Ten Percent

Today is an important day in Orkney. It’s a Thursday so it’s the publication day of The Orcadian and Orkney Today newspapers. On my first trip to Orkney I asked which one I should buy. I was told very firmly that both contained exactly the same information so I must buy both for fear of missing anything, which I never would if I just bought one. Sound logic I thought.

Today’s papers have front pages: “Leave the ferry service alone” (The Orcadian) and “Heated debate at ferry review” (Orkney Today). Page one of The Orcadian also contains “New ‘zigzag’ paintwork from the Ness of Brodgar” about the incredible find of neolithic painted stone interior walls, whilst in Orkney Today one has to wait until page 3 for “Zigzag chevrons discovered at Brodgar.” The real news is on page 4 (The Orcadian) with “‘Escapade’ sees 18-year-old fined £1,050”, with “Car crash teen is lucky to be alive” on page 3 of Orkney Today. And so it goes on. Until, that is, page 32 (The Orcadian) which has “Record seventh year in a row for Orkney’s inter-county hockey team” whilst page 36 of Orkney Today has “Victory again for Orkney ladies…”. I didn’t miss anything, but 85p each just made sure.

What neither of the newspapers say is that tonight there’s a 10% chance of northern lights or aurora borealis because of extreme solar activity. I did wonder where to look in the sky to see them, but I’m reliably told that north is the recommended direction to look. Northern Light is also the name of a beer produced by the Orkney Brewery. I’m told that after five bottles you have a 20% chance of seeing the northern lights. It’s just that you’re far less likely to remember them in the morning.

Orkney Today and The Orcadian both say it’s going to be cloudy, but I’m going out now with my compass in hand for an experience to remember.

Tasting notes:

Orkney Brewery Northern Light: superb light and refreshing beer, full of flavour and shining in the glass – as clear as Orkney skies and waters

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