A voice as soothing as North Ronaldsay sheep’s wool

I’ve been to North Ronaldsay before. It’s an Orkney island which is further north than the south of Norway. Today is one of my few chances to get there and back in a day. There’s a Summer Excursion to the island run by Orkney Ferries from Kirkwall on Mainland Orkney to Westray to North Ronaldsay to Westray and back to Kirkwall.

I can drive on at Kirkwall, get the car off on Westray, get my electric bike out of the boot, and take it to North Ronaldsay return. I’ll have four hours on the island. Perfect. From the ferry I see a small dolphin-like fin attached to a very slow moving back which goes on and on through the water. It’s a Minke whale.

It’s easier to get a bike off at North Ronaldsay than it is to get your car off the ferry.

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

It’s a very pleasant cycle from the ferry to the lighthouse at Point of Sinsoss. The flat roads twist and turn, forced by geography and ancient field boundaries into a narrow asphalt way, with the occasional relief of a passing place.

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

It’s the tallest land-based lighthouse tower in Britain. Wikipedia says it “boasts Britain’s tallest land-based lighthouse tower”. There’s nothing boastful about this lighthouse. Maybe they need to calm their verbs down and use ‘to have’ instead.

And then I’m delighted to see Billy again:

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

Billy is the Keeper of the lighthouse here.

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

Billy tells a great tale about the lighthouse and the ships which foundered, and the people who lived on the islands. His voice is as soothing as North Ronaldsay sheep’s wool.

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

It’s a pleasure to see him again.

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