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Monday 28 June 2021

Some more photos NOT from Graemsay - Part 2


I'm still not going out and about much at the moment. Though I have recovered my energy levels again.  However there have been a cluster of cases in Orkney in the last couple of weeks after an outbreak in Kirkwall connected with pubs and parties.  Anyone returning to Orkney from away has been requested to take lateral flow tests for some time now but a) it's not compulsory so not everyone does and b) those tests aren't particularly accurate so it is inevitable that cases arise.  NHS Orkney are doing a sterling job with testing and there is a mobile testing unit to increase capacity in Kirkwall.  However the lighthouse lab in Glasgow is overwhelmed as cases have risen exponentially in Scotland so it is taking time for results to filter back.  As the Delta variant has been detected and evidence suggests that even those who are double jabbed but are over 50 and with other health conditions may be at higher risk of contracting the virus I am just staying quietly on Graemsay again for a while!

Anyway - back to cheerier things.  Earlier in June I went for a visit to the Broch of Gurness.  Truth be told this was to meet a pal for a picnic as it is a lovely spot and we hoped it might be quieter than some of the more popular sites.  Hmmmm well it wasn't THAT busy but there were a number of camper vans there plus other vehicles.  However we found a bench overlooking the sea and enjoyed our picnic.  Afterwards I discovered that the Broch, which is managed by Historic Environment Scotland, was open for free so I went for a wander.  I have been round this broch several times with various visitors, but it's always a joy to visit as you can get up really close and wander about.  So here are some pix.

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age settlement, with a former tower at the centre where the head of the clan would have lived with his family, and a small villaged around the central tower.  In times of danger the villagers could have sought refuge in the tower.

The broch is on the coast near Aikerness beach in Evie, Orkney.  It sits on the edge of Eynhallow Sound, with the island of Rousay across the water.  Rousay also has amazing archaeology and is well worth a visit.  Brochs would have lined the coastline around Orkney at one time.

This is the doorway into the broch

Looking over to Rousay

This is a quernstone which would have been used for grinding grain for flour. The fire pit is top right, and below the quernstone is a flagstone lined hole that may have held water, and may have also held fish, crabs etc prior to cooking.

Better picture of the hearth

View from inside the tower

A view of the "village" and surrounding rampart with the tower in the middle

The view looking across the Sound to Rousay

Bit of a blurry view of the headland on Rousay

More views of Rousay

The Guardian of the Broch!

And his chums.....

Aikerness beach

And I mentioned a picnic.  We sat on this lovely bench which a friend and her family placed here in memory of her father, a local GP.

The inscription reads : 10.02.1923 - Dr Olaf Cuthbert - 09-041923 "I leave few footprints on the sand for stormy seas to wash away. I take with me the breadth of the sky and seas of unimaginable blue."

And while we were there we were joined by a furry friend.  A puss cat that lives locally but is happy to scavenge from anyone visiting. 

"What have you got for me, human?"

"Let me check for myself"....

"As ever, humans are a disappointing race.... no food for me..."

Hope you enjoyed your jaunt out to the Broch!

Monday 21 June 2021

Summer Solstice......


I've been unwell for a couple of weeks (non-covid related!) Am feeling better now but still low on energy.  So here are a few photos from around and about the island this June.  The weather has been mixed with some lovely days and some cooler, fresher days.  Orkney is getting busier with visitors which is good for the economy.  We have had a few cases of Covid-19 in recent weeks, mostly local folk returning home from visits south.  But no significant outbreak so far.  Orkney is in Level 0 so shops, hotels, pubs etc are open, although there are still restrictions on social distancing, mask wearing, and capacity.

Right - back to Graemsay..... these photos were taken in the last couple of weeks.  Sunrise (which I did see this morning but no photo!) was at 4am, and sunset will be at 22.30.  Though I may be in bed before then!

There have been magnificent summer skies....

Crepuscular rays - love the sunbeam shooting up....

An ethereal sunset....

This view was taken by my neighbours across the bay.  It's very "impressionistic"!

Thrift on the old lighthouse pier....

Some of the local primary school children visited the island last week.  Think they were trying to build their own version of Skara Brae - the Neolithic village out at Skaill on the Orkney Mainland!

More thrift on the pier - looking towards the Hoy Hills...

Button was willing the duck (small black blob) to swim in a little closer - I think she was hopeful of "lunch"......

More thrift....

Someone enjoying a sail in the light breeze

The old quarry looking very tranquil.....

The quarry again.  The old croft of Dean in the background with the hills of Hoy further back.

Looking back towards Stromness over the cow parsley

After a late start the garden is bursting out all over!

Button on a mission!

Fields resplendent with buttercups

Button likes to find any warm spot for a nice snooze....

Hope to be out and about again soon!  Enjoy summer folks, and stay safe and well....