Friday, 5 February 2016

Reflections on our UK mainland circumnavigation - An excellent adventure!

Statistics and musings for ‘Norman James’ 
circumnavigation of the UK mainland 2012 - 2015.

Over the 4 years we have covered a total ground track distance of 3974NM with 743Hrs at sea giving an average speed of 5.3Kts. In the process we took 4912 photographs!

We visited 115 different ports or anchorages, and spent 192 nights in marinas, on pontoons or against a wall where we could step ashore (not including extended stays when we left the boat); 26 nights on moorings, and 41 nights at anchor.

The circumnavigation itself was effectively done in 2012 and 2015 with side distractions and explorations in 2013 and 2014. In 2012 & 2015 we covered 2291NM with 393Hrs at sea giving an average speed of 5.8Kts with 70 ports or anchorages visited. 

After filling in the gap between Fleetwood (end of 2012) and Largs (start of 2015), using Fleetwood to Ardglass from 2013, and Ardglass to Largs from 2014, the final figures for the circumnavigation work out as a total distance of 2602NM over 455Hrs giving an average speed of 5.7Kts and 80 ports or anchorages visited.

Most memorable bits
The whole trip has been a very memorable experience, but the following are our joint highlights:

Wells-next-the-Sea, first new port, with tricky entrance, and being escorted in by the H.M. (May 2012)
Orford in the fog, finding the F.W. buoy at the published coordinates. (May 2012)
Shotley, Nightingales singing. (May 2012)
Chichester, 'Norman James' goes home, Pilsey Island anchorage, East Head beaching. (May 2012)
Goat Horn Point, Poole, beautiful anchorage. (May 2012)
Portland Harbour, Olympic sailing preparation. (May 2012)
Scilly Isles, another world! (June 2012)
Padstow to Milford Haven, lot’s of dolphins. (June 2012)
Pilots Cove, another lovely anchorage (& warm!). (July 2012)
Isle of Man, mountain railway. (August 2012)
Strangford Lough and Ireland, new territory in hot sunshine. (July 2013)
Winter in Deganwy, great scenery and walks. (See Conwy August 2013)
Arisaig, Beaching 'Norman James’. (August 2014)
Loch Scavaig, anchoring under the Black Cuillin. (August 2014)
Small Isles, especially Canna, utterly beautiful place. (August 2014)
Outer Hebrides, black pudding and more great scenery. (June 2015 )
Passage from Stornoway to Stromness via Cape Wrath & Loch Eribol, awesome scenery.  (June 2015)
Stromness, Furthest point north. (June 2015)
Transit of the Pentland Firth, serious tides. (June 2015)
Firth of Forth, back into familiar cruising areas and seeing the Bass Rock again. (June 2015)
Returning to Hartlepool, the end! relief and quite a bit of pride. (July 2015)
Dates in brackets are the dates we visited these areas, some post were made much later.

Bits we missed out
There were several areas that we missed altogether or passed quickly, and the following are some of the places we would like to return to:

The inner Wash
The Suffolk & Essex rivers
The Thames & Medway areas.
The Irish coast from Cork to Dublin
The Bristol Channel
The northern Irish coast from Belfast to the north and west.
The Kyles of Lochalsh and the northwest of the Scottish mainland
Barra and Eriskay, and more of the outer Hebrides

The Morray Firth, Inverness, and maybe the Caledonian canal.