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Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Hjatland ferry

This ferry usually plies it's trade between Aberdeen, Kirkwall in Orkney, and Lerwick in Shetland. However at the moment it is standing in for the Hamnavoe which usually sails from Stromness to Scrabster in the North of Scotland. The Hamnavoe is having a "refit" which is usually carried out in a ship-yard down the coast in Scotland. However this year it is being undertaken at it's berth in Stromness and the Hjatland is running the trip instead.

As you can see the Hjatland is a large ship. Interestingly when this vessel was brought into service the shipping company said it would not be able to berth in Stromness because the harbour wasn't deep enough. Instead the local authority constructed a new harbour area near the town of Kirkwall.  But surprise surprise once the ships were in service it found it could quite comfortably berth in Stromness!

It's a shame for Stromness as in the summer months the previous vessels would stop in Stromness on their way to Shetland or Aberdeen and on a Friday night the passengers would get off and go for a bite to eat at a local hostelry, and piped bands would play in the streets and the shops would stay open for late night customers.  It was quite a party atmosphere and a huge disapointment to the small town of Stromness when this ceased to happen.  Ah well they say it's "progress".....

I promise this photo is an optical illusion and NOT the Hjatland about to crash into the Hamnavoe! But it just shows the size of these vessels compared to the wee houses in the town!

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