It's a cloudy day today, and it does not look as if it's going to brighten up. Arrive at a derilict busstation to take the tourist bus to Skara Brae, with a view to walk across to Stromness. It's also quite blustery and cold. Alight at the neolithic village at 11, and now have the rest of the afternoon to cover the 6 miles to Stromness. I start off by merrily walking into the teeth of the gale, past Skaill Farm,along walls and through pastures. Past herds of bemused looking cows,but very quickly I find myself crossing barbed-wire fences without any stiles. Back I go, glad to have my face out of that very cold SW wind. Retrace my steps as far as Skaill Farm, then head southeast, along a farmtrack that runs roughly past Loch Skaill. Then it's due south, and I'm again diverted because of herds of cows. WIth difficulty, on account of an overgrown and boggy farmtrack, I gain the road which leads south to Stromness. Because of the force 8-9 wind, I decide to engage in a spot of roadwalking. This presents me with quite a challenge, because the severe gale strength wind is determined to blow me into the path of oncoming traffic. After 2 miles, I get the opportunity to leave the busy B9050/A967 to briefly head for quieter side-roads. Pass Kirbister and proceed over Redland Hill. Here,a minor disaster befalls me, in that one of my bootlaces breaks. I tie the two ends together and carry on. My mapcase is also giving me grief. This consists of a Morrisons bag, and is flapping furiously, not really affording much protection against the force 9 winds. Carry on along the A967, with the weather improving gradually. As I struggle past Newburgh and Millhouse, the sun comes out. Head into a country lane to enter Stromness by the backdoor. The ruinous farm buildings along here don't do much for the scenery. Take a break off Millhouse farm, then descend to the bridge cum ford across the Mill Burn and wearily trudge down the hill into Stromness proper. This is along HIllside Road, not the main Kirkwall Road. Past the Co-op and the firestation at 4pm, and up Franklin Road to gain the higher reaches of Stromness. Even go up Brinkies Brae with my purchases from the Co-op, then into the town for a cuppa before the bus comes back at 4.50. Julia's Cafe is a nice wee place opposite the ferry terminal. Kids are sliding along the tiled floors. Have a cup of tea and a pastry before I rejoin the bus back to Kirkwall. Sun is out on the way back, making it quite an acceptable late afternoon.
Stromness, October 2008
Skara Brae, October 2008