If you come to stay at the Creel, you might be able to scoop up some gold. The Pentalina ferry (one of the the best ways of reaching us) certainly went for the gold the other day. See pic. (Rainbow fans might note that we get a lot of rainbows throughout the autumn and winter months, which kinda puts the lie to the idea that it's dark up here during the winter months! On the contrary, the days may be short but they are so beautifully lit that it's a small price to pay.
... for some lovely guests from Portugal/Brazil, who spend three days with us, leaving Sunday morning. They had themselves a taste of some seriously dreich weather as part of their Orkney experience, but I so wish that could have been here yesterday as compensation.
I took this picture of the waterfront three steps from the Creel an hour or so after they had left on the Pentalina to Gills Bay. The clear weather led William and me to decide on a little Sunday photo outing. And what a day it gave us. Here is a selection of my pics from yesterday, Sunday 20 November.
Looking on on the North Sea from the end of the Ayre of Cara, a beach at the north end of South Ronaldsay.
We stepped down onto the beach. It was low tide and there was ground frost in the valleys of the seaweed.
Our next stop was on Burray to shoot this – a view over Scapa Flow's Echnaloch Bay.
Two views over Scapa from Churchill Barrier No. 2. The mountains of Hoy looked wonderful with their snowcaps.
Having driven on to Kirkwall, we bought some sandwiches and took them up to the top of of Wideford Hill, where we ate them as we enjoyed this view of the Bay of Kirkwall with the isle of Shapinsay in the distance.
We got chatting with two nice first-year archeology students from UHI who were also out for a walk (looking for a cairn that refused to be found) and so set off together to look for and this time successfully find – the Cuween chambered cairn just outside Finstown.
The view from the cairn's hilltop location was splendid. I took photographs of the view while the others explored the cairn's interior.
View down the hill onto two islets closest is Holm of Griombister, and the outer one is Damsay. It is uninhabited now, but one can just make out the ruins of a Norse hall on its tip. Earl Erlend Haraldsson was killed there by 2 other earls in 1154.
This is the hall in question, maximum zoom of the telephoto on my little point-and-shoot camera.
I always thought we served wonderful beer at the Creel – beer from the Swannay Brewery up near Evie. My son and I both love it (and the drive up to the brewery to pick up supplies, as there are some lovely views and sights on the way).
And now our choice has been vindicated. One of their beers, Island Hopping, a bottle of which I downed happily yesterday, has been named the best beer in Scotland at the SIBA Independent Beer Awards in Glasgow last week.
See Swannay Brewery's website for more information. Guests can try most of the range at the Creel. I also love their Scapa Special – for the taste and also for its great advertising line: "Goes down better than the German Fleet".
There is a lovely little outing we do from time to time (and that we recommend to guests). Go to enjoy this wonderful view with some scrumptious, fresh and filling hamburgers, all made with Orkney produce, from the Leigh's van in the car park in Finstown.
Buy it here ⬆︎
then turn, walk ten steps
and enjoy it ⬇︎
Yet another thing that makes Orkney special!
...and that's precisely what my son William and I did yesterday (and when these snaps were taken...
Autumn is a gorgeous time of year here because the light is so wonderful. Now that the sun is no longer high in the sky, the illumination of the land and sea scapes is extraordinarily special. And the quiet villages and roads are even more peaceful.
Of course it is a bit brisk, but I hold to the concept that there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes for it. And all one really needs is a good windproof jacket!
And then one can go to and enjoy sights like this. (I took this picture with my iPhone from Heddle Hill, just above Finstown and it's a great spot for a picnic.)
The light does special things to water as well. Here is a pic taken five steps from the Creel.
I like to take photos and am fond of clichés - so I'll say I find them to be worth a thousand words.