Although the weather has been changeable over the festive season I have been able to get out most days around the island on...... an e-trike! This is an electric (battery) powered tricycle that I have on loan for a few weeks. It's a real game changer for me and I'm looking into buying one for getting out and about on the island.
The Scottish Government gave some funding to the Scottish arm (or leg - ahem) of the UK Cycling group, to encourage folk to get out and exercise more. This involves regular bikes as well as trials of e-bikes. Advice is provided as are taster sessions. In Orkney the local person spearheading this has been encouraging folk on the smaller isles to have a go. My neighbours tried the e-trike but decided they would prefer a two-wheeled e-bike to try instead.
I was curious to have a go on the trike - because of life-long reduced lung capacity and other health issues I have never been able to ride a bike. I run out of puff after a few yards! But I thought if I can ever get away on holiday again, then often they are available for hire in country parks etc so I might be able to go out and about with friends instead of the habitual sitting in a cafe while they go off for a walk. Well - it's no hardship with tea, cake and a book, but in good weather it would be fun to go with them!
But having the "e" assist on helps enourmously. I can pedal slowly with no tension on the pedals yet could whizz along at 10 mps if I wanted to (max speed of bike is about 20 mph I think). I did get up to just over 10 mph but for me the joy is being outside, getting fresh air, watching the sea, clouds, animals as well as getting some not too strenuous exercise! The battery assist is supposed to last for up to about 35 miles, however as I need the assist on all the time (apart from when free-wheeling down hills - wheeeeee!) it doesn't go as far. But on Graemsay that isn't a problem.
Anyway the next few posts will be a compilation of photos taken over the last couple of weeks while out and about on my e-trike!
I popped up to the post box on the trike - we have post collections and delivery 6 days a week. The phone box is not in use - hence the rope round it to keep the door shut. However the community is seeking to purchase this from BT and set up as a public access defibrillator site.
This leg of the journey is from my house, next door to the lighthouse, up the brae to the community centre, and along past the phone box. Then up an incline towards the Windywalls brae.
Sheep may safely graze..... they have got used to me whizzing past and don't run off so much now!
Looking back towards Sandside and the old steading. Orphir on the Orkney Mainland in the distance.
And just up the Windbreck brae is Quoynanapp, one of the many ruins of houses on the island.
More to follow.....