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Norwegian flagOrkney Islands Tour 2021 -

South Ronaldsay - Deerness - Shapinsay - Stronsay - NorthRonaldsay - Birsay

13.06.21 - Stirling to South Ronaldsay

map linkWe left our B&B at Broomhill Castle at 10.00am and arrived at Gills Bay at 4.30pm. We had hoped to have something to eat before the sailing but after a short drive around we couldn't find anything open, obviously places hadn't opened up after the lockdown. We went back to the ferry terminal and parked up. It didn't take long to get the bikes off the rear rack and our panniers loaded. We had traveled up in our cycling gear and just needed to change our shoes. There was a little drizzle as we waited for the ferry but the crossing was quite uneventful and took just over the hour. They were quite efficient offloading at St. Margarets Hope and we were soon on our way. Although it wasn't long or high it seemed a tough climb out of St Margarets Hope, it just proved how unfit we had become during lockdown. We knew the route to the campsite as we had stayed at Wheems farm back in 2013. What was so lovely was the sound of Curlews calling as we cycled up the road, it is such an evocative sound. We arrived at Wheems farm at 8.30pm and soon had the tent up and a brew on.

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14.06.21 - South Ronaldsay

map linkWe woke to the wonderful sound of Skylarks and Curlews. The wind had increased during the night and was very strong. We needed some bread and milk so we decided to cycle to St. Margarets Hope to buy some. It was lively in the high winds and even on the downhill bits we had to pedal to keep us going as the wind was against us. On reaching St. Margarets Hope we found the Post office and bought our bread and milk. When we got out of the Post Office we were hit by a squally shower and had to put on our waterproofs. Fortunately it didn't last too long and by the time we reached the main road it had stopped. As the wind had a bite to it we left the waterproof on. We attempted to cycle to Burwick in the south of the island.

Unfortunately there was such a strong south westerly wind and it was hard work cycling as it was quite blustery with gusts up to 40mph. We decided to carry on as initially it didn't seem too bad but It was a real struggle to get up to Olafs summit with the gradient and against the strong winds. When we eventually got to the summit car park we decided that as it had been such hard work we both decided enough was enough and that we would head back to the campsite. On the way back we found a small turning down to a wee forest and in the lee of this and by a gate we stopped to have a quick brew and a bite to eat. The cows in the field were obviously inquisitive and came over to have a look at us. When we got to the campsite the tent was being really buffeted by the strong winds so we went and sat in the barn lean-to as it was sheltered by the other barn and the shower and toilet block. There was a kitchen in it with a kettle so we had a cup of tea and read for awhile. It gave us an opportunity to charge the GPS spare batteries and the radio batteries which we had forgotten to do before we left.

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15.06.21 - South Ronaldsay to Deerness

map linkFortunately later in the night the wind died but early in the morning about 6.30am we had some showers which didn't bode well but when we got up they had gone. The sun was trying to get out and there was a fresh easterly breeze. After our breakfast we packed up the tent and loaded the bikes and took them over to the kitchen area to make our second cup of tea. Whilst we were waiting for this to brew we took the opportunity to pump the tyres up on the bikes. As Wheems is an organic farm they were selling strawberries so we bought some.

We set off from the campsite at 10.50am and at the first junction turned right. It was a lovely sunny morning and we had a great ride down to the main road where we turned right to follow the A961 to Burray village where we stopped at the Seaview Stores to pick up some supplies. We decided to ring the campsite at Deerness to check that they had a place for us. I got an answer phone and I left a message for them to ring me back. We had done this part of the route back in 2013 but it was good to see the Churchill Barriers and block ships again. When we got to Lamb Holm we stopped to have another look at the Italian Chapel. They now have an entrance fee which we think is a good idea as it must cost them to keep it up. After crossing the last Churchill Barrier we took the right turn the B9052 to Deerness. We found it was a bit of a pull up the first hill and both agreed that there wasn't any fuel in our tanks and that we needed something to eat. Fortunately at the top of the hill there was a war memorial with a seat, a perfect place for a brew and something to eat.

Suitably refreshed we headed off and going up the next hill it seemed a lot easier. As we were going down the next hill my phone rang and it was the lady from the Deerness campsite. It was a good thing we did ring as although there was plenty of space we needed a key to get into the toilets and showers and she agreed to leave it in a secret place. It wasn’t long before we were at the T junction with the A960 at the Bay of Suckquoy where we turned right to Deerness. Just along the road at Upper Sanday there is a narrow piece of land that joins Deerness to the mainland and on it is a place called Dingieshowe where there is the remains of a brooch and which was one of the ‘Thing’ sites where the Vikings used to meet to settle disputes and feuds. We stopped there to have a look at the sandy beach of Taracliff Bay. From there we headed along the A960 and climbed the hill up on to Deerness past a farm which is aptly named the ‘Grind’. At Snippigar we took the B9050 and at Glenavon we stopped at the Deerness stores to pick up something for our evening meal. From there we could see the Deerness community center and it was a short ride down. We soon found the key and the facilities were excellent. There was plenty of lush green grass to camp on, it was just trying to find a place that was a bit sheltered from the wind.

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16.06.21 - Deerness to Kirkwall

map linkIt was a lively night with the wind but remarkably we both slept quite well. When I woke early I suddenly realised that I hadn't put the GPSs on charge. I found Frank's but couldn't find mine. I looked as best as I could without waking Frank and had this panic that I had left it on the bike. I checked my bike and it wasn't there. By that time Frank was awake and she started looking. I was sure that I had taken it off the bike and you begin to doubt yourself. Had I indeed left it on the bike and some scallywag had pinched it in the night. Well whilst packing up I found it under the food bag, the one bag I hadn't lifted up and checked. Panic over! After we had packed the tent and loaded the bikes we headed around to the community centre to use the loo and clean our teeth and we met the lady who we had booked the campsite with. She was just about to do the cleaning. Another lady came along while we were chatting and we chatted to her.

We set off on the B9050 to find the Mull head nature reserve. Along the way I stopped to look at someone's garden which they had made into a pitch and putt but the pitches were shaped in the shape of several of the Orkney islands with little models of things that relate to the island. As I was taking some photos a lady came out of the house. It was the lady we had met at the community centre and she was quite tickled that I was taking photos of her pitch and putt. When we got to the Mull Head reserve we left the bikes at the car park and walked along the footpath to have a look at the Gloup which is a dramatic collapsed sea-cave separated from the sea by a land bridge about 80 yards wide. It drops down around 80 feet, with the sea still crashing in through the blowhole. The name comes from the Old Norse "gluppa" - a chasm. From there we walked along the cliffs to the Burgh of Brough where there were some lovely cliffs with some lovely wildflowers and nesting Fulmars. Sadly the footpath to the Brough was closed due to a landslide. After a good look around the cliffs we headed back to the car park where we sat and had a brew and some lunch.

From there we went back the way we came and then headed for Kirkwall. At the shop at Deerness we stopped to pick up some cold drinks and when we got to Dingyshowe Bay we stopped to use the toilets there. As Frank was about to go into the Ladies a lady was coming out on crutches with a big plaster cast on her ankle. We got chatting to them and it turned out that they were from Norwich. The poor lady had gone for a walk along the beach and it got rocky and slipped off a rock and broke her ankle. They had to get out the coast guard to stretcher her off the beach. The ride along the A960 was fairly uneventful with a few hills to contend with and the worst was the one up from Kirkwall airport which we hit just before 5.00pm. The road got quite busy with traffic and there were several buses coming from the airport. By the time we got near to the top at New Houses we pulled in a small layby to get our breath back and cool down under the trees as it was quite sunny. At the layby There was a memorial to the original Kirkwall or Wideford airfield which had been there before that opened the new airport lower down the hill where there was more room for the bigger planes to land. There was only a short bit of the climb to go and then it was a good downhill ride down into Kirkwall. After a little look around the town we went to Tescos before heading for the Pickaquoy campsite. The campsite is one of the best we have stayed on with lovely clean facilities and the two wardens do a wonderful job in looking after it. We had a lovely grassy spot with a very useful picnic table that we could cook on and we enjoyed one of our favorite touring meals which is Pepper steaks with fresh vegetables and garlic and mushroom sauce washed down with a good beer and on this occasion it was Cairngorm Ale.

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17.06.21 - Shapinsay

map linkAs Shapinsay had no campsite and as the ferry ride is only 20 minutes we decided to stay another night at the Pickaquoy site and do a day trip to Shapinsay. There was a ferry at 9.40am and I tried to book a place on it. Unfortunately when I got through the lady said that due to the Covid 19 restrictions they could only take bookings an hour before the ferry leaves so I booked us onto the next ferry which went at 11.30am. We got to the ferry terminal at 11.00am and met two other cyclists Ann and Donald who were also waiting for the ferry. We had a brief chat with them when we were leaving Wheems farm campsite a few days ago.

On arrival on Shapinsay we weren't really sure whether to go to the far end of the island and work our way back or just start at the west end and see how far we got. We took the first turning on the left after leaving the ferry as there was a sign to Mill dam RSPB reserve so we decided that was worth a look. Unfortunately there wasn't that much about, but we see a Snipe on post and a few Greylag geese. On going further up the road we met Ann and Donald at the top of the hill. They said that if we continued down the road at the end there was a track going left that took you to a set of WWII gun emplacements at the Salt Ness. We decided to go and have a look. It was an interesting place with stunning views across the Wide firth to the other islands of Rousay, Stronsay and Eday. During the war the Galtness Battery gun emplacement apparently had twin six pounder guns to protect the Wide Firth from German torpedo boats. As there was a concrete wall of the gun emplacement to sit down on and it was such a lovely spot we decided to have lunch there. As we were leaving we met a couple who had been on the ferry and were walking around the island.

When we got back to the top of the hill we decided to go down to Vasa where there was a little nature reserve. It was a lovely spot with a shingle beach and again lovely views across the Wide firth. Unfortunately it was a big pull back up the hill and at the top we headed downhill to the main road. Halfway down Frank announced over the radio that her front rack was rattling and stopped to find that a bolt had come loose from her front rack and was missing. I rode back to the top of the hill just in case it might be lying on the road. But no luck, luckily we didn't have front panniers on so I just put a cable tie around it to keep it in place. Hopefully we might be able to get a replacement at the bike shop in Kirkwall. We headed to the east end of the island along the B9050 to Sandguard Bay and then turned north to have a look at the Mor Stein Standing Stone. There we met Ann and Donald again. They had been up to Broch at Burroughston. Looking at the time and the fact that we didn't wish to miss the 5.30pm ferry we decided that there wasn't enough time to get there and back so decided to leave it for another time. And so we headed back along the B9050 to Balfour. As we got into the village someone had a small enclosure with chickens and turkeys. The cock turkey was displaying his feathers and had an amazing blue and red head. We decided to pop into the shop to get a cold drink and bumped into Ann and Donald who were sitting outside so we joined them and had a great chat before riding around to the ferry terminal and catching the 5.30 ferry back to Kirkwall.

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18.06.21 - Kirkwall

We decided that we would stay another night at the Pickaquoy campsite as we needed to do some clothes washing and sort out our itinerary for the rest of our trip as with the Covid 19 restrictions all the ferries now seem to have to be booked in advance and so did the campsites. We also needed to go to the Orkney bike shop to try and get a replacement for the bolt that was missing off Frank's front rack. Whilst we were sitting in the campsite lounge ringing up and booking our ferry to North Ronaldsay and the campsites at Rousay and Birsay we got chatting to Issac and Alex from Pedal 4 Parks. They were setting off that day on a 14 day cycle from the Orkney isles to the Isles of Scilly going through several of our national parks to raise awareness of our need for these open spaces and to highlight the climate crisis. Their route was quite unique in that they were starting from Birsay and cycling to South Ronaldsay and then transferring to some water bikes to cross the Pentland firth. They would then cycle from John O' Groats to Lands End and then use the water bikes to cross across to the Isles of Scilly. I said to them that it would be good as extra media exposure if I took some photos of their team and put a post on our Facebook page. So at 2.00pm we had a quick photo shoot and then we went into Kirkwall to the Orkney Cycle shop to get a replacement bolt. When we got to Orkney Cycles Eric was most helpful and very quickly found us a bolt and didn't charge us a penny, top bloke! After that we had a little walk around Kirkwall and did some shopping.

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19.06.21 - Kirkwall to Stronsay

map linkDue to problems with one of the ferry boats Orkney ferries had to combine several of the routes so the Stronsay ferry was now going to Sanday and Eday and was leaving at 15.30 instead of 16.00. The ferry got us into Stronsay harbour at just after 5.00pm. We stopped at the Post Office stores to get something for our tea. We could have got something in the Tescos in Kirkwall before we left but we do like to support the local village shops on the islands. I asked two blokes who were by the Post Office stores if there was a cold water tap on the fish pier. Yes there was but we could fill up at the Fish Mart which was just behind us. They pointed out that there was also a shower there with an honesty box and it was open 24/7. I asked the two guys as there was no campsite on the island if there was any where we could wild camp. The older of the two guys said we could camp on his land right next to the community centre and we could use the public toilets at the back of the Community Centre. He explained that if we went up the main road and went past the war memorial and the school we would find the Community Centre on the left and we could camp in the field to the right of the community centre just inside the gate. Well I was glad that I had asked as when we got there it suited us just fine.

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20.06.21 - Stronsay

map linkWe had a good night's sleep and woke up to a lovely sunny morning. As we were just putting on our day bags onto our bikes. The farmer whose land we were camped on came past and we had a long chat. He was called Don Peace and had been born on Sanday but his parents moved to the farm on Stronsay in 1952 when he was 5. Apparently he played keyboard in the Stronsay band. We then cycled off to the Vat of Kirbister and we left the bikes at the car park and walked down to the cliffs. The Vat of Kirbister is a rock arch in the sea cliffs. There was a large Fulmar and Shag colony and loads of lovely wildflowers. We spent ages there taking photos and filming the birds. From there we then cycled down to the Bay of Houseby to look for somewhere out of the wind for a lunch stop. However there didn't seem to be anywhere so we headed back up the road and then turned left down to Rothiesholm Bay where we found a sheltered spot behind the dunes. On the way back from Rothiesholm Bay we passed the Moncur memorial church and I stopped to take a photo. There was a couple loading a car and we got chatting to them. They were loading a few remaining pieces from a sale that they had had to raise money for the church. They asked if we would like to have a look inside and they told us about the history of it. It was interesting talking to them about island life, they had two children both of whom had moved to the mainland and were settled and they couldn't see them coming back to the island. It seems such a shame that these island communities could die out if all the young people leave for the mainland. After leaving the church we headed back to our tent for our evening meal. It was a lovely evening with a lovely sunset.

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21.06.21 - Stronsay to Kirkwall

map linkAs we didn't have much in the way of breakfast we decided to go cycle down to the Fish mart cafe at Whitehall Village. We had a great breakfast, 2 rashers of bacon, 2 sausages, a hash brown, baked beans and a fried egg. This came with 2 cups of tea and 2 rounds of toast, all for £6 each. Absolutely brilliant, John & Tara who run the cafe and the hostel are a really nice couple. After feeling very repleat from our breakfast we went to find the house where our friend Carolyn's mum was born. Sadly it is now just a shell but it looked like someone was going to do it up as there were builders trestles and materials inside. We then headed back to to have a look at the Heritage center which the lady at the church had mentioned. From there we headed to St. Catherine's Bay to find somewhere to have some lunch but it was too windy and there was no shelter from the wind. We had to push the bikes up the track as it was just too steep to ride.

We then went back around to Rothiesholm Bay where we had been yesterday and found that it was sheltered there and had our lunch and a brew. It is such a lovely place, so quiet and peaceful with such a lovely sandy beach, the sea was a beautiful turquoise blue. After our lunch the sun had come out and we had a wander along the beach collecting a handful of shells that we had found. We stopped at the community center to use the loo and met three ladies in a car and had a chat. We still had a bit of time before the ferry left and we stopped at the junction deciding whether to go down to the airport. A chap pulled up alongside and asked us if we were lost. We told him we were just debating whether to go down to the airport or go to the heritage center and have a cup of tea. We chatted to him and he worked on the local fish farm. Apparently in the one on the east side there were half a million salmon but only 180,000 in the one on the east side but they were much bigger and they soon would be graded for sale. Apparently the Japanese liked big salmon for sushi but Morisons and Tescos liked them smaller. I asked him if they had a problem with sea lice. He said that due to the area being very tidal they had no problem with the sea lice. At the heritage center we met the three women who were at the community center and had a chat with them. It was good to get inside the heritage center as the wind was a bit keen. After our cup of tea there we headed back to the pier to catch the ferry back to Kirkwall.

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22.06.21 - Kirkwall to North Ronaldsay

map linkIt was a beautiful sunny day The ferry left Kirkwall at 1.30pm and we had good views as we headed up the Wide firth. We stopped at Papa Westray to offload some passengers and they used a derrick crane to offload the cars and a variety of pallets. They were incredibly efficient at it, initially craning over a forklift first so that they could move the pallets about on the quay. We arrived at North Ronaldsay just after 5.00pm. Just as we cycled out of the ferry pier we saw Nouster Bay with its lovely white sandy beach. It had a rocky west shore just below the road we were on and we spotted some seals lying in the water by the rocks scratching themselves and basking in the sunshine. It was a short ride around to the bird observatory and we got ourselves booked in and the lassie showed us where we could camp. Whilst we were putting up the tent there was a Skylark calling in the sky above the field next to us and an Oyster catcher sat close to us on the field wall. We were going to go for a cycle ride after our evening meal but after the lovely warm afternoon a cold wind had arrived so we abandoned the idea.

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23.06.21 - North Ronaldsay

map linkIt was a bit overcast as we sat in the Bird Observatory having our breakfast and there was a fresh south westerly breeze. At least it wasn't raining. With the south westerly breeze we had the wind behind us and it was good cycling up the island. The meadows either side of the road were full of birds mainly Curlews, Oystercatchers, Lapwings and Meadow pipits. As we passed the airport there was a Curlew that kept circling us and settled on a fence post which gave us a good photo opportunity. At Leven we stopped at the little cafe and had a drink and a snack. We then cycled up towards the lighthouse and left the bikes by a wall near Dennis loch. The weather was improving and we had a lovely walk around exploring the old stone walled Cabbage Crues on Sinsoss Point. Where we saw several Fulmars and some nesting Wheatears as we spotted one with a beak full of flies.

Along the rocky shore there was a flock of the famous North Ronaldsay sheep. Near the lighthouse we had a look at the foghorn and we got dive bombed by loads of terns. After a good look at the wonderful lighthouse we headed back south towards the Bird Observatory passing typical stone North Ronaldsay buildings with their stone clad roofs and had to stop to allow a herd of cattle to pass by. We stopped to have a look at the Stane Stone which is a 13 ft high standing stone which has been suggested that it is a solitary monolith which was once an outlier for a stone circle that may have stood around the Torness area of the island. The lovely sunny afternoon had obviously warmed the water as there was mist rising from the Loch Gretchen which was close to the stone. After visiting that we headed back to the Bird Observatory for a well earned evening meal musing on what a cracking day we had had on North Ronaldsay.

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24.06.21 - North Ronaldsay

map linkWe woke up to rain which continued after our breakfast in the Bird Observatory. It continued until about mid day when it stopped. We then decided to go for a ride and a walk to have a look at the Burrian broch at Stromness Point. When we reached the sea wall that kept the sheep on the shoreline we left our bikes and headed out on foot. There was a herd of Llamas in the field to our right as we walked up the foreshore. I nearly stood on a Fulmar which was just tucked into the rock wall. I was quite surprised that it didn't fly off and grateful that it didn't turn on me as they are known to squirt stinky vomit from their crops if threatened. When we reached the broch it was like so many in Scotland only the lower part remained as most were robbed of their stone to make walls and houses. There was a good flock of the North Ronaldsay sheep feeding on a bit of pasture where the wall had fallen down and a temporary fence had been put into position. Apparently they were appointing a warden to maintain the stone wall to keep the sheep on the shoreline. After the brooch we had intended to try and make a circular walk of it back to the bikes but the weather looked threatened so we retraced our steps back to the bikes and headed back to the Bird Observatory which was the best move as as we approached the Bird Observatory the heavens opened.

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25.06.21 - North Ronaldsay to Rousay

map linkIt had been a bit of a lively night with the wind but we both had slept quite well considering the wind. We woke to a bit of a shower and as the wind hadn't abated we packed up most of the things in the tent and at 8.00am headed to the Bird Observatory for our breakfast. As we were just finishing our breakfast we saw a ferry coming in from the other side of Sanday. Panic stations as we weren't expecting it until 11.00am. They must have reverted to their original schedule. We left our tea and I quickly found Alex and paid our bill. While Frank went down to start packing the tent. Well that must have been the quickest pack ever. We could see that the ferry had docked but fortunately they were still off loading cargo. A quick de-pitch of the tent and with the last few panniers on the bikes we were off to the ferry pier which fortunately wasn't very far away. The first part of the crossing was very lively with the strong north westerly breeze and it wasn't until we got to the Lacy sound did things begin to calm down. I as usual had stayed on deck and was OK, but Frank was inside to keep warm. Unfortunately the rough conditions got the better of her, fortunately she was quite close to the toilets.

We got into Kirkwall just after 11.40am and went into the town to find a cafe for lunch. After our lunch we headed off to Tingwall stopping at the Coop to get some supplies. The road to Finstown wasn't too bad as we had a cross wind and the road twists a bit so we got a bit of a break from the cross wind. At Finstown we stopped at the public toilets and got chatting to John who runs Orkney trike tours on his Boom trike. As we left the A965 and took the A966 to Tingwall we turned into the wind. Unfortunately this is a straight road for 8 miles and we cycled it in a 24mph head wind. It was to say the least a grind as there were several hills and on the downhill sections you still had to pedal hard to keep our speed. We called it the 'Long and grinding road '. Eventually we reached Tingwall and rode down to the ferry. The crossing to Rousay was smooth and the ride up to the hostel was a bit of a pull as we remembered it from the last time. The hostel warden met us and showed us where we could camp and the cottage facilities that we could use as the hostel was being used by another family as she was trying to keep it all Covid safe which was brilliant of her.

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26.06.21 - Rousay to Birsay

map linkWe had had great nights sleep and woke to a bright morning. There were lovely orchids growing in the hostel lawn. We got chatting to the family who were using the hostel and they were Tim and Laura who are very experienced cycle tourers and organised the UK Cycletouring Festival. Fortunately having climbed up to the hostel yesterday it was good to have a downhill ride to the ferry. Consequently there was a ride out of the Tingwall ferry terminal but fortunately the wind from the day before had dropped. It was a lovely ride through meadows to pick up the A966. We stopped at Evie to pick up something for lunch. It is a lovely ride along this road with good views over to Rousay with Eynhallow in the foreground. Fortunately there didn't seem to be much traffic and what there was was very courteous. After Costa (the place not the chain of cafes) the A966 turned inland and skirted the north side of the lovely Loch of Swannay. From there the road then climbed up to a right-hand bend and the junction with the road that runs down to the famous village of Twatt. Yes even the sign there is a tourist attraction! From there it was a good run down to Birsay where we could see the Brough of Birsay in the distance.

It didn't take long before we were cycling along the little road along the shore to the Brough of Birsay and left our bikes at tha car park. Fortunately the tide was out and we walked across the causeway to the delightful island. At the end of the causeway as you get on to the island there is the ancient remains of Norse and Picted settlements and the remains of the church of St Martin's. We then walked up the machair which was covered in lovely wildflowers, mainly Spring Squil and Saxifrage to the lovely little lighthouse on top of the cliffs where we had great fun walking along looking at the Puffins, Razorbills, Oystercatchers and Fulmars. On our return to the bikes we cycled into Birsay and stopped to have a look at the Earl's Palace which is a ruined 16th century castle. As we were coming out there was a screech of brakes and a toot and it was the lady who had camped in her car at the Bird Observatory on North Ronaldsay. After a long chat with her we headed around to the campsite which is next to the community center where we met up with Laura and Tim with their two children. After our evening meal we went for a walk along the road that runs past the campsite and were treated to an amazing sunset over the Brough of Birsay.

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27.06.21 - Birsay to Stromness

map linkWe had a good night's sleep and after another chat with Laura and Tim we left for Stromness. We decided to take the back roads headed up the B9056 and passed the Kitchener memorial on the hill cliff to our right. Stopped at the Loons RSPB reserve at the Loch of Isbister to have a look at what birds might be about but there wasn't much about apart from a few Greylag Geese and a rather damp z little grebe. From there headed for the village of Twatt and turned down the A967. Although it is an A road there wasn't too much traffic and being fairly flat we were soon at the turn off for the B9055 and headed down that to have a look at the Ring of Brodgar stone circle. The last time we were there the weather wasn't very good so it was nice to see it in better conditions.

After our look around the Ring of Brodgar we headed for the Ness of Brodgar but unfortunately they hadn't started to open up the archaeological dig which was a shame as we would have liked to have seen what more that they had discovered. A bit further down the B9055 we stopped to have another look at the Stones of Stenness and the Barnhouse village before heading off towards Stromness. We stopped at Stennes at Sutherlands garage shop to buy some lunch and did our usual trick of getting out of the wind by brewing up at the bus shelter next door. From Stennes it wasn't too far to Stromness. When we got to Stromness we didn't make the mistake of following the campsite signs which take you up around the hill above the town but took the main street through the town which is much flatter. On getting to the campsite there was a list on the amenities block showing were our pitch was. It was a good thing that we had booked as we had got the last pitch. As it was our last night on Orkney we had booked a table at the Ferry Inn and had a lovely meal.

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28.06.21 - Stromness to Stirling

We got to the ferry terminal in good time and it was quite fun watching the ferry coming into the dock and then watching the bow doors opening. It reminded us of a scene from Star wars as the ferry crew came out of the ferry in while boiler suits. It was sad leaving Stromness in lovely sunshine and the crossing was quite calm. We had a good view of the Old Man of Hoy as we passed by it. On docking at Scrabster we were as usual the last to get off the ferry after the cars. We had arranged for a taxi to be at the ferry terminal to take one of us to Gills Bay to pick up our car. Frank elected to stay with the bikes. An hour and ten minutes later I was back to pick her up and load the bikes. We had a good ride down to our B&B just south of Stirling where later on in the evening we were treated to another lovely sunset.

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29.06.21 - Stirling to Home

There was one thing that we had been wanting to see for a while and that was the Falkirk Kelpies. These are wonderful stainless steel sculptures of two Horse heads. They were designed by the sculptor Andy Scott and stand 100 foot high and weigh 300 tonnes each. It was a beautiful sunny morning and they looked wonderful and magnificent. It was just a shame that they weren't doing the guided tours but that was due to Covid restrictions.

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The End..