The Holiday, Part 1.

Phew, these holiday things are dead tiring, aren’t they? I still feel in need of catching up on my sleep. We had another hot bath last night, while Dr Who downloaded. We watched the good doctor (brilliant work, Mr Moffat!) and then crashed out. I can’t even remember packing up the lappie or cleaning my teeth, letting the dog out, going back to bed. Not a bit of it.

So, do we want to hear all about it? I am finding it difficult to recall who did what, when or where – so it’s good to have time-stamped photos to fall back on. Thank goodness for the camera.

This holiday was exceptional in being the first time ever that I have had to replace the camera battery. This was OK as I charged and packed a spare. It was also the first time ever that I have seen the words Card Full flashing before my eyes. This was not good as I did not have a spare card in my pocket at the time – the cards were back in Brunhilde at the Stromness Leisure Centre car park and I was in the Pier Arts Centre… feeling frustrated. I came home with 700 images, nevertheless.

It is going to take some time to come to grips with so many photographs. Some have been sorted already and selected for my Blipfoto record but they represent only a small part of the collection.  Many of the 700 are not at all good and will be junked. I tried some experiments and as with all things new, my first attempts were wobbly to say the least. I did however learn a lot and that is a Good Thing.

I am keen to keep my write-up here different to and separate from the Two Snails chronicle but am not sure as yet how to achieve that end. Clearly Two Snails is aimed at documenting the travels for fellow travellers and others of an interested persuasion. That suggests that I should write something more distanced and less personal there. Perhaps the diary waffle goes here. Anyway, there may well be different photos in each blog so you might want to pop in there at some time to see what else is on offer.

Let’s go.

September 9th – 18th – now to be known as The Great Northern Forests Tour. The title is liberal. We saw a lot of trees and Nell had plenty of woodland walks. Forests is a term to be applied loosely. That said, we visited a large handful of designated forest land.


Mr L was at work all day, finishing at 4:30 pm. The van was packed and ready and we were able to close up the house, leave food and water for the chooks, turn off various electricals and do all those other last minute things such as having five wees each and checking the bag seven times for the presence of ferry tickets… in plenty of time for catching the evening ferry to Kirkwall. We slept at Brodgar, in the car park and having arrived at dusk spared little ceremony. Bruni levels up beautifully with her back wheels up on the kerb, with no stabilisers required it makes for a quick getaway in the morning. We needed to be up at 05:00 and away by 05:15 so we did nothing more than set the alarm and fall into bed.

Bruni settled at Brodgar for the night
Bruni settled at Brodgar for the night

Ted did not bother us at all and we found in the morning that he had disregarded his new bed and actually slept with Nell, side by side. That’s a first!



Luckily no other wild campers had joined us in the night so Mr L acted on a bright idea that I had the night before. He started up the engine before doing anything else, in order to clear the windows easily. We both went without a shower or coffee and simply dressed, locked everything down and went off to Stromness – where we found the check-in still closed at 05:30. It was soon ready for business however and we were directed to our queuing lane, where we realised that lorries were being backed on to the Hamnavoe.  Eep. Mr L did not fancy that scenario much at all.

When it came time for us to board the man who takes the stubs from the boarding cards was greatly enamoured of the cat, who was travelling on my lap. He correctly identified him as Bengal and then gave me my tickets back before we were directed to drive on frontwards, then turn round on the car deck.

A Full Cooked Breakfast ensued and then I tried to take some “Leaving Orkney” photographs.


We drove straight from Scrabster to stock up at Thurso’s Tesco. We were too early to buy alcohol so had to take an in-store coffee break and then go round again for our wine and beer. Once that little hiccup was sorted, we drove to Borgie Glen, parking in the car park where we stayed last September. It was a glorious day so we scrubbed the plan to catch 40 winks and packed lunch instead and set off on the Yellow Trail. This trail is over 11 Km, about 7 miles. I was pleased to have the sense to take my small camera with me, though I knew that the views would make me wish I had the Canon but it was a very hot day and the going was hard in places and the weight of the Canon and lenses would have been too much.

We dawdled and I took many snapshots. Nell had fun. It took us four hours in all, what with lunch and view-admiration stops.

Big Beastie. The forest was alive with Dragonflies and Damselflies. I know not the difference between them but there were big buggers and there were bloody big buggers. Some were bright and gaudy, others more subdued in hue. Every one of them but this one was too fast to capture
Big Beastie. The forest was alive with Dragonflies and Damselflies. I know not the difference between them but there were big buggers and there were bloody big buggers. Some were bright and gaudy, others more subdued in hue. Every one of them but this one was too fast to capture


A View from Borgie
A View from Borgie

When we returned to the car park we saw them. The midges were out in force. As the evening cooled, the midges became more prolific. Eventually the van was besieged by them.  We could not go outside as every time the door was opened, the midgies swarmed in. When I remembered that I had a can of Raid under the bathrobe sink I was suddenly a far happier woman!

Unfortunately the huge volume of midgies put paid to our evening plan of visiting The Unknown for some photography with props. They also drove us out of the site in the early morning, with the Blue Trail left undone. We had to revamp  our itinerary.

The Holiday, Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here and Part 4 is coming soon.

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