Pre-Orkney – The long drive before Ferry trip.
Stayed at an Airbnb near Wick (The Croft – a room with a view) the night before ferry departure.
We drove with temperatures at Slioch summit dropping to 3 degrees! This was topped with temperatures in Caithness dropping to 1 degree with us driving in sleet and snow.
Lovely place to stay. It had its own little lounge and bedroom upstairs above the owners Chocolate factory. The owners kept racing Huskies, although most elderly and probably retired.
Day 1 – Saturday
Ferry from Gills Bay to St Margarets Hope. Lunch at Robertsons CoffeeHoose at St Margarets.
Stopped at Tesco in Kirkwall for supplies and felt like a tiring trip so straight to holiday cottage to settle-in.
Day 2 – Sunday
Visit to the Ring of Brodgar in strong bitterly cold winds.
A short drive to the Maeshowe Visitor Centre to get their mini-bus to Maeshowe burial chamber.
After tea we went to storytelling evening at Via House for 8pm, not leaving until after 11.
Day 3 – Monday
Drive to Skara Brae & Skaill House.
Then a short drive to Birsay Tea Room for Orkney ice creams. Stopped into Skaill Bay beach for Jas to get a run.
Day 4 – Tuesday
Trip to Farm Museum West of Dounby to find they were about to close for lunch, and they advised that we should come back.
Still looking for something to do to fill in time, we drove to a wildlife centre near Tingwall, but missed our turn at Finstown and ended up driving for 10-15 minutes before turning back, then guess what – wildlife centre is closed on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, which seems quite common on Orkney.
Looking for a place to eat we drove to the hotel at Dounby only to find that they stopped serving hot food 10 minutes ago. With a co-op accross the road Gail got a salad and I had a sannie.
Day 5 – Wednesday
Italian Chapel then on to Sandi Beach. Jas loved the sandy drop to deep water with the thrashing waves.
A short drive up the East Coast took us to The KirkCafe for a lovely lunch (thru had gorgeous toilets!).
Then on to The WoolShed past Evie, and managed to get some Swannie bears just after the brewery shop had closed.
A short drive to Scara Brae to get a coffee, then North again to Birsay to walk the causeway across to Birsay Brough – we missed the Trust’s opening times, but sat for 20 minutes till they shut and walked over for free.
Day 6 – Thursday
Short drive through back street in Finstown to a car park below Cuween Hill Chambered Cairn.
A short crawl in on our hands and knees. Gail bumped her head on the way out.
We continued on up the hill to a large number of not-so Neolithic standing cairns, supposedly made by folk visiting just laying a new stone.
Our guided talk at The Ring of Brodgar was at 1pm so we have about an hour to kill – soup at The Standing Stones Hotel we though. We were just parked at side of Building when we were asked to move to let two tour coaches in. By the time we moved and parked we were beating to the hotel by the tourists.
We drove on and Gail had spotted an ice-cream parlour at roadside. A great find as they done great Orkney ice cans and coffee.
Onwards to the free guided talk at the ring of Brodgar. Talk was great, very informative but we had to leave just minutes before the end as we were meeting gails cousin at 2.30.
Another short drive to Birsay and we met Gails cousin David and his wife Joan for coffee at the Birsay Tea Shop. Both Jas and David’s dog Frankie got on well and we had a short walk along the north coast.
The ice crane were so good that Gail wanted soothe, so off we went again to the ice cream parlour.
Day 7 – Friday
Visit to St Magnus Cathedral, the Wireless Museum and the Orkney Museum. We met up again with David and Joan and took the dogs to the beach next to the airport.
Day 8 – Trip Home
Ferry meant to be leaving at 11.30am with last check-in at 11. We got there for 10.50 and found that the very was late in arriving. On top of this, there were 4 maybe 5 lorry storage containers that we unloaded to be hooked up with awaiting cabs. There was also a container to be loaded.
All-in, the ferry was about an hour late in leaving.
We stopped in Aviemore at the Winking Owl for a coffee. There was snow getting dumped on the high Cairngorm Munros, with snow level about a 1/4 to 1/3 the way down.
Another stop at Pitlochry as Gail had fancied a gluten free fash supper, but there had been something dropped in the frier so the fat was contaminated. We ended up with gluten free fash fingers and chips form the Co-op to cook when we got home.