Sailing the Waterways of Russia’s North
By Irene Campbell-Grin
Published by Self Publishing House – Fenhurst Books
Available on Amazon

A voyage few cruising boats endeavour to undertake and a story of perseverance and courage.

In 2000, experienced long-term cruiser Irene Campbell-Grin, with her husband Gordon, took part in the Baltic Millenium Rally – a sailing adventure through the inland waterways of Russia’s North.

Undoubtedly the Rally assisted with the bureaucracy in Russia, but opened many doors for the boats that took part helping them experience the kindness and generosity of the locals.

Irene and Gordon’s time in Russia and with the Rally, however, was just a small part of their circumnavigation of Scandinavia and much of the trip was spent sailing alone.  Inclement weather and breakages were interspersed with enjoying the sheer beauty of the extreme north.

From their homeport in Warmond, Holland, they spent five months circumnavigating, first to St. Petersburg, inland to Petrozavodsk, on to the White Sea, Barents Sea, North Cape and finally home via the west coast of Norway.

Because this book is a compilation of Irene’s diary – originally written just for family and friends – there is no introduction as to who these cruisers are and their background. Bit by bit as you work your way through teh book some history is revealed, but I did feel a little lost at the beginning with such scant background detail.

It is fascinating to read how this cruising couple surmounted all the problems and challenges that were thrown at them with such perseverance and tenacity. An adventurous voyage such as this around a predominantly isolated coast is not for everyone.

If you are considering venturing into the Baltic or cruising Scandinavia, then this book is a must-read. That said, I have no intention of cruising to Russia, but enjoyed reading about the highs and lows of cruising in this part of the world and in particular how Irene and Gordon worked as a team to keep themselves safe in often extreme conditions.


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