For the beginning of November, this morning was absolutely peachy... bright sunshine and the softest of breezes. The sort of morning when all of your plans, no matter how important they were, go out of the window, along the road and off into the wide blue yonder.
I opted for a local loop, all on single track tarmac roads, so boots and car could be left at home. Grabbing my bins but eschewing the camera, I made my way along Cornquoy Road, which together with Greenwall Road and The Tieve Road make up the circular walk that I refer to as the Kirk Loop.
As I dropped downhill towards St Nicholas' Kirk, a few waders could be seen in neighbouring fields: lapwing, curlew, redshank and golden plover.
On a flooded field behind the church, eighteen teal watched me warily from the water's edge. Where the road skirted the cemetery wall, I could see dozens of birds sat on the tarmac. This was a bit of a conundrum until I realised that, with the high tide, huge swathes of seaweed had been thrown onto the grass verge, and swarms of flies were emanating from this 'aromatic' mass. The starlings and pipits were having a grand time! Rounding a bend in the road brought me out of the lee of the cemetery wall and into a suddenly stiffer breeze. All the flies and other invertebrates were being propelled along by this wind, so that it felt a bit like walking into a living hailstorm.
Once away from the shoreline, the situation improved, so I could stop to take a few more photos with my phone.
The gentle climb up to Greenwall (reputedly the oldest, continually-occupied current dwelling in Orkney, at approx 400 years) emphasised just how warm it was. I was wearing way too many layers, which isn't something you can say too often around here.