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Saturday 27 July 2019

Around Graemsay

A friend came to visit one day this week.  She'd got drenched waiting for the boat so I had to lend her some clothes till they dried out.  But then the sky cleared and we had a hot humid day.  So we went adventuring, slowly, around Graemsay.  Above on the coral beach.  Looks positively tropical and with the humidity it felt it!

Patterns appearing in the fields as farmers cut grass for winter feed (silage and hay).

Fancy a paddle?

The old Lighthouse pier...

I love mooching about in the shallow

Old buildings gradually falling onto the shore in the winter storms..

The "sand" is mostly coral sand and so white that it hurts your eyes in bright sunlight!

Waves very gently caressing the shore.

Sandside beach

Up the road looking back at Sandside, Hoy High, and the bay.

Even further up the road!!

Clouds hiding Hoy hills....

Down at the old kirk....

I love the hairy lichen along the old kirk wall

And it grows on the headstones too.  This is Henry Sutherland's and some member of his family.  He lived at Sandside.  I have a chat to them now and again.... I think they are happy with what I have done to the house...

The view from the Kirkyard over to Hoy.  It's a very peaceful spot...

And then in the evening there was a very dramatic sky and later heavy rain and thunder.....

Stromness disappeard under the gloom!

This mini-panoramic conflates the landscape but gives an atmospheric picture of the sky

Friday 26 July 2019

July evening light

We too have had a heatwave this week.  OK not as bad as further south but still hot for Orkney!  The thermometer outside the front of the house measured 26 degrees C one day this week!  And it's been very humid too.  Thankfully after a thunderstorm last night the air is clearer now and though it reached over 20 degrees today it was more bearable.  Back to normal Orkney weather for the weekend no doubt!

Anyway here are some photos of a walk to the shore for the sunset earlier in the week..... Days are getting shorter now - sunset is about 9.45..... sunrise nearly 5am.

Sandside beach....

You can just make out the patterns on the fields as they are being cut for silage and hay.

Sun dipping down behind the sea mist that is waiting to roll in...

Heading back home...

The view from the sofa....

And... cat on a pedestal!  Also admiring the view......

And ta da!  A sunrise the following morning!!!  4.30am (ish).... well ok not quite the sun but you get the idea....

Monday 22 July 2019

Back in May - Jacobite/Harry Potter Express from Fort William to Mallaig

Oh yes indeedy, the reason for the trip to Fort William in May was to go on the famous steam train, the Jacobite Express over *that* viaduct, made even more famous for appearing in the Harry Potter films.  Anne loves everything Harry Potter, I love steam trains - so we were both happy!  Details here of the train - book WELL in advance!  We booked about January for our trip in May and even then had to change our dates to get the booking we wanted!

You have to book months in advance to get on, we chose to go First Class and to have the afternoon tea on board too - well why not.... it was a fab day out, the morning train to Mallaig, and then the afternoon one back.   The scenery is fantastic.  It's also possible to do it by regular train at a fraction of the cost but frankly we wanted to do it in style!  So here are some photos of our trip!!

Everyone crowds round the engine at the start at Fort William.  This particular trip our engine had to be "helped" by a diesel.  The Spring had been so dry there was concern about starting a fire with the steam engine so it wasn't going at full power.

The driver very kindly let us up into the cab to look at all the bells, whistles and levers AND the fire (no dragon in the fire though - that only happens in Ivor The Engine...)

The carriage we were in was very comfy.  Lovely old seats...... we were in "Florence" carriage....

This was "afternoon tea" though we got it just before lunch!  It was delicious with a selection of sandwiches and cakes.  Anne got a vegan version too.

And for Harry Potter fans there's a chance to buy some tuck!

The train stopped briefly at Glenfinnan station just after going over the viaduct.  The station is now a museum......

Station Masters office

The views from the train were just stunning!  Ermm.... when the steam wasn't flowing past!  But that made it all the more magical!

Approaching Mallaig, with the islands of Rum and Eigg in the distance.

Mallaig Harbour - a wee village on the coast, with ferries out to the isles.  A few restaurants, cafes, shops and a gallery.  A pleasant place to spend a couple of hours before we got back on the train to head to Fort William.

The island of Rum, part of the Inner Hebrides

And the island of Eigg  Hmm think I have those the correct way round!

Back to our train - arrrggh this gull was either inspired or mad to nest here!

Some more stunning scenery!

And then back to the viaduct!  Hundreds of people line the hills around to catch a glimpse of the steam train and take photos.  It was quite incredible to see!

And the train pauses for a few minutes to give passengers a chance to hang out the windows and take photos! There's a better one at the top of this post...

So it was a brilliant day out and I highly recommend it!

And an interesting article in the UK newspaper "The Guardian" about the train line from Glasgow to Fort William and onto Mallaig here

Previous post about our stay in Fort William

And another view of the viaduct from an earlier blog post