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Tuesday, 7 April 2015

A walk on the wild side - ish...

A few days ago G&G from Imperfect & Tense came over for a visit. You can read about their visit on the link to get a different perspective, though our photos are nearly the same! Now usually when they arrive the wind gets up and the rain appears. However this time they must have snuck in under the weather radar as it was a lovely day. Though there was the odd shower and a bit of cloud, but a great improvement on other visits.

Anyway, after their epic sea voyage (the boat went via Hoy), I offered them refreshment of tea and cake. Though they had thoughtfully also brought along triple chocolate cookies....imagine that...for a minute...triple chocolate..... Graeme promptly ate one....hmmm not what I expect from my guests....

So duly fortified with cake and cookies we set out for a walk along the shore.  Button accompanied us for the first 4 yards then decided she had better things to do and I was clearly OK under the supervision of G&G so she wandered off.

Meanwhile back on the coral beach the tide was..coming in....or going out... we weren't quite sure...

But we boldly set off.... or was that set off boldly....anyway we wandered along the shore stopping to look at various bits of rock, musing upon the geology, knowledge of which was fairly minimal. My knowledge is SO minimal this next picture is labelled "Rock 1"....something dark seeped up between the lighter sandstone many thousands/millennia ago (see - minimal).

In a naming departure - here we have "Stone 1". But I love the circles on this one.

Here we have...Rock 2 - this looks like badly grouted tiles....

This boulder has two kinds of rock fused together, imagine the forces at play to do that.

This looks like wave ripples set in stone....

This one is so pretty, lots of imagines "superimposed" on this rock, unimaginatively named Rock 3a.

A different angle on the Hoy High Lighthouse (actually the Hoy Sound High Lighthouse as this is in Hoy Sound).

Graemsay's own mini rock stack!

These huge slabs were so smooth it felt like walking on an Italian Piazza (Rock 5).

There were other things than the rocks though. Graeme spotted this Skate Egg Case - known locally as Mermaid's purses.

And this old tractor front!

And great excitement (from me) and debate from G&G, but sadly no prehistoric fossil, but some old bags of cement that had hardened! (see above re minimal knowledge).

We were heading for this, the "new" Graemsay Pier.....(the above photo was taken hear the pointy triangle which is where the main electricity cable comes ashore - hence, probably the cement).

We then climbed up the cliff face (pause for effect - it's all of 10 feet high). This looks like a stone dog kennel, but no dog (stone or otherwise) uses this for a home. It was a store for the dynamite when the "new" pier was built in the 1950s. The little house with the pointed roof is, apparently, where they kept the fuses for the dynamite.....

And the primroses are out!! Whoo hoo Spring really IS here!

After a pause by the waiting room, a chance for me to get my breath back, and for G&G to read the information boards, we set off up the tarmac road. Past the old rusty winch by the former sail house. There were boat nousts around the shore where the yoles (rowing boats) were kept and the sails would have been stored in sheds nearby. The winch would have possibly been used to help get the boats ashore.

After so much rain this winter some of the fields are very wet....

Just up the hill is the old croft of Moan.....

This post always makes me smile.  To me the "South Coast" always means the English South coast of many holidays and day trips. That of Kent, Sussex, Hampshire, Dorset.... not the wee south coast of Graemsay.  And for visitors to the island the important sign to the beach. Don't miss the ferry, there might not be another one today!

And as we walk down the road to home and lunch (plus more cake and triple chocolate biscuits) we meet a farmer on the way up the road.  The Northern Lighthouse Board ship the Pharos is doing some work to the Bar Buoy.

Lots of lambs appearing in the field.  Think it was nap time as we passed.

Though one little lamb came running over to me. I hate it when they do that, I hate disappointing them...

So - hope you enjoyed your wander around the shore (a bit further than Button and I usually go) as much as I did.  G&G were very patient when I stopped to take a particularly long look at a rock (actually getting my breath back).  Graeme has spotted possibilities for dragon fly lairs and will be back to investigate in the summer. I'm looking forward to my next adventures with them.

And in other exciting natural history news, there are a pair of Sea Eagles nesting on Hoy this year for the first time. Young juveniles, thought to be about 3 to 4 years old apparently.  I must look to the skies more often - they have a wing span of about 2.5m and you can't miss them. Well I nearly did once but I was looking the wrong way.


  1. Triple chocolate cookies - I'm sorry, but they're irresistible.

    1. Clearly..... however in other news, just got a note through the post that the Strumness co-op are offering me FREE CAKE! Must have read my blog and felt sorry for me :-)

  2. thank you for the guided tour, would love to visit the island.

  3. What an absolutely great post! I really enjoy the way you write, and loved the rock pictures. Picture #2 could be a turtle shell. You live on a wonderful island, and there is always something to enjoy. Thank you for sharing these.

    1. Thank you Bonnie! I'm really frustrated that I have so much work at the moment and little energy for other activities I enjoy, like blogging etc....ah well some the summer things should settle down....

  4. What a lovely walk, I love all of the strange objects and fascinating rocks on the shore.

  5. I love the rocks. Thanks for sharing your lovely walk. Winter is not letting go of Nova Scotia ... while Spring has well and truly arrived in the Orkneys !

  6. Loved this entry. Fun to follow you around the island...i recognized some of the angles.

  7. A super post, Sian, and really enjoyed your images of the rocks in the Lightbox. Like you I know very little about geology, but love the variety of rocks to be found up here in the north.