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Orkney Mainland

Rock Dove - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

You see a Pigeon

The weather in Orkney may be grey but it’s never dull. I’m waiting at Kirkwall harbour for the Westray ferry when I …

Einar - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Einar

My house is called Einar, just like the Viking Earl of Orkney mentioned in the Orkneyinga Saga. That’s because of a spelling …

Black Guillemot - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Black Guillemot

I’m on a day trip to the Mainland. That’s the mainland of Orkney. In the harbour at Scapa there’s a bird paddling …

Ringed Plover - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Ringed Plover

Ringed Plover are meant to breed on the coast. Human destruction of the environment means they now breed in gravel pits and …

Turnstone at the Peedie Sea - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Turnstone at the Peedie Sea

Turnstones have a lovely mottled plumage. They always look as if they are in transition to me. Have they decided how their …

Kirkwall Harbour - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Signs

Changing a road system is always a problem. There’s the planning, the time it takes to do the work and then there’s …

Redshank at the Peedie Sea - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Redshanks at the Peedie Sea

It’s only a few minutes after dawn and there’s a Redshank on the Peedie Sea. I can’t quite believe it’s being quiet. …

Kirkwall Bay - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Dawn over Kirkwall Bay

Arriving off the Aberdeen ferry at nearly midnight gives me a quandary. Is it worth paying a small fortune for a few …

Meadow Pipit - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Pipping Pipits

Meadow Pipits are very common birds of farmland. It’s the most common songbird in upland Britain. They thrive in Orkney. They fly …

Eristalis intricaria - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

To bee or not to bee

There’s a bumble bee on this thistle. At least I think it’s a bee. Then I see its eyes. Its eyes are …

Kirkwall - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Technology

Arriving in Orkney by ferry is a great experience. We’ve got a day on the Mainland before heading to Westray on yet …

Birds at the Peedie Sea - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Knots landing at the Peedie Sea

I’m wandering the shore at Kirkwall Harbour for an hour before the ferry takes me to Westray. I’m loving the complex singing …

Kirkwall at dawn - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Kirkwall at dawn

I’ve just woken up in a Viking city. A city which is only part of the UK, and not Norway, because King …

Dunlin - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

A Dunlin feast

There’s a huge tide of seaweed washed up in the bay at North Haven on Westray. We check for seals on the …

Gannets - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

When a Gannet lands next to us

It’s blustery at the top of the 60 metre-high cliffs on Westray’s Noup Head. We’re surrounded by Gannets flying past us when …

Fulmar - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

The crossing

It only takes an hour and a half to cross the Pentland Firth from Scrabster to Stromness on the Northlink ferry. Standing …

Yellow Legged Gull - The Hall fo Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Colour co-ordinated Gulls

The brown waters of the River Tiber in Rome never seem to be able to reflect the intense blue of the sky …

Barquentine Thalassa - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Barquentine Thalassa

The Northlink Ferry from Scrabster on the Scotland mainland to Stromness on the Orkney Mainland is always entertaining, thankfully in a good …

Bronze Age Bollards - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

A load of Bronze Age bollards

The Links of Notland is such an amazing place for archaeology. It has a huge neolithic settlement, site of the discovery of …

Floating Islands - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Floating islands

Looking out across the Bay of Tuquoy we can see a mirage. It might be an island. The shape is constantly changing …