Local advice please!! Orkney & Shetlands weather advice

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Weesoots
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Local advice please!! Orkney & Shetlands weather advice

Post by Weesoots » Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:26 pm

Can any locals advise on the best summer months for paddling in The Shetlands Isles & Orkney islands? We plan to do small day paddles. Routes yet to be established.Thanks.

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lg18
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Re: Local advice please!! Orkney & Shetlands weather advice

Post by lg18 » Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:17 pm

Wind - it can be very windy at any time, but any time in the summer is better, generally, than other seasons, for wind. The old books say that July is generally the calmest month, but in recent years (maybe the last 4-5 years?) it has been calmer earlier, e.g. May-June. Wind direction varies enormously, it is certainly not necessarily from the SW - but Shetland has such a complex coastline that to be honest, whatever the wind direction, you should be able to find a bit of coast that is relatively sheltered either from the wind itself and/or the swell.

Rain - hmm... it's not as wet as the west coast of Scotland generally - not sure what the driest month is in summer, it can do anything really.
Cold - it's cold all summer (but obviously colder in May-June than July-Aug). I once had to wear 2 down jackets while cooking outside while camping in July - strong northerly wind.
Fog - the warmer months are supposed to be worst (July-Aug??) and the East side worse than the West, supposedly.

Given you can't really tell when the best weather will be, in terms of other factors, I personally very much prefer Shetland earlier in the Summer, say May and June, because of the seabirds and flowers and it's generally quieter (not that it ever gets very touristy at all compared to the West coast of Scotland (or Orkney)!).

Ditto all the above for Orkney (not that I know Orkney very well), except it is more difficult to escape the wind because it is lower-lying, and the tidal flows are horrendous!

Magic Seaweed seems to be fairly accurate for Shetland (At least short-term).

I hope you have a fantastic time whenever you go - there's no better place in the UK in my humble opinion!
Lucy

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Mark R
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Re: Local advice please!! Orkney & Shetlands weather advice

Post by Mark R » Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:48 pm

lg18 wrote:Ditto all the above for Orkney (not that I know Orkney very well), except it is more difficult to escape the wind because it is lower-lying, and the tidal flows are horrendous!
Just to expand on this...in Shetland you can easily access almost any part of the isles by vehicle from a central base, i.e. choose a launch spot for the weather. Should you wish to visit the outlying islands by ferry, the prices are laughably cheap.

In Orkney, there are lots of road accessible options in the south, but the North Isles either require extended paddles through heavy-going tides or long expensive ferries.
Mark Rainsley
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orkfay
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Re: Local advice please!! Orkney & Shetlands weather advice

Post by orkfay » Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:32 pm

May June are generally the best months with long days and more varieties of bird life
Ditto all the above for Orkney (not that I know Orkney very well), except it is more difficult to escape the wind because it is lower-lying, and the tidal flows are horrendous!
This is not actually true.
Shetland essentially has an east and west coast so there is not much shelter if wind is N'ly or S'ly
whereas Orkney has distinct N S E and W coasts so you can usually find some sheltered water provided the wind is not horrendous.
(Most of my paddling has been in Orkney and Shetland.)

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Jim Tait
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Re: Local advice please!! Orkney & Shetlands weather advice

Post by Jim Tait » Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:45 pm

July and August are great in Shetland as well (most years........)

give us a shout if you do decide to come up.....

http://www.shetlandcanoeclub.co.uk/

JIm

Weesoots
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Re: Local advice please!! Orkney & Shetlands weather advice

Post by Weesoots » Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:29 pm

I'd like to thank you all for the information it's been really helpful.

Jim, I think I'll email your club nearer our visit to see if there are any routes that you would particularly recommend? I'm sure you all have a fantastic knowledge of your local surrounds!

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Jim Tait
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Re: Local advice please!! Orkney & Shetlands weather advice

Post by Jim Tait » Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:15 pm

All of it!!
Get Tom Smith's book- It has everything you need to know

http://www.pesdapress.com/Canoeing-&-ka ... _info.html

Jim

Weesoots
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Re: Local advice please!! Orkney & Shetlands weather advice

Post by Weesoots » Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:26 pm

I bought Tom's book last week... looks great!!

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lg18
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Re: Local advice please!! Orkney & Shetlands weather advice

Post by lg18 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:38 am

One piece of advice - Tom Smith tends to underplay the enormity of it all and many of the caves are rather large, so a normal head torch for normal caves just won't cut the mustard. We take big powerful dive torches and strap them to the front deck (as well as head torches), and even then I sometimes wonder if I've forgotten to turn them on as all I can see is blackness! There was a photo on here somewhere of a guy with TWO headlights on his front deck - now that's the way to go, and we will be buying extra dive lights soon to do the same!

Lucy

Weesoots
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Re: Local advice please!! Orkney & Shetlands weather advice

Post by Weesoots » Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:56 pm

Hi Lucy

Thanks for that sound advice...our existing head torches won't be suffice for the job then!

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orkfay
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Re: Local advice please!! Orkney & Shetlands weather advice

Post by orkfay » Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:05 pm

And the man himself, RichardF:

Image

[Think this may have been Kirsty's Hole on West coast Papa Stour]

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