We do not have autumn, nor even Fall, in Orkney. We have the back end. The back end of the year. You know it is the back end when there is a different chill to the wind, and the leaves from the non-existent trees blow all about…
This year the back end has started early. We usually have gales in September, but the winds are not usually this cold. It is definitely hat, scarf and gloves weather.
Mind you, it has been a lousy summer. There has been the odd good day, but they have been few and far between. If it has been sunny, it has been cold; if it has been warm it has been wet!
The saying up here is that the weather always changes after the County Show, on the second Saturday of August, and it is amazing how often the does happen. If the weather has been wet, it becomes dry and if it has been warm and sunny it becomes cold and wet. This year it stayed what the forecasters call ‘changeable’.
Although the evenings are drawing in by our standards, it is till good light until about 8.30 pm. But the weather means I have started to wear my sexy hi-viz jacket again to make sure I can be seen. Scottie refuses to wear his, and I don’t insist until we are actually walking in darkness. We walk along the Pier Road to the old (Medieval) slipway, known as the Viking slip, where Scottie rolls in the seaweed and I have a look to see what the tide has brought in or uncovered.
Yesterday I noticed an old horseshoe, half buried in the sand. It was covered in barnacles and thick rust – it had obviously been in the water a long time. And it had obviously come off a large beast – it is over 7.5 ins across, far bigger than those of my Highland (whose feet were big enough!). The big, heavy horses used round here were mainly Clydesdales, and I suspect this came off one of them – who knows how long ago….