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Our good friend Geoff Crowley MM5AHO returned on 27th January 2016 to talk about his exploits sailing and activating lighthouses around Orkney during International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend in Augus 2015. This was one of his best: well-illustrated with many slides and a lot of video footage. This report includes a selection of his slides. 

Geoff wrote: "Like previous years, my son, Matt (MM1EUI) and I activated more lighthouses, this time sailing to Orkney, and the two Hoy Lights (Hoy high and Hoy low) located on island of Graemesay. We sailed 605 miles in total to get there and back, a 2 week trip from Helensburgh and return. North up the west coast, dolphins, whales, seals, ships and a few stops en route. Orkney: visited the Orkney club while they activated another lighthouse.

Stations worked: 237 countries, 36 lighthouses, 34 other Maritime Mobiles.

We visited several other lighthouses, and worked them from their "doorstep". Moray Firth, Inverness, Caledonian Canal and back to the Clyde. The presentation included a mystery underwater noise recorded at Corran Narrows (in Loch Linnhe), and a video of fantastic wild sea life".


Geoff and Matt's route started at Helensburgh, made its way up the west coast to Orkney, returning via the Moray Firth and right down the Caledonian Canal and Loch Ness (Nessie not spotted) to the Crinan Canal and back to moorings at Helensburgh. Details in next slide:



 One of many beautiful sunset shots.


 Believed to be the last "puffer" in operation. (Remember Para Handy?)

 Geoff and Matt were entertained by many dolphins who raced their yacht.


 Winds were rather poor this year, requiring a lot of diesel for the engine.


Geoff in Main Street, Stromness, Orkney. 



 Geoff's yacht the Contender in the marina at Stromness.

 One of the locals in Stromness.

 Some houses were built so close together that the gap had to be widened for pedestrians. 

 Geoff and Matt (both in red) with members of the Orkney Radio Club.

 The water was so clear that the anchor could be clearly seen.

 Each lighthouse is marked by a bronze plaque.

 A member of the Orkney club operating during the Lighthouse Weekend.


 Geoff had rather less operating space but kept busy on the air.


 Two other members of the Orkney club.


 One of the several lighthouses activated by Geoff and Matt.



 A Martello Tower dating from the Napoleonic Wars.

 Note the amateur HF beam erected on the RHS of this lighthouse.


 AIS display of ships, oilrigs and other hazards in the Moray Firth on the return leg.

 With poor visibility due to fog, great care was necessary with navigation.


Close-up of a dismantled wind-turbine - enormous! 

 Entry to the Caledonian Canal near Inverness.

Matt and his mother, Marina, who joined them at Inverness for the return leg, dressed for the elements.



 Cruising SW down Loch Ness.

An unusual design of lighthouse, built into a residence.


 The "Bloodhound", yacht once famously owned by Prince Philip and later Princess Anne. 

 A staircase of locks on the Caledonian Canal at Fort Augustus.

 A final beautiful sunset with standing stones.

 Geoff played a recording of strange underwater sounds and asked for help in identifying them. One possibility was man-made sounds to scare predatory dolphins away from a salmon-farm.