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Tuesday, 6 December 2016


The days are definitely short at this time of year.  Sunrise is at 08.48 and sunset at 15.18 and we are not at the shortest day yet.  But with glorious still frosty late afternoons like this I don't mind!  These photos were taken at 4.30 pm this afternoon.  Above looking across Hoy Sound to the twinkling lights of Stromness.

And below - looking West towards Canada!  The sun has long set behind the Hoy Hills out of the picture, left, with just the hint of a rosy sky off the tip of Graemsay.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Down by the kirk......

And still the weather is gorgeous!  Sharp frosty mornings, bright sunshine. Oh I am SO happy with this!  So I took a run over to the Kirk on the South side of Graemsay.  It's now used as a barn to store hay.  The kirkyard is till in use and has a lovely peaceful aspect over Burra Sound looking towards Hoy. Above is a panorama looking down the hill to the kirk.

And then down at the kirk.....

Sad to see the windows gone.....

To the left, a few miles east are the islands of Cava, Calf of Cava (love that name!), and Flotta.  I zoomed in for some fuzzy pictures!

This is the Cava, and is now uninhabited....

This smaller island nearby is called the Calf of Cava

And behind them is Flotta, which has an oil terminal, source of some wealth to Orkney in the early days, played a vital role in the history of Scapa Flow, and has a good community spirit too, as well as an abundance of birds and wildflowers.

Lots of geese on the fields around the kirk.....

And the old croft of Dean at the top of the kirk brae (hill).

Hope you enjoyed your quick trip out.  It's a bit chilly so time to get back home for tea and toast!

Thursday, 1 December 2016

And then there are the Christmas preparations....

I don't celebrate Christmas, but I do love a Mid-Winter Festival!  Time to eat, stay snug and look forward to the days getting longer.

So the shops in Orkney are getting dressed for the season.  Above is Shearer's in Kirkwall.  One of my most favourite shops.  Upstairs where in Spring and Summer seed crops are stored and sold, is now a cosy space to do some seasonal shopping.  The fire is lit, lots of goodies to buy and around are reminders of days long past, with oil lamps hanging from the rafters, and old tins reminding us of simpler days - Oxo - about the only way you could make gravy then!

And then there are the Christmas exhibitions.  The Pier Arts Centre in Stromness is one of my favourites, lots of artists, both professional and "amateur" submit work for the exhibition.  Lots of lovely things in different media. Some conventional others more avant garde.

And I loved this display made by a recently graduated art student.  I can't remember her name! I know it's Rachel though! [Note - apparently it's Rachel Blair] I was telling her I loved this and she was explaining so enthusiastically her ideas behind it and the techniques used.  I'm not artist but I loved hearing her story, and hope her enthusiasm is encouraged for the future.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Shipping livestock

It's that time of year when farmers are sending stock to market.  This year's lambs, breeding cattle etc. Above as you can see quite a few sheep waiting to be shipped. At least it's a bonny day for a sale.

We've had a few problems with the crane on the MV Graemsay, so the ferry company has had to get one of the renewable energy work boats to help out.  You can see here the vessel closest to the pier has lifted the cattle from the pens on the pier over onto the MV Graemsay which will take them back to Stromness.  They will be offloaded onto lorries and taken through to the Auction Mart in Kirkwall.

These are mostly young "beasts" so they will be sold on to farmers to "fatten up" for meat later.  That part I don't like to think of ! I eat little meat these days, but I live in a farming community and that is just part of what happens. At least they get to graze fresh grass and breathe clean air which is more than factory kept animals do.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Snow showers!

To be honest it fell on Graemsay mostly as sleet and hail.  But this is what the weather reporters mean when they say "snow on hills".  It was a wee bit chilly for a while, but it didn't last.

A snow shower on Hoy!

We've not had "proper" snow for years.  I love the brightness of fresh snow but I do hate it once it gets slushy or even worse, frozen over!

Monday, 28 November 2016

And yet another glorious Autumn day....

Hope you're not bored of the photos but it has been another glorious Autumn day today. I went out for a wander in the car - leaving Button at home keeping her paws warm!  It's been chilly but glorious.  Above is the road leading to the old Kirk.  The sun just about to drop behind the Hoy hills, this was about 2.30pm today.

Below, a similar photo but with the croft of Dean in the shadow of the Hoy hills.

And a bit further along the road, Burra Sound between Graemsay and Hoy.

And the road up to the old School.

Cloudy days

In the interests of balance I do have to admit we have had some grey and cloudy days too. The panorama above was taken from the top of Windbreck hill.

With a wide landscape and big skies there are lots of dramatic effects throughout the day. This one looking towards the outskirts of Stromness. The communications antenna on top of Howe Brae highlighted in the light.

Heavy clouds hang over the water and the hills of Hoy

A closer look at the croft of Scarrataing.

And from the top of the hill.  The clouds can feel really oppressive at times.

But a lovely sunrise can provide a moment of joy (till it disappears into cloud!).