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The Trouble With Lichen

Trouble with lichen

Today there’s time to relax after a weekend of photography with a trip to Papa Westray. If you think that Westray is …

The Kelp Store, Papa Westray

The Kelp Store

One of Orkney’s most important exports used to be the ash from Kelp, the seaweed which is regularly washed ashore by storms …

Holland Farm

Holland Farmstead

Wandering on Papa Westray it’s impossible to miss Holland Farm. It’s a hugely impressive steading which once owned the island of Papa …

The age of steam
The age of steam
The age of steam

Steam Rollered

Wandering about on Papa Westray there are traces of old farming methods everywhere. There’s also an abandoned steam roller with the crumbling …

Knap of Howar

Grinding Stone

The farmstead at the Knapp of Howar is the oldest standing building in northern Europe. It’s been here for 5,600 years and …

Wooden gutters
Wooden gutters
Wooden gutters

Wooden gutters

I’d never even considered that gutters could be made out of wood in the UK. However, someone in Papa Westray thought it …

Hen Harrier

Harrying the Hens

I’m hoping that the Hen Harrier will be hunting on Westray this summer. I’ve seen a Hen Harrier over Westray’s moorland several …

The view from Fitty Hill

Rise and look around you

On a clear day on Westray you can see for miles. I’m told you can even see the Fair Isle if you …

Free Range Eggs Sold Here - photograph (c) 2016 David Bailey (not the)

Free Range Eggs Sold Here

Cycling past the turning to the Bay of Swartmill I spot this great sign on a disembodied fridge door. Inside the intact …

Sea Rocket

Sea Rocket

The sands at Mae Sands are verdant with Sea Rocket. The curious flowers are white or lilac and the leaves are fleshy …

Reading Weed

Reading weed

I’ve cycled to Mae Sands and the seaweed surrounding me seems to have messages for me. If only I could read its …

Pink Flowered Strawberries

Making a runner for it

A beautiful gift of plants is always welcome and these pink flowered ‘lipstick’ strawberries are no exception. I’m hoping the lipstick tastes …

Patella vulgaris

Fresh Limpet

This Limpet looks so fresh and clean but I just can’t bring myself to eat it. I think it was the way …


Angelic Angelica

The Angelica is growing beautifully and wears a bright halo at the Ring of Brodgar.

Sunset on the Ferry

Catching the late ferry

It’s Sunday so it’s the late ferry from Kirkwall to Westray tonight. It’ll be dark when we get there. I walk on …

Pink and orange

Pink and orange

Pink and orange don’t go together; they clash. Or at least that’s the mantra when accessorising or designing a garden of flowers. …


A glimpse of Stromness

It’s Sunday and we have a whole day on the mainland before our evening ferry to Westray. There’s time for a glimpse …

Dark Island Reserve

Too good to recycle

I love the Orkney Brewery. It produces some wonderful beers. The bottles that their Dark Island Reserve comes in are also beautiful. …

Velvet Crab Boxes

Velvet Crab Boxes

My friend has a wonderful garden on mainland Orkney. It has trees. Yes, you heard me right; trees. In amongst them were …

Limpets in the midden

Limpets in the midden

What we throw away tells a lot about us. A quick look at my bin would tell you I like an occasional …

Limpet traces

Rock licking kneecaps

Limpets. Their traces are everywhere on the stones on Westray’s beaches. The name limpet means ‘rock-licker’ and that’s what they do, with …


Potent potentilla

The Potentilla is spreading with beautiful vigorous red runners over the shell sand at Grobust.


Wheatears in the new stone age

I’m sitting in a stone-age house; the new stone age, when the climate was warmer and people began to settle rather than …

Arctic Skua

Fish, eggs and baby birds

The Arctic Skua is one of the most recognisable silhouettes in Orkney, patrolling the shoreline hunting for birds’ eggs, young birds and …

Intelligent Sheep

Intelligent Sheep

I’m wandering up to the cliffs at Noup Head to take some photographs of the Gannets. I decide not to when I …