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Monday, 14 January 2019

Out and about....



Last week I remembered to take my camera when on a run out round Graemsay. Here are a few photos from that day. It was a very grey day which isn't the best for photos but I do like to show Graemsay throughout the year.  It's not all sunshine. Hee hee!

Above is the croft of Dean with Ward Hill on Hoy in the background....  The South side of the island has a very different feel with Ward Hill looming up quite dramatically.


There is a lot of heathland on Graemsay.  No peat though.....


Apparently Graemsay folk had peat cutting rights somewhere on Hoy in years gone past. It would have been the main fuel for the fires to keep homes warm.  Not much wood around as very few trees, so cutting peat would have formed part of the yearly cycle.




Another croft now, looking towards Stromness.

And further along the Graemsay road takes us West.  This looks across Burra Sound towards the greener pastures on Hoy.

Though there seems to have been a land slip in the last few years on the slopes of the Hoy hills. You can see conifer woodland on the green slope of Hoy. These are (I think) part of Forestry Commission woodlands.


And this photo looks towards Moaness on Hoy, where our ferry sails to (Stromness-Graemsay-Moaness, or sometimes Stromness-Moaness-Graemsay depending on time of day!)



Sunday, 13 January 2019

Blustery day.....



Winter has arrived after a very mild December.  The last couple of days have been chilly and breezier.  I stayed indoors for much of today, just going out this morning to feed the hens and Charlie the barn cat.  It was also a day of raimbows - or part rainbows like the one above. (Hmmm couldn't get the horizon right without the lighthouse looking like the leaning tower of Pisa. No idea what I did there...)

Hens soaking up the rays of the sun between showers....


Clouds and blue sky, with white horses riding the waves.... Photo taken by the Henny house


Another one looking West (nothing between me and Canada!)


A (non-leaning) lighthouse.....


Blue skies over the house....


The rest of the day was spent doing "domestics", paperwork and..... a jigsaw!  A favourite activity of mine in the Winter months.....



Jigsaw and a cup of tea, what better way to spend some time.  Button? Oh she's been sleeping under a bedspread most of the day!



Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Happy New Year!

Ingrid Budge
I have to confess I was cosy and asleep when midnight arrived last night rather than out carousing! But as ever there was a Hogmanay party on the island at a neighbour's.  And a few folk "first footing" around today.

The last couple of days have been cold, windy and wet.  The stunning image above was taken by Ingrid Budge, a local artist who uses photography as part of her artistic creations.  These cliffs are high and on the West Mainland at Yesnaby.  The waves and spray are crashing over them.  Some foolhardy people appear to be on the top fairly near an edge (if you click to enlarge the photo).  Dramatic cliffs but never underestimate the power of nature.....  anyway I love the photo and Ingrid kindly said I could share with you.  (We have no boats for two days due to public holidays so I can't get off the island!).

As you can sea the seas were pretty rough.  Another local photographer, Cecil Garson, took this photo of the MV Hamnavoe sailing from Stromness to Scrabster. Glad I wasn't on it!


A couple of days ago there was a medical emergency on the island.  A patient was taken by the Scottish Ambulance helicopter to the local hospital in Kirkwall.  The patient is doing well and due home once the boats sail again  after the holidays.

A neighbour keeps the landing lights ready in a shed and they are put out in the designated landing spot in my field.  In good visability the helicopter can (and has) landed elsewhere on the island. However in poor visibility (such as that late afternoon) they use the landing lights at Sandside.  Here are a couple of pictures.  I haven't shown close ups so as not to embarrass anyone.


Big yellow whirly bird!


On the Orkney Mainland there are some Christmas and New Year traditions taking place.  In Stromness yesterday was the annual Yule Log pull - the Soothenders (Southenders from the South of Stromness) against the Northenders (from the North of the town) play tug of war with a log down the main street in the town.  I'm delighted to say the Soothenders won again (our pier is at the south end so Graemsay folk qualify to be on the team!).  Yesterday for the first time there was a junior version and one of the Graemsay lads took park.  Later there was an adult version and again the Soothenders won! Yay!  Here's a photo by Cecil Garson again of the adult version......


Meanwhile in Kirkwall there is a whole different tradition, known as the Ba'.    Both a boys and a men's ba'.  No women take part.  They are held on Christmas Day and New Year's Day. This is a game of street "football" with no rules and two teams.  The Uppies (traditionally the farmers) and the Doonies (traditionally the fishermen). Now it's where you were born or where you live that determines which team you might join.  Or your particular allegiance.  It's a tough game and there are surprisingly few injuries given the "srum".  Spectators also have to be quick on their feet or they can get caught in the scrum!

Here is a report of the Men's New Year Ba

And here is a report of the Boy's ba that went on for SIX HOURS this year!

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Randomness....



It's been a dreich couple of days, with low grey skies, breezy and rain. So here are some pictures from the last week or so.

This set were taken by Mr W of Imperfect and Tense when he and Mrs W were out visiting Graemsay last weekend.   Above, Mrs W, myself and Madam Button take a walk along the shore.  Orkney Mainland in the background...

And Madam Button......


I think this is probably the most active they have seen her!




Button is somewhat distracted. I loved the crossed paws!   She's been watching too much "Strictly" (Strictly Come Dancing/Dancing with the stars)



A tree in my garden and looking over to the Lighthouse....



A better version of the lighthouse with moon than my blurry one earlier in this blog!


And a couple he took in the morning of the sunrise.  As sunrise isn't till after 9 Mr and Mrs W were in Stromness for the ferry in plenty of time to get these shots....  Both are very Turneresque.  The pictures, not Mr and Mrs W....





These are a few of mine.  Two from Stromness Harbour. I love the low light of Winter...


And the MV Graemsay sailing out of the harbour....


And these were taken through a car window (don't worry I wasn't driving!) looking over the Stenness Loch and towards the Hoy Hills....




Saturday, 29 December 2018

High tide....



Not quite at the highest point of high tide but getting there.  As you will see, we still have grey skies, and some rain showers, but still NO WIND! And it is very mild, 10 degrees C which is amazing for Orkney at this time of year.  Not that we get much snow or frost, but usually the wind chill factor keeps temperatures down.  Sunrise is still after 9am (9.07) but sunset is getting later by a minute each day and is at 15.23. Yay!

No hunting for shells and treasures today as tide was coming high up the shore.... (I like Winter sunshine as I look tall. Hee hee!)



These 3 birds (shags or cormorants, not sure which) were hanging on till the last minute before they flew off. Obviously wanting a lie in. Well it is the Christmas Holidays...!


Eventually they take flight and join their pals.  You  can see the black heads bobbing in the water....


I set off a flock of curlews as I approached the pier....


The aforementioned pier - nearly underwater.....



Low cloud and incoming rain....  The sheep stay out all year, but the cattle have been taken off the fields now as they make quite a mess of the land and damage the grass for next year.


The grass reclaims the old buildings....



Definitely rain coming in...


The old Manse on the hill with the main road below it....


No shells today but some treasures from another day.....


Meanwhile in the garden one of my benches has been colonised by several varieties of lichens...


The stone dyke (wall) too. They are just gorgeous.


A positive forest of lichen.....



Friday, 28 December 2018

Sky.....

Feathery clouds

There is a lot of sky around in Orkney with low lying land and wide horizons..... great at any time of year.  Here are a few sky pix from December!

Sun rising over Hoy


More feathery clouds (taken from the "main road" on Graemsay.


The MV Graemsay sailing round to the pier on a calm day just before Christmas


More feathery clouds over Hoy




A sunset.....




And OK there's not much sky in these.... But the sunset is reflecting on the Orphir hills



And a close up of the hills, and "home".




A wee bit blurry but the full moon rising behind Hoy High lighthouse, with a fire burning on the Orkney mainland, hence the black smoke to the left!