ...

This group of |Islands is less populated and thus gets a more minimalist ferry service. The timetable below is just an extract from a very big table with lots of empty space.
The above is the Sunday timetable (left) and the afternoon half of the Monday timetable. On all days except Sunday there is what could be termed a "morning cycle" and an "afternoon cycle" with more trips Monday to Friday in the middle of the day. The letter A usually mean that the sailings have to be booked the day before.

But, our observant readers cry, where are the times for Papa Westray, Westray's smaller brother.
It now gets VERY complicated. But fbb will try very hard.

On Summer TUESDAYS, Pape Westray is served by a call on the North Ronaldsay boat (as we saw in yesterday's blog - of course you remember), but on FRIDAYS this little island has a dedicated servicer.

Of sorts!
(click on the graphic to rnlarge the timetable). So on Tuesdays, you need to check when (or whether) the boat will sail - and on Fridays you cannot sail from Westray to Kirkwall on this service and your 1320 departure could run at any time!

Fun all the way!…

But, fear not dear Island hopping reader, there is another route. A summer-only passenger "and light freight" service runs from Pierowall to Papa Westray.

Aren't we all?

The ro-ro (vehicle and passenger) terminal for Westray is at the very south end of the Island, at a place called Rapness, packed with nightlife and shopping fun. NOT!
Actually Rapness is a short distance inland from the coast ...
... reached by passing the delightful Sands of Woo.
Most names on the map are simply of farms or smallholdings. This is really, really remote!

But not as remote as the pier on Papa Westray which doesn't even get the joys of a visit from Google Streetview. It too is at the southern end of the smaller island.
So what, pray is Pierowall?

It is the "capital" (actually the only "town") on Westray ...
... and it is from here that the "passenger and light freight" boat sails across to Papa Westray.
There are lots of notes on this little chugga-boat timetable ...

A  Available on request only and must be booked 24hrs in advance.
B  Will not operate between 1 July to 16 August inclusive.
C  From 1 July to 16 August inclusive sailings will be replaced by:
    dep Pierowall 1625 arr Papa Westray 1650
D  Additional sailings from 1 July to 16 August
E  From 1 July to 16 August inclusive sailings
     replaced by: dep Pierowall 1705 arr Papa Westray 1730

All of these sailings with the exception of those marked a/b/c/d/e are scheduled and are timed to connect with the arrivals and departures of the ro-ro vessels at Rapness (Westray).

Sailings subject to change to accommodate local events on the following dates: 18 June, 30 July and 13 August 2022.

But this little boat gets you to Pierowall towards the north of Westray and the "proper" ferry leaves from Rapness some significant distance away in the south. So how do they connect?
You catch the Westray minibus service of course. As you would expect, it runs at different times of the day depending on the complexities of the ferry timing. A sample day is shown below.
No times are given BACK to the small boat from Gill Pier Pierowall to Papa Westray. Presumably you can get back?

And the Pierowall to Papa Westray boat only runs in summer. In winter the minibus has to be pre booked from Pierowall to Rapness or vice vera.

Despite the complexity, fbb is assured that the locals understand all this and take it in their stride. With careful planning you can get around - and reliably, too. Well, as reliable as the weather will allow - but that is another story!

Of course you could go by plane!

More on this tomorrow.

Silver Bullet Stop Press - FAILED!
So the N gauge wagon that fbb did not want and should not have ordered will be returned straight away.

Old age incompetence strikes again.

fbb needs a long lie down!

 Next Orkney By Air blog : Weds 1st June 

Monday 30 May 2022

Orkney Ferry Plus (Part One)

It's Easy When You Know

All the various inhabited Islands that comprise Orkney need and have ferry services. To an outside the timetables are complicated and seem to involve boats running round in ever decreasing circles until they disappear up their own funnel. 

So, to begin to understand, we will start with some simple routes.

There it is, top right. Intriguingly, it is about as far from South Ronaldsay as you can get and still be on Orkney! The one in the north is, according to Wikipedia, known for its lighthouses, bird life and sheep!
The terminal is very basic ...
... and the ferry is definitely NOT RoRo!
In the Winter period 2021/2022 the service ran Saturdays only from Kirkwall, and just once a week.
Timings were dependent upon tides at North Ronaldsay, so departures from Kirkwall varied week by week. Return times are shrouded in mystery, but fbb guesses that the island mafia with KNOW when the boat leaves. Just ask a local!
In the summer season 2022 there are two sailings each week, again at variable times with one trip going via Papa Westray, an island we will meet again later. But in summer you do get return times!
Two hours and 40 minutes with views of many of the other islands in the way.


This island is the closest to Kirkwall and it gets its own simple shuttle service throughout the year. Blog readers will, hopefully, get used to the way these timetables are shown, with each day's trips listed vertically.
Departures only are given and you can work out that the boat sleeps at Balfour overnight.

Readers of a similar vintage to fbb will remember a BBC "outside broadcast" to watch Joe Brown (NOT he of The Bruvvers) climb the Old Man of Hoy.
It was a piece of truly terrifying television ...
... and here it (he?) is in colour!
The short sea route to Hoy is from Stromness on Mainland ...
... to the small Island of Graemsay and on to Hoy. 
Here is the daily post leaving Stromness!
And here, the lavish terminal on Graemsay ...
... and the equally lavish pier at Moaness on Hoy.
On Sundays, the Hoy Community Bus ...
... runs from Longhope to Mosness morning and early evening.
The evening round trip from runs one hour earlier in the winder schedule period.
Longhope is on the Island of South Walls, that lump at the south end of Hoy, joined to Hoy by a causeway.
There is a ferry service to Longhope Pier ...
... which we will meet in tomorrow's blog. And it gets very complicated!

But fun!

And The Orange Box for TEA ...
... contains yet another tank wagon for fbb's burgeoning collection. It is a model of a 100 ton fuel tanker coded TEA. 
The minimalist chassis is really only there to hold the braking system ...
... the strength is in the tank itself, both model and full size!

What is impressive is the minute lettering on the red solebar ...
... and on the body of the wagon.
Some of the very small printing is, in theory, legible; but too small for (a) fbb's ocular abilities and (b) almost too small for fbb's modest phone camera - even set on close up!
Does it say this?
Seems logical? The panel is about 2mm high!


fbb now has FOUR huge tank wagons coded TEA from four different manufacturers. A fifth version exists but fbb "missed it" and it is sold out in shops and never appears in the "pre-owned" listings.


How do they compare? That is for another time.

Mostly the real TEA wagons usually appeared in a filthy state as nobody bothered to clean them.
Meanwhile fbb will enjoy his fresh and bright TEA and celebrate its arrival with a cup of tea, also fresh and bright.
Next arrival is a silver bullet, and, this time, NOT c/o the Lone Ranger. Useless fact number 569 : Tonto was played by a real Indian (an indigenous Canadian) called Jay Silverheels! In all except one series the Lone Ranger himself was Clayton Moore.

Hi-O Silver Away!

 Next Orkney Ferry Plus blog : Tues 31 June