Monday, 13 April 2015

Family on Tour: The Orkney leg...

So, we're just back from nearly two weeks of car camping around the north of Scotland. The route took us from Shetland to Orkney, Hoy, Durness, Ullapool and the Cairngorms. We had a real mix of weather on the way!


I'll be doing my trip report over a few postings, I've got photos to sort, videos to edit and work to get back to too!

Talking of which when I left work at lunch time on the day of our departure it was snowing on and off. Not a nice prospect with two weeks of camping ahead.

We packed the car in between snow showers...


And headed for the ferry to Orkney...



Around 11pm we arrived in Kirkwall and by 11.45pm we had the tent up and were settling down to sleep...


Pickaquoy Camp Site was a bit noisy with racket from the docks all night and quite light too. The on-site facilities were excellent, not that we had time to use them...



A quick fry up in the only cafe that was open early and we were off to the Isle of Hoy.


 Houton ferry terminal where cars take the ferry to Hoy...


Hoy ahoy...


Landing at Lyness you pass the Scapa Flow visitor centre. Well worth a visit if you have time. Hoy is remarkably plastered with remnants of wars past.




Next camp was Rack Wick, a gorgeous bay with the Old Man of Hoy just over an hours walk away over the cliffs.

The road towards Moaness at the north of the island with a snow capped Ward Hill...


Burnmouth Bothy at Rackwick...


We camped one night and slept in the bothy the next. The tent was more comfortable, it was like lying on a slab in a morgue in the bothy!


The fire may look cosy, but it gave off no heat and what it did  was soaked up by the concrete and stone slabs before it got to us.


But what a place!


 

And all to ourselves too.


Of course the main reason for our visit was to go to the Old Man Of Hoy. The cold biting winds subsided long enough to give us a stunning afternoon out there.





 It was a fantastic walk with amazing scenery and mountain hares too...
 
  

 Our other main point of interest was The Dwarfie Stane, a 5000 year old burial chamber carved out of a single lump of stone...
 

We also vaguely saw white tailed eagles on the nest in the area, but the weather had taken a turn for the worst while at the stane so we didn't hang about.

There are reminders of war all over Hoy (and Orkney in general) but this large structure above Lyness took our interest...


The Wee Fea was a naval communications centre. Now home to many inches thick of sheep muck, along with the odd dead sheep too. But it has some great views from it's stinky interior...





Of course Hoy is also covered in the most wonderful natural landscape, including ancient woodland,  much of which we didn't get too, or when we did it was too wet for photos.


 And there are other interesting structures like The Martello Tower which dates from the Napoleonic Wars...
 

And lighthouses such as this one at Cantick Head...


 Too soon we were off for another fry up in Kirkwall...


 Before the next leg of our trip across the Pentland Firth on the Pentalina from St Margret's Hope to Gills Bay and mainland Scotland...


 I've got video of some of the scenery and places we visited, but I'm going to get the blog posts with photos done first. Watch this space...











4 comments:

  1. Thanks for the fantastic look around Orkney.
    It's so incredibly beautiful.
    It really does bring home the 'earth = 70% water" bit.
    I wonder how long it took to dig out that tomb.

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    1. Orkney is a really lovely set of island and there's so many more of them that we've not yet visited!

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  2. Oh I meant to say - love the car selfie - lovely to see bright, happy, smiley faces.
    Also love the teddies in the backpack.

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    Replies
    1. Beren's 'pets' come and get everywhere! It would be helpful if his bags contained more useful things sometimes rather than just toys!

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