Saturday 6 August 2016

Lauding it

In the pursuit of knowledge, I ventured to Graemsay yesterday. The particular bit of knowledge in question was the verification of the presence of either dragonflies or damselflies on the island. Historical records, depending upon where you look, maintain that at least one species of ode has been seen there. Also, anecdotal evidence suggested that they may still be around.

Hence my trip (and the subject of a further blogpost).

Now, due to my appellation, it has been said to me on more than one occasion that, as the island is called Graemsay, then surely I must have certain manorial rights? Er, I don't think that is actually how these things work, and as I have no wish to hunt, shoot or fish, hold a fair, dig a mine or search for minerals, it seems a moot point. Mind on, I was going to a quarry to look for my... er... quarry.

I caught the foot passenger ferry from Stromness, squeezing in with the more than fifty other travellers. Honestly, I've never seen the boat so busy. As it happened, everyone else disembarked at Moaness in Hoy and only a handful of passengers boarded there for the trip back to Stromness. This meant that I was the only person going to Graemsay.

So, to put matters straight once and for all, whoever has manorial rights (or the Udal Law equivalent), I am sure that upon their arrival at the Graemsay pier, they would expect to be greeted by the local civic leaders and dignitaries.

I don't know about you, but I'm thinking that I probably don't have any rights here at all, and even if I did, I'm a bit nervous about what they are. We will return to the sheepish theme in a future blogpost.

For the avoidance of doubt, 'Graemsay' derives from the Old Norse 'Grimsey' meaning Grim's Island (see Orkneyjar website for more info).

Of course, Graemsay is rightly famous for being the setting for the delightful blog 'Life on a Small Island' by the gin-toting Sian. Unfortunately for me, Sian was spending the day on the Mainland, so we had the briefest of brief encounters as our paths crossed.

As I stood on the hill above her house, Sian was on the ferry 'Graemsay' (not mine either), which can be seen to the right of the larger Northlink ferry 'Hamnavoe'.

Although Graemsay is a small island (Sian's blog title does not contravene Trading Standards legislation), it is a tranquil haven of peace and quiet, with plenty of wildlife to see. As I wandered along its lanes, the verges were full of flowers and insects:


Common Twayblade

Grass of Parnassus

This is a Chevron moth (thanks for the ID, Orkney Insects Open Forum!) on Marsh Ragwort (I think).

My visit was soon over, because thyme flies (sorry).


Mark said...

We have a place in Lincolnshire called Grimssby. This Grim must have got around a lot! The name sums it up though, it's an awful place. Anything with 'by' on the end of it was Anglo Saxon for Township. Unlike Graemsay that seems a haven of peace and tranquility. Never tire of Sian's writings. Best wishes, Mark.

Imperfect and Tense said...

My only experience of Lincolnshire was a few weeks in Kirton Lindsey with work, many moons ago. For that reason, I probably didn't see its best side. As a county on the east coast of the UK, it must have a pretty impressive bird list, mind.

Sian said...

Glad you found much to delight you on Graemsay, despite the absence of Cake. Yes we had the reception committee ready for you..... be grateful it wasn't the week for shipping the coos...that tests the metal of the hardiest visitor walking past THEM! And glad to hear Mark enjoys my wee ramblings...

Imperfect and Tense said...

Yeah, I guess I missed the cake too, though it can't compare to several slices of your sugar-coated, fruity dialogue.