Tuesday, 29 September 2009
From the archives: Tuesday 28 September 2004
Houton Ferry Terminal, Orkney Mainland
The weather has quietened down since Sunday's gale, and there is now only a gentle greeze. I go into town to hire a pushbike. At 11, I paddle down the Old Scapa Road after a preliminary circuit of the town centre. This took me down Junction Road to the Orkney Ferries terminal, then along all sorts of back roads to the cathedral. At 11.10, I'm heading southwest along the A964 towards Orphir. It's a nice, sunny day and make good progress. Consider a shortcut at Kirbister to Finstown, but don't like the prospect of hills. Have an interchange with a tourist bus, all along the road to Scapa Garage. On arrival at Houton Terminal, it's 12.30. It's a steep descent from the main road. Nice view across to Hoy. There are two piers here, one of which is the terminal for the ferry to Lyness, Hoy. Watch the world go by behind the ferry office, then head off when the ferry comes in. By that time, I've finished lunch. Back up the hill to the main road, then left towards Brig o'Waithe. The view opens out to Graemsay and Stromness, but it's a long, long way to the A965, particularly with a headwind. Backside gets sorer and sorer as I go along, but ** finally ** I gain the main road.Turn right and am now running the gauntlet of all the traffic. Pass the sideroad to the monuments, then stop off at a petrol station to buy an icecream and a coke. As I progress further east, the weather decides it's warm enough for a shower. So, at the corner of the A986, I hide in the busshelter to don my waterproofs. Reach Finstown without further mishap. Here I decide to go to Kirkwall along the Old Finstown Road, if only to avoid the traffic. Well, I'm not very good at hills and there is a lot of traffic on this road as well. Decide on a break a little way west of Smerquoy Farm, but sitting in the verge of the road isn't that nice either. Get overtaken by a full schoolbus, and finally sail into Kirkwall at 5pm. Blimey, wasn't I knackered. Return the bike to the shop on Tankerness Lane, drop into the Internet Café across the road. This is part of an IT training enterprise, which also serves coffee and snacks. Return to the hostel after shopping at Safeways.