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Sunday, 24 February 2008

Another blustery day

Still very blustery and wet today. Though the wind has dropped a little. It’s been windy for five days now and the noise does get a little tiresome! However that’s Winter in Orkney so one just has to put up with it. Fortunately the days are lengthening now which is one of the things I love about an Orcadian Summer – loooong days. By about mid-June it hardly gets dark at all, maybe a sort of dusk between say midnight and 3am. But still light enough to walk home without a torch!

Today has been a fairly lazy day for me, just catching up on a few domestic chores, and spending a bit of time updating my website ( It has been quite some time since it last had an overhall. Mainly I’ve been adding photos and just general tidying up.

I’m planning on uploading some photos of other islands in Orkney that I have visited. Each year I like to explore a little – each island in Orkney is so different from the next. Only Hoy has high hills, the other islands are very low lying, but they still have their differences in topography, and ancient sites, and of course different mixes of folk.

Graemsay doesn’t have any historic sites – well not any that will attract tourists. That’s probably one of the reasons we can live a very quiet existence as not many visitors venture to Graemsay. However each year there are folk with family or ancestral links to the island who arrive with photos or tales of family past. Towards the end of the 19th Century there were two large families living in my house and each year some of their descendants arrive on the island. I love hearing stories about connections with the old house and I’m trying to piece together some of the history.

Our island is very quiet but is an ideal place to view birds, and the scenery is beautiful, with lovely views across the water either to Hoy or the Orkney Mainland. We have lots of wild flowers too – though my knowledge is sadly lacking in that quarter. I can just about recognise the local tiny orchids and one or two other plants.

I love the Spring though as lots of the sea and shore-birds nest along the shore as well as the usual field and “garden” birds and there is a cacophony of sound, especially in the evening. We have large flocks of curlew, lapwings and oystercatchers around, plus other wading birds. We regularly see Hen Harriers, and one year we had some owls nesting here. Unfortunately we also have a variety of gulls which predate on the younger chicks.

Orkney has no foxes, but has a plentiful supply of hares, rabbits, and rats too. However we have none of these on Graemsay, though the local mice population is doing well despite the variety of farm cats.

My conservatory is an ideal place to watch the birds and I love sitting in the conservatory watching the adults with young chicks in the field behind the house – much more interesting than watching TV!


  1. What fun to talk to people who know the history of your house. John and I have driven by houses where we lived as children. The one I lived in as a teenager has been replaced by a high-dollar townhouse. Two that John lived in as a child are still there. Both new families invited him in to look around, and were quite cordial. It was quite a treat for us, too.

  2. Yes it's really interesting finding out the past history of my house. It's fascinating knowing that many of the descentants now live scattered around the globe. And of course some are still here in Orkney.