Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Orkney Islands - on the way there

We really do want to see as much of our adopted homeland as possible, next on the list then is The Orkney Islands, for a first visit.  It's a long way North, and takes quite a journey to reach it.

We decided to overnight first in Inverness, with me meeting Helen off her train after work, having driven up earlier in the day.

I stopped at Castle Urquhart on Loch Ness which was, I thought, nothing special in terms of a number of other historical buildings that we have seen, though i did at least provide a good meal for a number of the local midges.

From there I drove beyond Inverness to Fort George, which was in the final preparations for a military tattoo.  I enjoyed the visit, the musketry that was ongoing by the chapel, and just walking around the base, it's an impressive military base:


Inverness itself is a small city built on a central river which was enjoying the lack of wind, though it was prey to passing showers:


We spent most of the holiday seeing rainbows, this was one end of one we could see the whole of at a very impressive National Nature Reserve at Loch Fleet as we headed North on the Friday:


We travelled on up to Wick to explore the coastline around there, passing the Old Pulteney distillery (and indeed many others along the way).

The geology at Wick was impressive:


However the landscape, geology and indeed Castle itself at Castle Sinclair Girnigoe was outstanding:



We were approaching the very end of the mainland, stopping at Duncansby Head to enjoy the landscape from the most Northeasterly point of the mainland of Britain:


Looking North we got our first sighting of Orkney, Hoy in particular:


We stayed at a B&B in Halkirk before setting off early on Saturday morning to catch the ferry to Stromness:


 On the crossing we saw a number of Northern Fulmar:


and Northern Gannet:


And as the mist closed in, the Old Man of Hoy was visible against the backdrop of the highest sea-cliffs in the UK:


 We were about to arrive in Orkney...

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