Saturday, 18 January 2014

Making light work of it

With a dry day forecast, we opted to travel up to the north west corner of Mainland for some fresh air. This had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the Birsay Tea Room was open and it was purely coincidental that we arrived bang on lunchtime. What were the chances of that happening?!

Despite an overcast sky and a stiff south easterly breeze, we then walked from the Brough car park along to the whalebone marker, slip sliding our way past the boat nousts and along the muddy cliff top. There were a few birds about close to the shore - Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Redshank, Goldeneye, Merganser and Gannet, but we spent most of our time looking at the nousts at Skipi Geo. A noust is a place to store a small boat to protect it from the waves and the weather.

Skipi Geo inlet

Small boats could sail up to the beach
Then they would be dragged up the slope out of danger, away from the force of the waves

Steps cut into the cliff

The nousts where the boats would be stored between fishing trips
On the return journey, our attention was caught by some activity out to sea. The Northern Lighthouse Board must be carrying out some maintenance or building works at the automatic light located on the Brough, as their helicopter, G-CGPI, was ferrying materials from the NLV Pharos up on to the island.

The Brough of Birsay (lighthouse just visible on other side of the island)

The NLV Pharos

An underslung load arriving at the lighthouse

Nearly there...

Once the load was delivered, the helicopter returned to the ship for more

Gently does it

Up, up and away

Another delivery

Here we go again

I wonder if you can order pizza this way?
Whilst researching this blogpost, I discovered that a helicopter and pilot had been tragically lost here just over a decade ago, carrying out this type of task. It was a salutary reminder of the perils that some brave folk face in their 'office work'.


Katie (Nature ID) said...

Andy and I often choose our excursions based on what foods we are craving. Do you think those nousts are natural, or helped along by repeated use and/or digging? I have to hand it to people who risk life and limb for work; I certainly don't have it in me as I promptly quit a "dream job" when it became apparent to me of the previously unforeseen dangers.

Imperfect and Tense said...

I'm pretty sure the nousts are man-made. I must apologise at this point, because I connected the first two sentences of your reply, looked at my photo of the nousts again and thought 'jelly mould' (or 'Jell-o mold' as it would be spelt in the States?).

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Ha! It does look like a jelly mold!

Imperfect and Tense said...