This week saw another island added to my 'Visited' list, with a work trip to Stronsay, on a typical 'many weathers' Orcadian day. Having left a chilly and overcast Kirkwall harbour early doors, we arrived in Whitehall Village, the main settlement on Stronsay, to be greeted by driving sleet and the prospect of a morning's outside work on the wrong side of damp.
At our first port of call, a recce of the problem revealed that reconfiguring the internal wiring would be a better and cheaper option for the customer, rather than fitting equipment to the exterior of the building.The ensuing loft work meant that I got dusty instead of wet.
Before our next task, we popped into one of the island's general stores. I always appreciate a visit to this type of emporium, as it really feels like setting foot in the Cave of Wonders from Aladdin. And true to form, I discovered some provender that I couldn't find back on Mainland, or even the Scottish mainland. I won't tell you what it was, as that would be letting the genie out of the cardboard packaging.
Driving to our next appointment, the sky to the east looked a little bluer, so hopes were raised that the afternoon would prove drier than the morning. Even so, the track down to our destination was awash with water draining off the surrounding land.
By the time we had driven along the top of the beach, the sun was forcing its way through the clouds and we were treated to a glorious afternoon of golden light. Below is a view of the Bay of Houseby. Can you spot the dog? It's a... er... border collie. Sorry.
With an hour to kill before the ferry back, I was given a mini-tour of some of the island, starting off at the Sand of Rothiesholm by the Bay of Holland. This is a mile-long sandy beach that I suspect doesn't become much busier than this...
There are several other beaches on the island, each facing in a different direction, so I reckon that I will be returning in the future to savour more of Stronsay's stunning scenery.
As sunset approached, we just had to stop the vehicle and enjoy the spectacle of the reflections upon the surface of the water in Blan Loch.
Then, after a short wait, the ferry arrived to transport us back to Kirkwall, allowing me an hour or so's worth of quality reading time. Currently, this is The Song Of The Dodo by David Quammen. The book is about island biogeography, evolution and extinction. It's proving to be a cracking read.