Northern Isles 2011: Stromness, Orkney

(Offexploring insists on a photo with each blog. I can’t get my photos off my camera which is why today’s picture is of my window)

I got the bus today to Stromness. It was a pretty day, all blue sky and sunshine so I put on the thinner trousers and left my coat behind. I sort of realised that might not have been the best idea before I even got to the travel centre but by then it was too late to come back.

The ride over was pretty as well – it seemed between the odd shape of Mainland and various lochs that we were never out of sight of navy blue water.

Stromness was cold. The wind was stronger and colder than it had been in Kirkwall although the sun was warm and if you weren’t in the shade, it almost made up for the wind. I walked through town, heading south-westish until I finally found a view.

I don’t know why it is but Orkney looks sort of bare. The hills are green but it’s a sort of pastel green, as if it’s dying. On Shetland I was told this is because of all the salt in the air, which kills anything that tries to grow. Is Orkney just as salty? It doesn’t feel like it and it doesn’t look like it – Shetland was permanently misty with salt mist and Orkney isn’t.

I didn’t stay too long. I came back to the travel centre, looked at the tourist information centre, waited out in the wind and got the bus back to Kirkwall.

First job was to get changed but I took the long route back via the Peerie Sea and nearly froze before I finally reached the hostel.

I did much the same route round Kirkwall as yesterday but now in the sun and in proper layers, I was nice and warm (although my hat had to go on the radiator because it was still soaked from yesterday’s little rainstorm).

I sat on a bench on the harbour wall and watched boats going out, counted wind turbines and daydreamed. Then I came back via the park again, read a little bit of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and fell asleep.

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