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Wednesday 21 March 2018

Sunset walk

These photos were taken a week or so ago and already the sun has moved further round as the year turns. This was the first "after work" walk of the year!   Sunset was just about 1800. Today it should be about 18.25.  And NEXT weekend we move onto British Summer Time with the clocks "springing" forward one hour.  Whoo hoo!

Snow and cloud over Ward Hill on Hoy.

The main road on Graemsay!

Reflections of sun in the sea

And of course Madam Button came for a stroll too.  She likes to live dangerously. It's not good for my nerves....

Yes she is teetering on the edge of the abyss.....

And then when I berate her for living so dangerously I get the "What?" look.....

Tuesday 20 March 2018

A walk to the beach in sunshine.....

I took a walk to the shore (Button remained in the garden sunbathing!).  It was just glorious to be out with no wind, hail, rain or snow!

Above the MV Hamnavoe ferry sailing back to Stromness from Scrabster on the Orkney Mainland. And below, turning to go into the harbour.  Brinkies Brae (the photos in a previous post) can be seen high on the hill above the town.

The low building without a roof is believed to have been a medieval manor house on Graemsay.  Much altered over the years obviously!  But evidence of fire places inside.

Looking back to Sandside Bay

The natural swimming pool by the old pier.

Looking across at Garson

A blurry picture of a startled heron flying off.

A blurry seal enjoying calmer weather...

The old sail shed at Sandside.  The sails for the family yole (small sailing boat) used to be kept in here.  The yole would have been kept in a boat "noust" well above high tide just behind here on the shore.

On the way home....

And crocus nestling safely among long grass and trees by the dyke at Sandside.  Given the weeks of Easterly gales blowing directly onto them they have survived remarkably well!  Brave things!

Monday 19 March 2018

Around the Spring equinox

Oh joy of joys, SUNSHINE, no wind!  OK still a bit chilly but I even managed a walk without a woolly hat! 

Dear Button doesn't think much of windy days.  Mostly she hibernates too. I love this photo of her with her head in her paws.  Yup I can empathise!

But the days ARE getting longer!  The picture at the top of this post was taken around 5.30am(ish) when dawn was breaking. 

And on a lovely day like today I went Groatie Buckie hunting!  Groatie Buckies are tiny cowrie shells and are often viewed as a great prize.  It's taken me years to develop the knack to find them.  today I found SEVEN!  My biggest single haul yet!!

And some yellow shells in memory of my lovely friend Leslye who died back in January.  She had bowls full of yellow shells around her home and forbade me to pick any on my beach as they were all supposed to be HERS! 

And the daffs (tete-a-tete) are blooming happily now all the snow has gone.

And spring bulbs coming through - tulips I think in this pot!

And the main daff show is getting itself ready with flower buds forming....  Soon time to start clearing away the dead stuff from last year.  I always leave it in winter as cover for insects and for birds to rootle through.

Sunday 18 March 2018


For a few days last week we had a glimpse of Spring.  It didn't last long but was lovely while it lasted!  I took a drive up to Brinkies Brae, one of the highest points above Stromness.  I only had my phone camera so these aren't the best quality but give you a feel for the landscape!

Above from the single track road up "Brinkies" looking down to the harbour, the marina, the Hamnavoe Ferry which sails to mainland Scotland, over to the Holms (pronounced like homes) where there is a house for sale (with the tidal islands!), and then over to Graemsay, with Hoy in the background.

A zoomed in picture on the Hamnavoe ferry, Coplands Dock and the Holms. Beyond Hoy High lighthouse and next to it Sandside.

Not as picturesque but an important view of the town. This looks over to Garson Industrial estate and also a new housing estate.  This is also where the new Care home for elderly folk is being built.  The hills of Orphir in the background.

In the same direction as above but a bit to the left. The new Primary school by the roundabout, and behind is the Stromness Academy, the senior school in the town.  The children from Graemsay and some from Hoy go to these schools, travelling over on the ferry daily.

Then sailing home again.

Sailing past Hoy High light.  Sandside roof and chimneys to the right.

And coming into the Graemsay pier....

And home again....

Saturday 17 March 2018

Snowy landscape

Actually this was a couple of weeks ago and although it feels "cold enough for snow" today and we have had windy days for several days, there is little snow about now.  But as many of you in the UK are experiencing the white stuff again, and many in the Northern hemisphere are snow/frost bound for many months, I thought I'd share these pictures anyway!

Above looking from the "back door" across my field and Hoy Sound towards Stromness where a large snow cloud is about to dump a lot more snow!

Here a view from the front door looking over the front grass, garden and towards the Hoy Hills.

And the Hoy hills disappear as a snow shower comes in....

Down at the pier the sea looks awfully cold! The Orphir hills on the Orkney Mainland in the background.

I was waiting for the lunchtime ferry to come in with some groceries from a shop in Stromness.  More snow being dumped over Stromness! 

Hoy High lighthouse, snow clouds and snow on the shore.

In the garden the dwarf daffs (Narcissus - Tete-a-Tete) are valiantly blooming.

Despite being mostly buried in snow!

For the first time in 15 years the hens water froze IN the hen house!  I gave them extra rations and veggies (you can see the remains of a neep (swede) by the nesting box.  I kept them shut in for a couple of days with extra food and bedding.  Mostly they snuggled together on perches and seemed fine. 

After a few days they rushed me at the door as I went in to feed them.  Snow or no snow they were going out! As you can see much of the snow had gone and the girls were happy to be out scratching about again.

Meanwhile Madam Button stayed resolutely indoors, just going out to do "the necessary".

And then a windowsill companion arrived.....

Hee hee a cheeky neighbour thought we needed a wee snowman!

He stayed there overnight and then the wind blew his head off.  He looked a bit eerie glowing in the dark, headless so I'm afraid he was "dispatched/!

I love the bright days when there is snow, but this time it was particularly cold and didn't help my sinuses or lungs so I stayed indoors apart from feeding the hens! At least working from home I don't have to commute far!

Friday 16 March 2018

A different perspective on Graemsay

Copyright Bruce Flett
Here are some alternative views of the island of Graemsay taken by friends in recent times. The photo above was taken by Bruce Flett, over on the Orkney Mainland, among the Orphir hills and shows Graemsay, with Hoy High lighthouse (and Sandside behind) and the island merging into the Hoy Hills.

While this photo was taken by Trish Avis at Scad Head on the island of Hoy.  Scad Head was used as a WWII army battery for protecting the fleet that was sheltering in Scapa Flow during the war.  Hoy High Lighthouse on Graemsay, and then Stromness and Orkney Mainland behind.
Copyright Trish Avis

This photo was also taken on Hoy, from the top of Ward Hill, the highest point in Orkney.  It was taken by my lovely bonkers friend, Leslye Budge, who tragically died suddenly in January this year. She loved walking and often walked the hills of Hoy.

Copyright Leslye Budge