Under a degree of sufferance due to bad weather and general inertia, today I finally made the annual pilgrimage to the parental home for Christmas. It’s not that I didn’t want to go but I was quite happy where I was!
Anyway, upon arrival at Stromness, where, despite my decided dithering, I was second in the ferry queue, it was a lovely, lovely day. For the first time in ages, I was drawn out of the car to look at and photograph the surroundings. I felt like a tourist! Maybe it was the snow, maybe it was my mood but there was something special about today.
Boats berthed in Stromness Harbour with snow covered Hoy behind
The Hamnavoe arrives from Scrabster
Winter light on Brinkies Brae
The boat made its way out of Stromness and through Hoy Sound which again got me thinking of Things I should be doing 2010. I have paddled across Hoy Sound, but never from Stromness to the west coast. From the boat I got a great view of The best paddle ever and fantastic looking 100m cliffs of Black Craig. Further north I could see Yesnaby which looked miniscule in comparison. I will paddle there next year!
Black Craig, Billia Croo energy testing zone is to the right
Looking back through Hoy Sound to Ward Hill
Mackayak gave me a lovely Xmas present of a framed picture of Yesnaby, perfectly matched to the colour scheme of my recently (and still not finished) decorated bedroom. I think she knew I would look at it every morning and every night just yearning to be down there amongst the swell.
Beautiful picture of Yesnaby
Busy trying to take pictures of The best paddle ever in an increasing northerly swell, I got a bit of a shock when I looked to the other side of the boat and saw Hoy looming above me. This is of course Quite Possibly an Even Better Best Paddle Ever and is somewhere I would love to go but which is always intimidating. Maybe it’s because going there means commitment. Maybe it’s the stories you hear of the tides and sea of the area. Maybe it’s the thought of the highest cliffs in Britain. Maybe it won’t be next year, but one day I will paddle along that marvellous coastline.
Looking past St John’s Head to the Old Man of Hoy
St John’s Head
The Old Man of Hoy in low winter sun
Upon arrival at Scrabster, it was on to the part of the journey I didn’t want to do, the drive to Inverness. I have driven further I know, but in my mind it gets further and further away every time I have to do it. The weather in the highlands was as wintery as Orkney, if not more so and I was worried whether the roads would be OK. As it was, apart from a lot of slush and a few slidey bits, all was fine.
Now all I have to do is get back to Orkney again……