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Published: August 23rd 2019
Orkney Kirkwall and Hoy
51 miles 639m ascent.
The ferry from Lerwick to Kirkwall on Orkney was delayed slightly last night as we were half an hour away from the port and someone apparently fell with the swell of the sea and needed to be taken off. Sailing back to port delayed us 1 1/2 hours and 11.30 departure became 0100. Miraculously we arrived in Kirkwall at 11.45 and found the hostel and made bed by 1 o’clock. Away at 8am for a good breakfast at the Pomona cafe. First class food and service. Whilst the day started bright it deteriorated with occasional rain and became very cold when the 20mph wind hit us head on. By the time we were at the Ring of Brogdar with 2 million German tourists it was quite bitter and I had to put on more clothing. Luckily about a mile past the standing stones there was a small coffee and cake stop which did the business. An interesting stop following this was at the Unstan Tomb, where 5,000 year old bones have been found, which establishes the structure as pre Egyptian Pyramids. Up and down more hills, which we were told did not exist
on Orkney, and the ferry terminal came into view. We missed the ferry by half an hour and had to wait 105 minutes for the next one which made a diversion to Flotta making a sea journey of 1 hour to Lyness on Hoy. Rain greeted us at the harbour and it was rain capes on and acting like a parachute into the headwind all the way to the Stromabank Hotel in Longhope. I can recommend the hotel which has great food and a pleasant host in Roz. The beds were good although rather close together and happy that Bill did not want to hold hands as we slept. Breakfast did not disappoint and we were off by 9pm to cycle around the headland (need I say it was raining again). Despite the weather it was a very interesting ride around to the ferry terminal and the Wartime Museum. We were amazed to know that the British Fleet was kept here in Scapa in the early 1900’s and all during the two world wars. During the Second World War 1200 people were stationed there and the navy command centre which was linked to London.All the services to look after those
people were created including water, sewage and electricity. Further up the road heading north on Hoy is Emily’s cafe which was too much to expect for a cyclist to pass so we called in for the compulsory coffee and cake. Gee it’s hard work this cycling, so off we went again another few miles before coming across the peatland unconsecrated grave of Betty Corragall. She was a young girl of 27 who in the 1770’s had an illegitimate child by a rogue who deserted her to sea and left her destitute and shunned by the locals. She walked into the sea to commit suicide but was saved and then hung herself two weeks later. Sad. After one mile along the road to the ’Old Man’ there was a lay-by with the RSPB volunteers there with a high powered telescope trained onto an immature White Tailed Eagle in the distance. Luckily I managed to find it with my camera and got a reasonable photograph of it. Shortly after that both the bird’s parents took off and I got them in flight as they disappeared into the distance. Time to visit the Old Man was getting tight so a visit to the
Dwarfie Stone was the next stop. This was carved out by stone tools 3000 years ago to create two chambers, probably for burial, and a big stone to block the entrance. A good cafe was the found by the ferry terminal where coffee and jam scones were the order of the day. Where do cyclists put all this food? It is possible the midges drew enough blood to render the food all gone in two hours.
Stromness is our abode for the night and what a gem this town is.
The Ferry Inn is clean and good looking and the food is to die for. A stroll around town after dinner also revealed a street behind the promenade with a flagged and cobbled surface which keeps away traffic and is very ’old time’ and most pleasant. Eventually we had to concede and the midges won, despite their small stature.
Friday on Hoy, 30 miles 265 ascent.
Tot: 3.576s; Tpl: 0.046s; cc: 13; qc: 56; dbt: 0.0482s; 3; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb