The Pier Road in Winter

I have hardly been out in the week since I have been back, but I did remember to take the camera the other day.  It was mid afternoon, and the sun was setting behind the hill.  The ferry had just come in (or was just about to go out – steaming anyway!!)  (The island in the background is Burray.)

This is the new ferry, The Pentalina, which came in to service last summer.  She is a catamaran, and runs from the ‘Hope to Gill’s Bay, just near John o’Groats.  I haven’t been on her yet, but I am told she is very nice.  She is owned by a local businessman, Andrew Banks, who battled against all odds, the Council and the Government to get her going.  She runs without subsidy – unlike the Northlink Ferries – and Andrew says that if he got the subsidies Northlink get the service would be free….

Andrew also owns an old ferry moored in the bay.  She was once the mail boat, which came several times a week from John o’Groats to South Ronadlsay, to a slip on the Dam of Hoxa.  From there ‘green roads’ went straight over the hill and into the ‘Hope.  Those ‘roads’ are still there, and make a lovely walk in the summer.

Turning round, you see the village of the ‘Hope.  My house is not visible, but is behind the white houses arrowed.  As it is an old house, it is not as high as the later ones, so cannot be seen.  Those houses on the sea side of the road were built in the Nineteenth Century.

I always say there is never a day when there is not something in flower along the verge.  That day there were some wild garlic flowers out – why?? – and as ever, there was the Veronica, a purple Hebe shrub which grows everywhere here and flowers all year round.  With its glossy dark green leaves and purple flowers, it should be prized, but because it grows without care it tends to be considered almost as a weed…

8 thoughts on “The Pier Road in Winter

  1. We have had a LOT of sun recently – only a few hours per day (sunrise about 9 am, sunset about 3.30 pm) but sun most of that time… We have had a lot of ICE – day temps have not gone above about -2 C, but SUN…. (And remember I am right by the sea, which keeps things warm at this time of year.)

    The other half od Orkney had lots of snow over Christmas. We didn’t. Just a bit. That is what happens with showers…


  2. Oh, this makes me want to get back to Orkney this year. What gorgeous light you managed to photograph. And I want a go in the new ferry. I have great admiration for Andrew Banks.

  3. Watching them get a lorry and a couple of caravans onto the ferry whie waiting to head off is quite entertaining. You can spot the “eens fae aff” that haven’t seen the like before and are panicking ‘cos their car is next to the interesting manoeuvres 😉

    1. My son Nick used to work the Pentalina and he said they had far more respect for the folk who got out, gave them the keys and said ‘You do it, I can’t’ than the ones who couldn’t manoeuvre but wouldn’t admit it!! Liz

  4. I’m with Freyalyn – longing to get back. Your pictures are super. I’m missing all the snow and ice in Dublin – it’s rain, rain, rain here in Seattle.

    Janet whose first born is the James named above

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