Voyage Reports

Tecla – Faroes, Orkney & Shetland 2019 & 2020

Spend time in the Faroes, Shetland or Orkney 2020

The three week expeditions on Tecla which take in these remote island groups are unique in that they plan to spend time in each island group. They are not treating these amazing locations as a pit stop on the way to Iceland, but unique expeditions in their own right.

Tecla is also offering voyages around the top of Scotland in the Spring. She is then based in Ullapool, North West Scotland for voyages to Skye, the Summer Isles, Outer Hebrides and St Kilda as well as voyages Southwards through the Inner Hebrides to Oban. Tecla returns home to the Netherlands via the Caledonian Canal. 

If you love nature and wild places check out her Iceland and summer Arctic Greenland voyages too.

 Scotland & St Kilda Schedule 2019-20        Iceland and Greenland Schedule 2019-20

Follow The Way of the Vikings – 2020

A route steeped in myth and legend, Tecla follows the ‘way of the Vikings’ and other early traders who sailed between Britain, Ireland and America. They used the Orkneys, Shetland, Faroes, Fair Isle and Iceland as stepping stones to Newfoundland Banks, as well as trading between Viking settlements in all the places inbetween.

This sailing voyage leads to sparsely inhabited islands, tiny fishing villages, deep lochs and rugged cliffs that will be appealing to nature lovers looking for puffin, sea and white tailed eagles, whales and other cetaceans. This area is rich in seabirds, which usually breed on the steep cliff faces. With the Tecla, a relatively small tall ship, we will visit unique places that cannot be reached by anything but boat or ship.

Ullapool on the North West Coast of Scotland is  the stepping off point for Tecla’s journey north to Iceland. Tecla’s route is not a straight line to Iceland. It deliberately meanders through some amazing island archipelagoes: Orkney with its sandstone sea stacks and vast Scarpa Flow natural harbour. Shetland with stunning white beaches, Fair Isle famous for jumper patterns and the shipping forcast and the towering cliffs of the Faroes.

faroes summits in early summer with Tecla crew
faroes summits in early summer with Tecla crew

The Orkneys

Tecla likes to visit Stonoway on Lweis before setting off to the Orkney Isles. That evening sail can be set again with destination Hoy. Orkney’s second largest Island rises dramatically from the sea with Ward Hill towering 480 metes above sea level. The old man of Hoy is the first thing rock climbers generally think of if you mention Orkney but these islands are more varied than you think. Tecla’s Skipper Gijs is a big fan of the Orkney Isles and describes them as Scotland’s Scilly Isles with a large number of anchorages and islands to suit different wind directions. Hoy, Flotta, the Mainland and South Ronaldsway surround Scarpa Flow – the infamous deep water harbour where the whole German Navy were scuttled. North of mainland Orkney are even more islands.


Orkney Isles on Tecla
Orkney Isles on Tecla

Fair Isle

43 km north of North Ronaldsay and 38 km south of Sumburgh Head, Fair Isle lies right in the middle of the Orkneys and the Shetland Isles. On a clear summer day, a little cloud gives a way the location of Ward hill. At 217 mtr high this red sand stone bluff makes up the Islands NW shore. The dramatic and scenic South shore is made up of naturel sand stone and has many skerries and arches. Withstanding the teeth of time, Fire Isle or Far off Isle is part of the natural border between the North Atlantic and the North Sea. Right on the fringes of civilization.

This treacherous stretch of water did not seem to bother the ancient navigators. The grave tombs at Houlalie are dated back as far as 3500bc. At Landberg we find an Iron Age fort. The real legacy is in the many Norse place names. These old warriors used the Island on their way on raids in the Outer Hebrides. They created a system of fire beacons on the outposts of all the Isles to warn the coming of enemies! The Orkneyinga Sage has Earl Rognavalt sending one of his men to the Island to drench the beacon in water, to prevent it from being lite. This enabled the cunning Earl to make an unannounced land fall at Westray! 

Tecla in a perfect little harbour on Fair isle
Tecla in a perfect little harbour on Fair isle

Shetland Isles

Next stop will probably be Lerwick on Shetland. Tecla is a Dutch Herring Drifter built in 1915 so it feels right to visit the famous old herring port. Lerwick bay used to be filled with herring drifters of all sorts. Unst will be the last stop on the Shetlands. Hermaness National Nature Reserve has a great variety of wild live, birds as well as mammals.

The Shetlands and Fair Isles create much sought after knitwear and have a unique culture and Shetland has Robinson Crusoe like beaches where your footprints are likely to be the only footsteps.

Broch, Lerwick, Pixabay
Broch, Lerwick, Pixabay

Faroes 2019

The Faroes rise high from the turbulent seas and form some of the most dramatic coastal landscapes and highest sea cliffs in Europe. Often shrouded in mist with giant waterfalls, there is something of the land of legends about the Faroes. On a clear day you could stand on a summit and soak up a panorama that really couldn’t be anywhere else but the Faroes. A truely unique place and should be on every sailors bucket list. 

If the weather is fair the cliffs off Slaettaratindur will be visible from a great distance. These are Europe’s highest sea cliffs at 882 mtrs above sea level. First port of call will be Torshavn, the capital of the Faroe’s, with beautiful black houses and stunning gardens. The Islands have much to offer, like the Viking excavation site at Kvivik.



The Faroe Islands are way out there in the North Atlantic current. This group of 18 islands is fully exposed to the fury of the Ocean. It is wind swept, being right in the path of the depressions moving North East. This makes it isolated and there for untouched. It is raw and rough, home to some of the world’s most awesome views. It will be the last thing to see before making landfall at Iceland!

Faroes on a clear day.
Faroes – Great for Hiking but it can also have misty moods with waterfalls pouring off the cliffs

The Westman Isles 2019

First stop in Icelandic waters might be be Vestmannaeyjar, a group of spectacular offshore islands before arriving in Reykjavik. Hopefully there will be time to explore. A tourist location in its own right but one few of us have heard about, Westman Isles are a good taster for Iceland. Puffins, signs of recent volcanoes, settled islands and uninhabited islands.


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