Saturday dawned on our only weekend in Orkney and we had a plan to go Island hopping.
The itinerary was to head along the coast to Tingwall, take the car over to Rousay on the early ferry and tour the Island, have lunch then travel as foot passengers on the links to Egilsay and Wyre, Back to Rousay to pick up the car and take the last ferry back to Orkney mainland.
The day started well, arriving at the harbour in plenty of time and quickly being whisked over to Rousay.
There is only one road, which loops around the island along which we headed anticlockwise. Stopping at Saviskaill bay to enjoy the views and watch for wildlife. And look out over Egilsay
Our route continued around the top of the island, enjoying the dramatic views until we came round to Midhowe Cairn and Broch
It’s a fair old walk from the car park (More a glorified lay-by) down to the cairn, apparently the most extensive chambered cairn surviving. To help it survive further it is now housed in a modern protective structure. This was a welcome relief both because it provided shelter from some quite bitter winds, bit also because it enables the visitor walkways that cross over above the cairn providing access without damage to the cairn itself.
The Broch, a short walk away however is open to the elements, but still a well preserved structure, almost as good as the Broch at Gurness we visited last time we were in Orkney.
exhausted from our walk we retired to the only hotel on the island for lunch.
This was quite a frenetic affair for the staff, we learnt that their chef was trapped on the mainland as the ferry had been cancelled! Yes, the ferry we were due to catch onto the other islands and home. Hoping that whatever problems there were would be resolved, after a few calls to the ferry offices in the afternoon we continued our tour round back to the harbour. At this point we discovered from the locals (Many of whom knew, and were in contact with, crew on the ferry) that the problem was one of incorrect documentation discovered during a routine safety check, and that there might not be a proper ferry till Monday, things took a more serious turn. Although a passenger boat had been made available, we would have been left without a car until it could be recovered, or forced to stay in a hotel on Rousay with only the clothes we were wearing. At least between the locals being upated by family and Me calling the ferry manager we were able to keep abreast of the situation. with only about 15 minutes to commit to travelling on foot or staying over I received a call that the car ferry would be able to make the last run of the day, albeit late, so we could get back to the cottage. Phew what a relief!. Sadly we never did get to Egilsay or Wyre, but we got home.
But we did see a seal