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Published: August 24th 2019
Orkney. Stromness and Scara Brae.
I can thoroughly recommend the Ferry Inn with good rooms and good food. As we were waiting to depart at 8.30am who should be outside the hotel but Rosie,an old family friend. What a delight to catch up after several years. Heading north again the minor roads took us up and down several hills to Scara Brae. This is a 5,000 year old settlement which was discovered in 1850 by the local Laird following a severe storm when the sand was blown away to expose the remains of the houses. This is a most impressive site and well worth a visit, especially if you visit Skaill House where the Laird lived, which is full of furniture and period artefacts. Just a few miles north was the Barony Flour Mill, which has been in operation almost continually since the 1770’s. They do demonstrations in summer and do the grinding of Bere barley in winter. We had a guided tour by a very knowledgeable young lady who took us through the process and got the overshoot waterwheel working to turn the stones and the bucket elevators. I can recommend this tour. The Brough of Birsay beckoned, which
nearby houses an old castle built by the notorious Earl of Orkney in the early 1600’s. It was visited, and maybe sacked, by Oliver Cromwell in 1658 and is now derelict with various walls standing. I imagine much of the stone was used to build local houses and farms. Unfortunately the tide was high and we could not get across to the Broughton of Birsay with the lighthouse but met some motorcyclists who we had seen earlier at Scara Brae. One was on a Moto Guzzi and the other on a Dneiper sidecar outfit, which is a replica of the Russian Ural, which again was a copy of the BMW horizontal twin. We saw them a third time in Dounby as we were going into our hotel. On the beach at Brough of Birsay were three old tractors used to pull in fishing and recreational boats. One was a Grey Ferguson already pulling in a boat. The others a red Ferguson and a John Deere. Unfortunately we passed a farm museum in error since we missed the signs which apparently had some interesting machinery exhibits and a house with a peat fire burning. Our return journey to Dounby was spoilt
by Andrew having a puncture in his tubeless tyre, which necessitated putting in a tube. Can you recommend tubeless tyres Andrew? Sorry we left you to fix this on your own. At the Smithfield Hotel in Dounby we were met by a wedding party in progress in the bar with men wearing skirts and very little, or no, underwear we think and a furry purse thing over their crotch. Despite this cross dressing faux pas we had a really good meal in the restaurant and a good game or two of pool in the bar without ripping the cloth. The bar was brightened up later by some giddy girls in the corner, until they started laying eggs I think by the laughter emitting our way. Time for bed for the old fogies. 9 o’clock already?
27m. and 470m ascent today. Easy.
Tot: 2.754s; Tpl: 0.016s; cc: 12; qc: 30; dbt: 0.0188s; 2; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb