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Stromness and Scapa Flow

Your Comments: 5 Read or add your comments

Courtesy Flag

Flag, Red Ensign


None given


AC 1954 Cape Wrath to Pentland Firth including the Orkneys; AC 2162 Pentland Firth and Approaches; AC 0035 Scapa Flow and Approaches; AC 2250 Orkneys Eastern Sheet; AC 2249 Orkneys Western Sheet; AC 2568-1 Stromness and Hoy Sound; AC 2568-3 Houton Bay; C68 (Imray) Cape Wrath to Wick & the Orkney

Rules & Regulations

None, but all ferries and large ships report their movements to Orkney VTS on VHF


Strong tidal streams

Tidal Data Times & Range

HW Stromness is between 0235 and 0135 before HW Wick. MHWS 3.6m MHWN 2.7m MLWN 1.4m MLWS 0.7m HW St Mary’s (Scapa Flow) is 0140 before HW Wick. MHWS 3.3m MHWN 2.6m MLWN 1.4m MLWS 0.6m HW Pentland Firth is 0025 before HW Wick   (links)

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General Description

Orkney VTS    (0)1856 873636   VHF 11
Stromness Harbour 01856 850744 VHF 14
Stromness Marina   07483 366655. Office (HO only in Kirkwall) 01856 871313
... read more


Longhope.  There are several approaches to Longhope depending on where you start from; ... read more

Berthing, Mooring & Anchoring

Stromness is the only place around Scapa Flow where there is any semblance of order to berthing; ... read more

Your Ratings & Comments

Written by Don Thomson 3 | 18th Jul 2022
I reviewed these notes in July 2022. Not a lot has changed here although the number of visitors appears to be increasing. Tariff has gone up a few pence per metre
Update Early Summer 2021
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 9th Jun 2021
I reviewed these notes in June 2021. The main point is that the Orkney Tourist people have really gotten their act wired together here. There are reams of information available from reliable sources on navigation, anchorages, piers etc . We have included links to most of it but there is more out there. You can now pay on line.
Written by Don Thomson | 16th Apr 2018
There has been the building of the new pier on the East side of the approach after the Outer Holm. It is not known how much this narrows the channel when ships are alongside it so care may be needed. Otherwise very little has changed here.
Update Spring 2016
Written by dononshytalk | 6th Apr 2016
These notes were reviewed by Don in April 2016. We've added some links to Orkney information web sites but the basics haven't changed
Stromness - civilisation again, hot food too.
Written by Barbados Billy | 25th Jun 2014
The red gas had run out so I wanted to find a replacement and Stromness seems a likely place. I was coming down the West (Ed Note - we've changed this from the authors "east") side of the Orkney mainland from the north via Westray. It is rather important to get the tides right when you hang a left into Hoy Sound as it can hustle @ 8kn. Any wind against tide can be abysmal in a small boat so make sure you clue up on what to expect from the weather. In 2013 there were some experimental wave machines to dodge too.

It was getting dark when I arrived so anchored off the Inner Holm for a few hours rest until I could see to get into the marina. It can get shallow at low water in places so care is needed.

The town in very busy when the ferry arrives but soon quietens down when it leaves. There is a chandler, super butchers and the all important gas shop at the garage on the edge of town.

Beware of potential vertical wind off the West side of Hoy if you leave westbound. With the wind strong from the south east this can be quite a handful until you get clear.
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