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Sunday, 19 January 2020

Fresh air!

The last few weeks can best be described as "windy".  A couple of gales, with winds up to 63mph (fairly normal for Orkney at this time of year), and then general windy days with wind speeds of about 42mph.  It gets boring!  It's noisy and I don't find it pleasant to be out.  I've generally done a dash to feed the hens and Charlie the barn cat, and then retreated indoors.  I've been over to Kirkwall a couple of times but even that was a challenge with rough seas and blustery showers.  Ah well... it is Winter.  However today was far less wind (still breezy mind!). 

So Button and I made the most of it.  Sorting out recycling in the shed, organising bird and cat food, putting the car battery on charge (it went flat a few days ago but too windy for me to put the bonnet up to put on charge).  A wander round the garden and then to the shore.  It was a grey day, but just lovely to be out and breathing fresh air!

These shags (or are they cormorants?) enjoying some respite from windy weather too.

The Hamnavoe ferry which sails to Scrabster on the Scottish Mainland is away for a refit (the marine version of a car's MOT) so we have this vessel instead.  It's mostly a cargo ship but takes a few passengers too.

Button enjoying the air too.....

Here she had the wind up her tail and was chasing seaweed!

There have been extremely high tides this week due to Spring tides (nothing to do with the season, a Spring tide occurs after a full moon). With the high tide and high winds the stones were piled up against the shoreline all along the beach.

Low lying cliffs!  They still take a battering and chunks of earth and grass break away.

Surprisingly little seaweed on this beach.  Made it easier to walk along I have to say!  I avoid slidy seaweed!

It amazes me that these walls are still standing after the years of battering by the seas and wind.  Though they have a distinct "lean" on them now... This used to be a workshop, thought to be used by the workers when the lighthouse was built.  Tumbling onto the shore now due to coastal erosion.

A wall hanging in the air - the rest of it fell onto the shore some years ago.  The old Sandside steading (byres) in the background.

More of the old byres.  The nearest one used to be a dwelling house, there is evidence of fireplaces inside...

The old sail house.  The sails for the yole (a small sailing boat that most households had to get to Stromness for supplies, taking things to market, or going out fishing). No sail boats on the island now.

Button heading home after our walk.  She enjoyed getting out and about too having been cooped up indoors (her choice!) during the windy days.  Though she does make forays out but they are short when the weather is poor.

Sandside beach.  Not much seaweed there either! In days gone by in Orkney apparently the seaweed would be taken off the shore and fed to the cattle - they loved it!

The "main road" round the island...

And signs of Spring!  In Orkney the growing season starts late.  About 6 weeks behind most of the UK I think. 

And as I type I can hear the wind rising again.  Ah well it was a lovely day to be out and about and there will be others.  At least we are not having to deal with huge floods or fires, nor snow storms.


  1. Mr Tense, is the Bird officianado, he helped me know that a Courmorant isn't a Great Northern Diver!

    1. Haha! Now Great Northern Diver I can tell! Well as long as I have bins with me.

  2. Weather governs everything and effects us in different ways. My daughter teaches and when there are high winds around the school she says that it has an effect on the children's behavior. Sometimes periods of low pressure can make us feel down whilst high pressure can have the opposite effect. In Cardiff we are having a spell of high pressure, the highest for many years so people should be happy!!!!! in theory.
    Shags tend to live more on the coast and cormorants feed inland, but they can baffle experienced birders.
    Its sad to see the old buildings derelict I bet they have many stories to tell. Nice pictures.

    1. The weather has definitely been "changeable" in Orkney this January...though mostly windy.... and with very high tides. Some homes have suffered flooding. Thankfully all OK on Graemsay.

  3. I think that they're Cormorants too 😊