Scapa Whisky Distillery, Orkney, Scotland



Iceland Cruise March 2018 – When we arrived on Orkney, one part of our coach trip was to see a whisky distillery, Scapa Whisky.  The weather was overcast and cold, also the windows of the coach were tinted and not that clean, so the photos I took out of the window were a bit hit and miss.  The tour was interesting and you got a wee dram and the glass to keep at the end of the tour, which pleased husband, and he was also pleased to add a new one to our ‘Whisky Distillery Category’

A little history……….Scapa has long been known as the ‘other distillery’ on Orkney, overshadowed in both reputation and popularity by the neighbouring Highland Park. This is hardly surprising, given Scapa’s relatively small annual capacity of just under 1 million litres. In recent years however, Scapa has enjoyed increasing popularity as a single malt.

The distillery was originally founded in 1885 by Macfarlane and Townsend, near the town of Kirkwall at the head of Scapa Bay. This location was significant during both World Wars, when it was used as a naval base for the British fleet. Following WWII the distillery was taken over by Hiram Walker & Sons, and then existed in relative anonymity for years before being mothballed in 1994. However, from 1997 until 2004 a small team of staff from Highland Park used the Scapa facility to distil small amounts of whisky and keep the equipment in use.

In 2004, Scapa underwent an extensive refurbishment worth over £2million and full-time production re-commenced. Ownership of the distillery transferred to Pernod Ricard in 2005, and they have helped to raise the profile of the Scapa brand considerably since then. Shortly after this takeover the traditional 12 year old Scapa was replaced with a new 14 year old expression. This was subsequently replaced again with the current 16 year old expression in 2008.

Bressay Island Lighthouse 1858 – Nr Lerwick, Shetland, Scotland

I nearly missed this lighthouse March 2018, too busy looking the other way.  We were on coach coming into Lerwick, and as we came over the top of a hill, my husband told me to look quickly through the other window.  There was a lighthouse, I took a quick photo and then it was gone.  What I had seen from a distance, was a Stevenson’s Lighthouse on Brassy Island, built between 1854 to 1858, and designed by brothers David and Thomas Stevenson.  You can visit the island, and there is quite a few places to visit, but as we didn’t have a car, and there was no way that we could go to the island, and get back in time for sailing on our cruise ship.  So one more reason to return and explore theses beautiful Islands.  The Lighthouse is going into my ‘Lighthouse Category’, until I return and take some close up photos. 

Iceland Cruise 24 – Tangwick Haa Museum & Trip Back to Lerwick, The Shetlands


Iceland cruise March 2018 – On the way back to Lerwick, after our walk along the cliffs, we stopped to look at ‘Tangwick Haa Museum’  This interesting building is full of items from around the Northmavine area, I have added an information sheet if you want to read about it.

One of the items I found interesting was ‘The Gunnister Man’  who was buried 250 and found in 1951.  I have added the information sheet, unfortunately the photo didn’t come too good, but you can still read it.

While on the coach, the tour guide passed around some old black & white photos of knitters on the island.  The ladies knitted non stop, whatever they were doing, they incorporated some knitting.  I just love the photo of the little girl knitting, they started early in those days.

Some views from the coach window on the way back to Lerwick.  Next post will be a visit to Lerwick.  We are still on holiday in Scotland, and so far have had 6 nice days in row, a few more days to go, just hope the weather holds.  



Iceland Cruise 23 – A Walk Along Eshaness Cliffs, Shetland, Scotland

Iceland Cruise March 2018 – After our visit to the lighthouse on the edge of Eshaness Cliffs, we walked along the cliff edge, and thank goodness no one fell over, a few close calls, but everyone accounted for.  Although the sun was shining, it was very cold, but worth it for the wonderful views you see looking out over the sea stacks.  The walk started at the lighthouse, which is visible for miles and is perched on the rim of fabulous volcanic cliffs, which are made of cooled lava called basalt.  We, as a coach party, only walked a short way, but enough to make us want to come back and do some more of the walk.

Esha Ness Lighthouse 1929, Northmavine Peninsula, Shetlands, Scotland

One of the lighthouses that we saw on our Iceland Cruise of March 2018, was Esha Ness Lighthouse, also known as Eshaness.  Suitiuted on the Northmavine Peninsula in the northern part of Shetland’s Mainland Island, we were on a coach trip to see the lighthouse and a walk along the Eshaness Cliffs.  Luckily no one else seemed to be interested in the lighthouse, so I got quite a few people free photos.  We had chosen this tour as I wanted the Stevenson Lighthouse for my lighthouse category, and the location of this one is spectacular, with the weather being perfect.  The light was built in 1929 and was the last manned lighthouse designed by a Stevenson, this one by David A Stevenson.  I have added the information board, hopefully you can read it.  It was interesting to see a light that I really never thought I would visit, and it’s one more ticked of the list.  

Iceland Cruise 22 – Lerwick Port, ‘The Drongs’ & Eshaness, Shetland Islands, Scotland


We have had three days of lovely sunshine on the west coast of Scotland, so at least I got to take some sunny photos.  We have seen a lot of wildlife on this trip, and on Thursday, we are going to the Isle of Rum for a walk with one of the rangers, really looking forward to that trip.  

But I need to first, finish our Iceland trip of March 2018, so on the way back from Iceland, after two very nasty days at sea, we docked in Lerwick the capital of Shetland and the sun came out to greet us.  Shetland is a mosaic of over a hundred islands. This most northerly part of the British Isles is inhabited by around 22,000 people and an abundance of wildlife.  Lerwick is situated on the main island of the group and is known as Mainland.  We only spent a day here, but we went to see a lighthouse at Eshaness and a walk along some spectacular cliffs, plus an afternoon in Lerwick. 

We left the port and made our way to Eshaness, and of course I took photos of the landscape, including liveable and some not so liveable homes.  Unfortunately as we were on a coach, I had to take the photos through the glass, which was not that clean or clear, but I have picked out the best in the way of not being marked too much.  

We stopped at Barewick Cafe for coffee, and what looked like some wonderful shortbread, unfortunately there wasn’t any gluten free shortbread, so I just had to watch husband eat mine as well.  There is a wonderful view of sea stacks which are called …… The Drongs, they are a group of rocks that rise steeply from the sea at the northern end of St Magnus Bay in the north west of mainland Shetland.  They do make a wonderful subject, and I have played around with a few of them.  If you spotted the fairy stone, she was on the grass outside of the cafe, but we left her there, not sure why she was there, but with fairies it’s best to leave them alone.  I also noticed a small cemetery and later found out it was called ‘Cross Kirk Cemetery’ will need to check this one out when we return in couple of years.

We then went on to find the Lighthouse and passed a sea monster, well it did look like one, Dore Holm is a small islet.

We sighted our first Shetland Ponies, they are so small and cute, but this time the coach didn’t stop for us to take photos, so I took some thought the window, a bit point and press, but you can see how they look.  Next post is the  lighthouse and walk along the cliffs.


Iceland Cruise 21 – Geysir Geothermal Area & Farewell to Iceland

After a day of rain and wind, tonight we had a wonderful sunset here in Scotland, so hopefully we will get the first non rain day of our holiday tomorrow……fingers crossed.  Back to our Iceland cruise of March 2018, and we have now arrived at the last post for Iceland, which is also the last site on the Golden Circle, the Geysir Geothermal Area.  All I can say is, that when you are that close to a geyser spouting high into the air, its breathtaking.  I did think that there were more, well there are, but they are more bubbling, than spouting. There were two, but The Great Geyser does seem to have stopped erupting, but its neighbour, Strokkur is a powerful hot spring and an impressive sight. It erupts about every 4–8 minutes and spouts water to a height of 15 – 20 m, sometimes up to 40 m.

After spending time watching the gesyer preforming its magic, we then went over to the centre, and had lunch, a very nice soup, rolls and different fish, very Icelandic.  After lunch is was time to return to the ship, as we were leaving four hours early due to bad weather conditions.  Leaving early really didn’t make a different, as the next two days at sea were not pleasant, we had 5 meter waves, and husband didn’t enjoy one minute of it, not even half a minute.   Next stop is the Shetlands, another place I have really wanted to visit, so I was looking forward to ticking it off my to do list.