Our friend is coming out to Westray for a visit today. He’s flying his light aircraft over from the Orkney Mainland. I say ‘his light aircraft’ but I actually mean ‘one of his light aircraft’. I say from Orkney Mainland, but I mean from his own island. He says he’ll land at the Bay of Tafts, my nearest large beach at 3pm. As we drive the few minutes there we can see a large fire with black smoke coming from the beach. I start to ponder the worst. “I hope he hasn’t arrived early and that’s not the wreck of his plane burning”, I say solemnly to the Puffin Whisperer. It’s only half in jest.
It’s fine, there’s a waste fire, which probably contains plastic, producing the toxic black smoke.
I’m glad the wind’s blowing it away from us.
Here he comes:
The tide is out so there’s plenty of beach. Amusingly he asks if we started the fire to show him the wind direction and help him land. He’s brought a two-seater today, so the Puffin Whisperer is going for a ride with him first. I enjoy looking at the different colours of the Sea Rocket as they tour around the Island. Here’s the pink flowered form:
And here’s the white and a deeper pink together:
The Bay of Tafts is over 90% shell sand. It’s astonishing the Sea Rocket thrives there.
Then it’s my turn for a tour around Westray.
I’ve brought my camera to stick out of that tiny window. Here’s Lightcost in the foreground and the Loch of Burness with Pierowall beyond in just one of the photographs I take.
What a great experience. He flies low over our landing site back at the Bay of Tafts to check it’s safe and empty and then pulls the plane up vertically just for the thrill. I’ve never been one for fairground rides, but it’s a fabulous feeling. We land on the beach so smoothly I hardly feel the bump and then come to a halt. I can see we’ve stopped with the front wheel just short of a large hole a child has dug in the sand.
There’s time to admire the cloud formations before we go. This one is a cotton wool rabbit, don’t you think?
Life is very different from the air.