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…