Al and Micha’s Trip to Orkney: Day 2

Perfect!

Perfect!

Well, that blue sky is quite a sight. A huge contrast from the overcast, windy weather from yesterday. Clear blue skies and very little wind. Perfect weather for us! The plan for the morning was to walk over to the Brough of Birsay, the island you can see in the above photograph. It’s connected to the Mainland (Orkney mainland, not Scottish mainland) by a tidal causeway that will be open most the morning. En route, we pass by another of the Earl of Orkney’s palaces.

I think this was the Earl's first palace. Then he decided he wanted to keep a beady eye on the bishop in Kirkwall, so built a second palace on the other side of the island.

I think this was the Earl’s first palace. Then he decided he wanted to keep a beady eye on the bishop in Kirkwall, so built a second palace on the other side of the island.

Looking across to the headland from the causeway

Looking across to the headland from the causeway

Some seals! Everybody likes seals right! Still a little sad we missed watching the dolphins on the ferry though. I guess I was too busy watching Micha delete books off my kindle.

Some seals! Everybody likes seals right! Still a little sad we missed watching the dolphins on the ferry though. I guess I was too busy watching Micha delete books off my kindle.

More flagstones. Ok this isn't the most exciting photograph.

More flagstones. Ok this isn’t the most exciting photograph.

On the Brough of Birsay are the remains of Pictish and Norse settlements.

All that remains of

All that remains of the old Norse church.

The viking settlement is just above (on top of?) a far older dwelling

The viking settlement is just above (on top of?) an older Pictish dwelling

Looking across the causeway from the ruined church.

Looking across the causeway from the ruined church.

It's me! Standing by a standing stone!

It’s me! Standing by a standing stone!

Above the ruins is a picturesque lighthouse, and some impressive sea cliffs. If it was for the tidal causeway, and the plan of cycling to a different part of Orkney in the afternoon, I could easily of spend hours here. We should have brought a picnic!

Micha wanders off to explore the lighthouse

Micha wanders off to explore the lighthouse

Birds on a cliff edge

Birds on a cliff edge

I reckon they're a pair of shags? Feel free to correct me if you know otherwise.

I reckon they’re a pair of shags? Feel free to correct me if you know otherwise.

A gull in flight over the cliffs.

A gull in flight over the cliffs.

We head back to the campsite and “strike the tent” a little before lunchtime and come up with a new plan (after ending up on the east of the island rather than the north due yesterday)! We’ll head to the beach at Gurness today! The downside is that we then have to back pedal somewhat on Wednesday morning to get to the Ness of Brodgar, but so be it. It’s still sunny, so a good day for the beach. The cycle over the moors should be nice too 🙂

But first things first: before heading north we’re going to take a detour for a few miles and head to the Orkney Brewery. It’s lovely and sunny and a pint and pub lunch will go down a treat.

Just in time to beat the afternoon rush.

Just in time to beat the afternoon rush.

A good opportunity to have another pint of Corncrake. Just what's needed before heading over the moors with all our kit.

A good opportunity to have another pint of Corncrake. Just what’s needed before heading over the moors with all our kit.

The cycle over the mainland was lovely. Finally there’s a little more sense of wilderness (ie, it looks a little more like the Outer Hebrides) and the weather is perfect. I’m feeling very lucky with the weather, and end up humming Here Comes the Sun while cycling up the hill. We stop for a breather at the top, take some photos, and then enjoy the nice long, (but not too steep…. going fast with all the extra weight gets pretty scary!) downhill to Evie.

There are a lot of windmills on Orkney.

There are a lot of windmills on Orkney.

These photographs never do the scene justice! I guess looking at a nice long downhill after a long uphill makes the view even more pleasing.

These photographs never do scenes like this justice! I guess looking at a nice long downhill after a long uphill makes the view even more pleasing.

All in all, a fantastic couple of hours of cycling. The fancy strava app thing tells me it was only 15.1miles, with a mean speed of just over 10mph. Not that fast, but not that slow either given the pub lunch and heavy bags. Top speed of 30mph was a lot of fun going down the hill 🙂

Waiting for us on the north coast is a lovely beach by the Broch of Gurness.

If only the water was as warm as it looked.

If only the water was as warm as it looked.

A couple of people had suggested camping somewhere around here, and it seemed a pretty nice spot, and even had some handy public toilets nearby. The only downside is that I could see any good ground to pitch the tent on. We decided to put off making a decision and walked over to the Broch to have a look around.

The walls used to stand 10m high. Must of been a very impressive sight.

The walls used to stand 10m high. Must have been a very impressive sight. The Broch dates from a little over 2000 years ago.

A picture of some cows. Just cause I thought it was a nice picture.

A picture of some cows. Just cause I thought it was a nice picture. Moo.

Looking back over the bay

Looking back over the bay

A flock of geese!

A flock of geese!

After wondering what to do about a camping spot for a while, we eventually decide to just camp out on the beach. By around 5pm the place is deserted, so we pick the flattest spot furthest away from the sea. A gale force wind and large waves seems unlikely, and my biggest concern is sand, and sand flies, getting everywhere! Once the tent is up, time for some coffee.

Making coffee on the beach!

Making coffee on the beach!

While instant coffee really can’t compare to the coffee I’ve been recently making with my new aero-press (thanks Louisa!), the novelty of sitting on an empty beach and boiling water in a little stove does add a certain something!

Ahhhh.

Ahhhh.

A perfect camping spot. Hopefully!

A perfect camping spot. Hopefully!

insert caption

I just like taking photos of my tent in scenic locations

Once the tent was up we cooked a makeshift meal, then waited for the stars to come out.

The moon!

The moon!

Unfortunately, this far north, the sun takes quite a while to set.

An abandoned building near the beach

An abandoned building near the beach

Well, while we wait for the sun to go time, this seems like a perfect opportunity to make a start on that whisky we bought the over day.

Careful: don't get sand in the whisky!

Careful: don’t get sand in the whisky!

Who needs daft digital filters when you have a sunset like this.

Who needs daft digital filters when you have a sunset like this.

Sadly, by the time the stars start to come out, we’re both ready to fall asleep. I guess exercise, sunshine, and alcohol will do that to you. Ah well. It’s nearly midnight, it’s getting cold, and we have to be at the Ness of Brodgar for 11am tomorrow.

Advertisements

2 Responses to Al and Micha’s Trip to Orkney: Day 2

  1. Laurene says:

    I always spent my half an hour to read this webpage’s articles or reviews all the time along with a cup of coffee.

  2. wine baskets says:

    Hey there I am so thrilled I found your webpage,
    I really found you by error, while I was researching on Digg for something else, Regardless I am here now and would just like to say thank
    you for a remarkable post and a all round thrilling blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read it all at the minute but
    I have bookmarked it and also added in your RSS feeds, so
    when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up
    the awesome job.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: