Vagar, Faeroe Islands to Aberdeen, Scotland
Breakfast in the hotel, in Nordic style again, featured a lot of cheese and cured meats. A mountain of Parma-style ham is a great way to start the day! After leading me round almost every level of the hotel trying to find the door to the car park (“It’s OK, it’s definitely on this floor”) Mike drove us back to the airport, taking the low road this time for a change of scenery. The views were, yet again, stunning.
Despite the promised clear skies, the weather was drizzly with a low overcast. The forecast claimed it would clear up right around departure time. From the airport, it was plain to see that the low cloud was hanging purely over the land, and very slowly moving inland; even if we took off right now, by the time we hit the coast just seconds into the flight we’d be in great conditions.
We breezed through security very quickly, and fueled up the aircraft. A word of warning though; no pilot passing through Vagar should do business with “62N Handling”. They conned us into allowing a large credit card authorisation, claiming it was needed due to possible high airport fees. In the end, the airport fees were only $37, and 62N helped themselves to over $700 for providing a single employee to spend a total of about 90 minutes escorting us in and out of the airport. Unsurprisingly, they then ignored every attempt at contacting them. Handling is not mandatory, so you can bypass them and just take care of things directly with the airport.
Immigration stopped by to check our passports (the first and only time on the Atlantic crossing that they were actually checked), taking them back to their office for about 30 minutes while they did who-knows-what. As we waited, we debated which of us was going to be detained, but in the end he just handed them back to us and wished us a pleasant flight. Departure this morning was off of runway 12, back out over the waterfall.
We set course direct for Wick. Vagar handed us off to Reykjavik ATC, still controlling the oceanic area this far west, and we cruised for an hour or so before getting into range of Scottish Information. The clear, sensible airspace design that we’d flown through all the way from the USA gave way to the typical jumbled mess of the UK.
At Wick we were welcomed by a Flyer Forum member, Bill, and chatted with the very friendly FBO staff before heading south to Fife, Mike’s home base. After a quick lunch at the Tipsy Nipper we went for a couple of quick circuits in Mike’s Czech Sportcruiser. Much lighter on the controls than my C182!
The final flight of the day was up to Aberdeen, prior to a couple of days of R&R. Aberdeen had 3 IFR inbounds, so left me holding outside their airspace. Places like JFK, Newark, and the like have always managed to slot me in without delay – but the UK do always do things rather “differently”! The controller was friendly and helpful, nonetheless, and soon I was parked up at Signature Flight Support ready for a couple of days rest and relaxation in Aberdeen before setting off southwards across the UK.
At this point the fast pace of the Atlantic crossing was over, and I was able to relax and catch my breath a bit with a couple of days off in Aberdeen. On the first day I simply walked around town a bit, enjoying the sunshine at the beach and harbour, and exploring the streets. The tiny fishing village of Footdee, now surrounded by the greater Aberdeen city and the port, was a particular highlight. Unfortunately my afternoon was cut short by a seagull poop which can only be described as “the largest shower of seagull poop yet known to man”monstrous”, necessitating a rapid and ignominious retreat to my accommodation for a shower and change of clothes.
On the second day I rented a car and explored the Aberdeen surroundings. I started out at the Falls of Feugh; the salmon were not swimming but it was beautiful regardless. From here I carried to to explore Braemar castle, as well as the villages of Aboyne and Braemar, before a short drive out onto the moors of the highlands to take in the views. This done, I headed back to meet my father who had just arrived in Aberdeen. He’d be joining me for the next couple of days of flying!
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