Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Misty Mysterious Scotland

Apparently I like to travel around with people who know things: where they are going, where to stay, what to eat, the history, flora and fauna, and especially the geography of the places we are traveling, and...how to drive on the left side of the road, and negotiate single track roads with pull outs, car ferries and small planes to remote islands!

OMG. And I don't say that lightly. The trip to Scotland could not have been better. There were beaches and misty mountaintops, windy blustery weather (my favorite!!) and even a thunderstorm or two, plus some sunny spells which allowed easy navigation of Neolithic sites, beaches and a tour of craft galleries.

Also? Apparently I like to photograph windy, cold, beaches, like the beaches of my childhood:

Scotland and Switzerland 043

Achininver

Skara Brae

Brough of Birsay1

No wonder emigrants like my ancestors like the Pacific Northwest: it looks like home.

We had boat rides:

Scotland and Switzerland 094

South Ronaldsay, from Skapa Flow, while on the ferry:

South Ronaldsay

See the sheep on that bluff? They were everywhere! :)

We took plane rides:

Plane to North R.

And yes! I am sitting right behind the pilot/co-pilot seats. There was no co-pilot though, so direct view straight out the windows! Also? The pilot is not actually paying attention, he was reading something. We were on autopilot! at about 1000' in altitude! Everyone else seemed calm about this, so I was too. This route is a milk-run, with stops where needed, so some people got out or on at various islands in Orkney, and we sat and watched the dailyness of people going about their lives when it involves taking a plane to a barbeque on another island, and then heading back home the next morning....all in a day's travel.

The Orkneys are littered with Neolithic sites, and we made a valiant effort to visit many, with such captivating names as Maes Howe, Ness of Brodgar, Ring of Brodgar, Brough of Birsay, Skara Brae....

Scotland Ring of Brodgar

Scotland Brough of Birsay

The people who built these walls were accomplished builders: the stones are laid so as to shed water to the outside, keeping the inside warm and dry, despite the (ahem) "changeable" weather....This month's National Geographic has a cover story and description of the neolithic sites under excavation, and there are many not yet even touched, but known to be on the islands. The Orkney Islands are a wealth of untold stories in stones and runes, of people who were far advanced in organization, civilization and husbandry, and who left the area for reasons as yet unknown.

I must admit, though, most of my photos are of the colors (I buy postcards of the sites. Professional photographers are much better at this than I am):

Scotland lichens

Scotland Achiniver2

Scotland Lion's Mane Jellyfish

Scotland rooftop

Scotland Aird Hill

I have many stories, and more photos, more to tell of the things we did (Switzerland!), but enough! for today, I'll save the rest for another post or two.

Let me end this by saying that I feel so incredibly lucky to have friends who would arrange to take me on this trip, who would drive me around, had vetted the hotels, knew which sites we could possibly see in the limited time we had, and even...understood! when the Scots accent was boggling to me. Thankyouthankyouthankyou! to Sarah and Andy. It's never enough, can never really express my gratitude, but thank you again.

4 Comments:

Blogger sarah said...

We're incredibly lucky to have you as a friend with whom to share these things. It was a good time; we should do it again.

8:12 AM  
Anonymous Scullerymaid said...

Wonderful photos! Windy, cold beaches are the best kind to photograph, because there are rarely unwanted humans about cluttering up the view.

10:47 AM  
Blogger Freyalyn Close-Hainsworth said...

The Orkneys are my favourite place in the world - I'm glad you love it too.

(NB do you have any of your latest book at home (when you're back)? I missed out on ordering it in May.

11:03 AM  
Blogger spinpygora said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. You've basically described my dream trip! Ever since I saw a BBC special on the Ness of Brodgar a few years ago, I've had this deep longing to visit. Not sure why, I just feel I must. So compelling!

11:50 AM  

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