Back on North Ron!

Val and I are on North Ronaldsay…  We arrived on Saturday in bright sun, and since then have had all seasons in one!  The Bird Observatory is as good as ever, and the sheep and seals as interesting as ever.  I never ever seen so few seals – maybe the many sightings of Orca (killer whales) this year has had some effect…

When we arrived, they were starting the first shearing of the year.  This is quite early, but when you happen to have both the manpower and good weather, you start!

The fleeces are mainly many-coloured….

Being an ancient breed, there is a lot of variety in the fineness of the fibre both between fleeces and within a single fleece.

On Sunday there was a day trip up from Kirkwall on the MV Earl Thorfinn. Three unsuspecting drivers gaily drove their cars on to the ferry in Kirkwall, not realising that here there is no linkspan, and that at this end the cars are lifted off with the crane on the boat:

And the close up:

Last evening the wind suddenly came up very strongly, and the noise when this happens is frightening – it sounds as if the house is about to come down!  It was bad for a few hours, but at dusk (ie 10 or 11 pm) it just as suddenly calmed, and today it has been beautiful.

We went up to see Jane at the mini-mill this morning,where Val thoroughly enjoyed the detail of how the fleece was turned into yarn.

And this afternoon we went over to June and Gerry Morris’ place, Howar, where June was feeding the caddy lambs:

All the alpaca were there, as nosy as ever  videos at some point when I have time to edit them!

Val and I then walked over to the Broch of Burrian.  This is the remains of a 2,000 year old Iron Age settlement on the eastern shore.  It is a magical place, with the sheep running by and the seals hauling out…

Tomorrow we move on to Papa Westray, and no internet contact for a few days.  With another trip to the yarn shop….!


6 thoughts on “Back on North Ron!

  1. I so want caddy lambs again. Haven’t had any in years. I also remember going on holiday and having the car go in the hold of the Ola (1952-76 version):-)

    1. The last Ola left these shores about 5 years ago when the Northern Isles ferry routes went over to Northlink. The new boat on that route is the Hamnavoe.

      Linkspans are gradually coming in to most islands. It is only the smallest that don’t have them now – North Ron, Papa Westray, Eligsay, Wyre and Graemsay. There are Plans to put one in here on North Ron, along with a new pier, but it is likely to be years and years and years before they do.


      1. It’s taken me nearly that length of time to actually mind on to call it the Hamnavoe rather than the Ola. It just wasn’t right when they changed the name after P&O left. My grandad was the night watchman on the 2nd last Ola so we used to go and get chips from the Stromness chipper and then go and sit and eat them on the boat with him. Never made it to North Ronaldsay yet – hopefully when I get home next year it’ll happen.

    1. All down to ecconomics! Folk up here do not have the money to pay shearers to come up, unless they have a large flock. Some of the farms on Mainland bring in shearers, but very few. Most do it themselves, usually with hand clippers.


  2. Liz, I just love your blog. The pictures and the commentary! I always learn so much and it drives me mad wanting to visit all of the places you see! 🙂

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