Today, we took a circuitous route to Birsay, via Old Finstown Road, Heddle Hill, Harray Loch and Marwick, before parking by the cemetery near Birsay Bay.
We took the track north, through Palace village, being very good and not stopping at the tea room. This will be difficult for regular readers to comprehend (I'm still coming to terms with it myself), but it's true.
Once past the ruin of the Earl's Palace, we turned towards the beach. Standing on top of the low cliff, we watched a long line of waders on the shore below, feeding at the water's edge. As the birds rushed up and down, sprinting to try and keep one step ahead of the tide, it reminded me a little of circuit training. Out to sea, a large flock of Wigeon were bobbing about between the waves, with a pair of Shelduck closer in to the shore.
As we walked back south, clambering over rocks and searching the sand for booty (note to American readers, it means 'treasure'), Our Lass let out a yelp of glee. Wondering if she had actually found some treasure, I made my way over to where she was excitedly pointing. Nestled in amongst the seaweed was a sea urchin, its outer shell still intact, despite its journey to the shore. Not sure whether it was still alive or not, Our Lass placed it into a rock pool, but the next wave just carried it further up the beach and deposited it back on the sand. Not wanting to enter into an ultimately futile battle with the North Atlantic Ocean, we conceded defeat.
A little further along the beach, we had a graphic reminder that we hadn't visited the tea room yet. I would like to think that this is strong evidence of the interconnectedness and holistic nature of all things, but who knows for sure?
Perceptive brick fragments notwithstanding, we continued around the bay, before returning back to the car (and, yes, walking straight past it and on to the tea room).
Later in the day and back home once more, we were treated to a grand sunset, complete with sun pillar.