Kirkwall, Orkney, 5/5/2023, National Geographic Resolution
National Geographic Resolution
Europe & British Isles
We awoke to find National Geographic Resolution coming alongside the pier in Kirkwall, Orkney. A choice of activities was on offer in the morning – a photographic exploration following the west coast of the Orkney mainland, a walk along the shoreline from Stromness, a birdwatching trip, or exploring some of Orkney’s neolithic sites at the Ring of Brodgar and Skara Brae.
In the afternoon, a walking tour of Kirkwall was offered. Guests had the chance to learn more about the magnificent St Magnus Cathedral which sits in the heart of the town and dates back to 1137.
Our evening was busy. We enjoyed an on-board whiskey tasting from the folks at Highland Park distillery. After dinner, we had fantastic music from Saltfishforty, a local band.
Mairi is a marine scientist and expedition guide from the Highlands of Scotland. She has a passion for nature and being outdoors, whether on or under the water or up a mountain. Mairi’s research has taken her all over the world – from the tropical wa...
Today was another amazing day in beautiful Norway. Overnight, National Geographic Resolution made its way farther north, and we arrived in Hardangerfjorden. And what a sight it was. Steep mountain cliffs on either side of the ship. Green trees, snowy peaks, and tiny houses that seemed lost in the vast landscape. Throughout the morning, we ventured deeper and deeper into the fjord. Cammy explained the disembarkation in Bergen planned for tomorrow, and Carl spoke about the special connection Norwegians have with nature. We sailed under a bridge that spanned the fjord and docked in Eidfjorden, a beautiful little village in the innermost part of the fjord. Here we explored the town throughout the afternoon and hiked out to a glacier lagoon with our naturalist team. Many scenic photo opportunities awaited us along with plenty of history with burial sites from the Iron Age. Back on the ship, it was time for the Captain’s farewell. But it wasn’t over yet. After dinner, we stopped by a majestic waterfall draining the Folgefonna icecap. What a sight to behold.
We woke up to a foggy morning in Lerwick, Shetland’s only town with around 7500 inhabitants. It dates from the 17th century and became the capital of Shetland in the 1830s. The Norse inheritance, and the close relationship with Norway in particular, is obvious in a number of ways. Lerwick translates to Leirvik in Norwegian, meaning “bay of clay.” After breakfast, there were several guided sightseeing options, including the town itself and bus and walking tours outside town. Topics related to history, local culture, landscapes, and birds were all covered, and those who walked got a good leg stretch. The farthest tour went south to Jarlshof, “The Estate of the Earl.” This is one of Europe’s most important archeological sites. For more than 4000 years, people lived, worked, and built at Jarlshof, and we can see how their buildings changed over time. Remains of stone buildings dating from 2500 BC to the 1600s are spread out across the headland. At noon, we all said goodbye to our great bus drivers and guides. Shortly after, we started sailing into the North Sea. In the afternoon, a couple lectures were offered. Our number one ornithologist Jim Wilson talked about bird migration and expanded on a number of mysteries connected to migrating birds. Mairi Fenton, naturalist in marine biology, gave a talk on the fisheries and protected marine areas of Scotland. We learned that establishing such protected areas is not an easy task, as fishermen and the fishing industry are concerned about the impact of new regulations. Fishing, fish farming, and related industries are core income sources in Shetland. Evening recap covered a variety of topics, including footage of marine life from our undersea specialists, the history of Viking ships, expedition cruising, and geology. This was our last day in Scotland, and we are anxious to make our next landfall on the coast of Norway, the origin of so many Scots.