Northern Isles 2011: Shetland to Orkney

I woke up this morning – after not really having slept – to a dark and very windy island. I packed and watched the Hoobs until 8, the time I’d booked for breakfast, then went downstairs to sit on my own in the bar and wonder how it all worked.

The manager appeared at last and offered me tea or coffee, then a choice of things that come in a bowl, like cereal or porridge or yoghurt. I had some cornflakes and having turned down any sort of cooker breakfast he made me toast.

He asked what my plans were for the day and when i said I planned to walk down to the bus stop and head for the airport, he thought about it for a bit and then came back five minutes later to tell me he had to go to the shop which was right by the bus stop and he’d give me a lift. We agreed on 9.30 and I sat and read for half an hour before going down and getting in the car.

I waited at the bus stop for about ten minutes. The wind, apparently down from ‘gales’ to merely ‘strong’ felt even stronger than yesterday. I made the interesting discovery that if I stood behind the bus shelter I was a tiny bit out of the wind but the breeze that cane under the sides was surprisingly warm on my ankles.

My plans had been to explore the headlands and cliffs but in winds I could hardly stand up against and thick mist – apparently all the salt in the air – I went to plan B which was to spend my holiday reading and not doing much.

Which is how I came to spend most of today at Sumburgh Airport getting through far too many books.

Despite strong winds at Shetland and pretty strong ones at Orkney it was quite a smooth flight although it was raining when we landed. This time I only had a ten minute wait for the bus and I knew exactly how to get from the town centre to the hostel.

I had some food and tomorrow I may actually go and look at Kirkwall. I have seen very little of it so far.

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