A fundraising sailor has spoken of his experiences in the isles after taking on the mammoth task of sailing round all ports with harbourmasters in Britain and Ireland.
Mark Ashley Miller has so far raised over £4,000 for Seafarers UK in a five year venture aboard his trusted vessel Good Dog.
His huge effort began last year and is not due to end until 2024.
He has set himself a £10,000 target and plans to write a book about his fundraising escapade at sea.
So far he has visited Fair Isle and Lerwick Harbour. On Saturday night he planned to stay at Papa Stour, having sailed around the top of Muckle Flugga – “the ambition of many a UK sailor”.
“I met Captain Alex Simpson – the harbour master of Lerwick Harbour – and Captain Ross Gordon, deputy harbour master of Shetland Ports,” he said.
He also described an unexpected, and memorable, encounter with the coastguard helicopter – although, thankfully, the Sumburgh-based chopper was not required for an emergency at the time.
“As we left Lerwick waters we were buzzed by the coastguard helicopter, which did a training exercise over our mast for 10 minutes with our permission.
“It was very useful as a skipper to know exactly how loud a helicopter is when overhead – deafening.”
Mr Ashley Miller also described meeting Fair Isle resident Ian Best – “who was very friendly but made sure I knew he was not the harbour master”.
“I will still include him in the book I write.”
Seafarers UK has been helping people in the maritime community for over 100 years, by providing support to seafarers in need and their families – and to those in education or training who are preparing to work or serve at sea.
Last year Seafarers UK gave grants totalling £2.5 million to 50 maritime welfare charities.