I am home after a couple of days on North Ronaldsay with Sarah and Mike Williams.
How ever many times I go to the island I never tire of it. It was Sarah and Mike’s first time, and taking folk there adds to my enjoyment.
We left Flotta early on Thursday and spent the morning in town, mainly at the museum looking at the exhibition of the work done at the Ness of Brodgar. It rained and rained and rained, and the wind blew and blew and blew…
By the time we got to the airport after lunch (at Lucano’s of course!) the rain had abated, but it was still pretty blustery. It was also pretty misty, but the plane was able to fly. Sarah and Mike (M&S???) had never flown in such a small plane, and they were able to get the seats with the best view, behind the driver. As we flew north, the cloud lifted slightly and we got a good view coming in to land.
After coffee and cake the rain had stopped so we went out for a walk – the usual first stroll down to the rocky shore. The wind was still pretty fierce, but we were able to walk, and it did mean plenty of big breakers. There were a few seals about, but no sheep. We checked round the corner, but still no sheep – it was clear they were being sensible and keeping to the sheltered end of their territory! I then went back to the Bird Observatory where we were staying while M&S went on round to the east, sheep and seal watching as they walked. As expected, the sheep were mainly in the shelter of the pier eating weed.
Soon after M&S got back the rain started again, so we settled in the bar with our spindles for the evening…!
Overnight the wind was fairly high, but in the morning the sun was shining and there were white clouds instead of grey. We went up to the mill at the north end of the island, and as Jane was not there, I did the tour. Back in the shop Mike couldn’t resist a beautiful sheepskin – long wool with lots of different greys and fawns. Then we went down to the fog horn to sheep watch once more.
In the afternoon, M&S went up the lighthouse. There are fantastic views from the top, and the sun was still out. Straight after that we went over to see June Morris and her livestock. The alpaca were as lovely as ever, and even friendlier! June thought she had taken the young male away from his mum and out of the field before he came to sexual maturity, but in the spring a previously ‘barren’ female gave birth to a baby girl!! This was just before they were all due to be sheared, so that had to be put off until next year, as the process of shearing is distressing for all involved, and they didn’t know whether any of the other females were pregnant! (They weren’t.)
June still has a flock of a variety of different mainly rare breed sheep. These Soays were wanting their tea…
…. and these North Ronaldsay lambs were ever so friendly!
Once more the evening was spent spindling in the bar. We left early the next morning for the Kirkwall Spin in Public event. It was only a short trip to the island, but we ;eft planning the next one…!!