02.06.2015 - 02.06.2015
Yesterday was sunny, today the forecast was for a more grey day so we set off early to South Ronaldsay to explore the south. In Perth the causeway separates suburbs, in Orkneys causeways separate islands. So we crossed, Churchill Barriers among the islands to South Ronaldsay.
Along the way the Italian Chapel, built in the 2nd world war had a mildly ornate front, bland top and rear, but the inside was surprisingly ornate, compared to what I was expecting.
The views of outer laying islands were somewhat hazy in the morning fog, but had lifted when we returned about 40 minutes later. It was not that far to the end and back! Our views included the islands of Hoy, Mainland Scotland, Long Hope, Flotter, Swona and Hunda. We experienced the expanse of the Scarpa Flow.
Rusted tops of sunken ships, trawlers, the John Groats Ferry coming in to dock and Burwick Ferry all sat out in the bays and water lines. The ferry dock was exceptionally basic with an uninspiring platform and a variety if fishing related matrrials in piles around the sidelines.
The islands we crossed were from the East Mainland, Burray, and South Ronaldsay.
Driving on the island has been interesting. All cars here are manuals and much of the time you are battling to get to top gear. The speedo is telling us that our average speed for these two days has been 27 miles per hour. Getting caught behind tractors, buses forklifts is a distinct disadvantage on roads that are rarely straight, but at least there were no trees in the way. This helped assure you there is little chance of overtaking...unless you are an island work vehicle van and they overtake anyone anywhere, plant their foot and go!
It rained today, and rained, and rained. Finally the sun shone at about 3 pm. By that stage our wet weather jackets had earned their keep and were wet! But we weren't. We tried to continue to explore Kirkwall in the rain visiting The Bishops Palace ...no roof but inside was a child sucking a lollipop, escaping from her family up and down staircases (fortunately not falling to her death). She went into the roofless mainhall and went back to tell her family she'd seen the best surprise, then returned and told me she was now seeing another surprise! In my semi asthmatic coughing state I was in a bit of a quandry looking around to see what would be so amazing for her to make these declarations. The only surprises I could spy was one dead pigeon and one dead headless pigeon. Not my idea of a surprise. When we left her family were still trying to locate her.
The Earls Palace at least had some roof structures in parts. There were two groups of school children engagaed in a school excursion, carrying out role plays in period costumes. They were obviously enjoying the experience, especially the young lad who stood to attention as Rob and I passed by him. He was living the moment.
The archive section the library is quite extensive and has a number of people to assist at various times. I collected some brochures with the idea to follow up a little past family history at a later date.
The Orkney Museum was well organised into centuries and had some interesting displays to look over.
Rob is off to look at the Orkney Lab in the morning with Geoff. We had dinner with Geoff tonight and the men discussed labs, Scottish Health System and life in the Orkneys and Shetlands. He has obviously enjoyed his life here and is involved with many work commitments, kayaking and gymnastics coaching for young people, has been involved in rock climbing and extensive walking and bird watching. Don't think he has time to get bored. Hes just returned from a stint at Sierra Leone working with Ebola.
Of all the lovely things here the coffee shop situation is in DIRE need of attention. Too few and too far in between. Elevenses were late today because we had trouble finding a 'Recharge post'.
Geoff has warned us the airport goes through every third persons baggage as their security system is so basic. If they start pulling my stuff out, we may end up with a horrible mess to repack. And there won't be good coffee anywhere to compensate. Hope tomorrow's flight is ok. Think it may be an even smaller lawnmower plane than the last flight.