/ Scotland2016

Thurs - Soft Kittiwake, Warm Kittiwake, little ball of ...

Week 7 starts, 6 weeks out, a couple of days past the half way point. Rain overnight but a dry, promising start to our last full day on the islands. A tidy up day today, into Kirkwall to see the last sight we failed to see,  St Magnus' Cathedral and then on for a drive round Deerness, the last part of the island still unexplored.The cathedral is built of sumptuous red sandstone that glows in the interior. Lots of carving, fan vaulting, intricately carved reredos, 15th century gravestones. The usual Cathedral stuff, just done better than most and with the beautiful stone a real delight. The islands links with Norway being particularly identified, a Norwegian Bible on the altar, a tapestry gift from Norway etc and graves of some of the early Jarls themselves. A little last minute shopping and on round to Deerness. At one point the land narrows and the road has sea on either side. A clamber up some dunes and there are several wading birds. Problem is, the wind is so strong and buffets us so much that it is impossible to stand upright and focus the binoculars on them. Hope the wind drops for tomorrow's crossing.Carrying on round to the 3.5 mile walk around the head. This starts at The Gloup a 50m long chasm that was an eroded sea cave and then suffered a collapse of its roof. Hope no one was standing on it at the time. It's pretty deep.
 On and round, an interesting cliff top walk with kittiwake aplenty nesting on every flat ledge. Fascinating birds to watch, they hold the wind so perfectly they don't seem to have need of flapping winds as they rise and soar on the eddying air currents. No cetaceans though, this coastline is supposedly good for whales, dolphins, porpoises and seals but not today. Still a little Ringed Plover, or perhaps a Little Ringed Plover seemed quite undisturbed by our presence as it scuttled around just a few metres away. It was cold, it was windy, the path was boggy, so after a mile and a half Liz suggested we take an alternate footpath back cutting 3/4 mile off the walk. Bad call! This path started fine and then got boggier and boggier until we were slowed to a snail pace picking our way from tussock to tussock, and taking some large diversions to keep out feet dry. We were glad to get back to the van and dry ground.


Out for a meal and then took the cinema! The leisure centre the campsite is attached to hosts Kirkwall's only cinema and once a month on a Thursday they have a fringe cinema viewing. This month it was High Rise, a new film based on J G Ballard's novel and starring Tom Hiddleston. At just over a fiver seats were cheap, the cinema excellent apart from the bum numbing seats and the local Orkney ice cream a real pleasure. Oh, the film? What did we think of it? Suffice it to say I very much doubt I'll ever be able to persuade Liz to any event with the word "Fringe" in, ever again.