Woke up, went for a shower (might as well get my money’s worth while paying to stay at a campsite), and them promptly got soaked by horizontal rain while walking back to the tent. So, now all my clothes are damp. I start to wonder when they’ll get a chance to dry out. The weather forecast hasn’t been particularly inspiring. Moz had booked a boat trip out to Staffa and we’re wondering if it’s still worth going give the gray gray weather. After some umming and ahhing, we decide that we might as well cycle into Fionnport to get something to eat, and we can decide about the boat trip, and more generally, what to do all day if it’s going to constantly rain, later.
So the good news is that in-between attending CVSS in the Black Forest, Germany, and ECVP in Liverpool, England, I just about have enough time to head off to the islands again this summer! And, even better, Moz is back from Italy and has just enough time to go on an adventure before he’s due back at school. My plan is to get the train down from Aberdeen to Linlithgow on the Monday, while Moz drives north from Manchester. We then have time to get packed and have some lunch at Linlithgow before heading up to Oban to catch the last ferry to Mull.
Huh, I never did finish writing up last year’s trip. Well, I guess I should start now, before I start writing the 2015 trip. Not that there’s a huge amount to say… we woke up, packed up, and started cycling North. The weather was continuing to hold and travelling across the causeways was a much nicer experience than on the way down.
We stopped off at the Italian Chapel, built by POWs in the second world war. Quite an amazing building.
We then spent the afternoon taking the long route back to Kirkwall for the evening ferry.
Aaahh, sunshine again. Much better, And we have smoked salmon and oatcakes for breakfast. This however attracts some unwanted attention from the locals…
The plan for this morning is to leave out stuff at the hostel and cycle down to the Southern tip of South Ronaldsay and visit the Tomb of the Eagles. My shoes are still soaking: luckily I can go for the fashionable socks + sandals look while they dry off.
And, …. there goes the good weather. It looks like today is going to be a complete contrast to yesterday. Oh well, nothing for it but to get up, take down the tent, and head south. It turns out that packing up without getting getting everything damp and covered in sand is a little tricky. Still, we can worry about that later. While it’s only 15 miles to the Ness of Brodgar, it would be a shame to miss the guided tour!
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 always find sleeping in a tent on the first night difficult… there just doesn’t seem to be any way to make sleeping on the ground in a bag with no pillow comfortable. Hence Monday morning was somewhat bleary eyed. Still, our plan was reasonably laid back: buy a new water bottle, look round the sights in Kirkwall, then cycle up to the Broch of Gurness and camp by the nearby beach.