...though perhaps not when the gales make the windows flex!
It's more than a year now since I first discovered Sian’s blog and began to read about her life on the Orkney island of Graemsay. I was immediately entranced by the setting and her lovely photographs and descriptions of life in this beautiful, remote and windswept place. It certainly never occurred to me, even in my wildest dreams, that I would one day visit her on her tiny island, with its 27 inhabitants, set in the treacherous waters between the much bigger islands of Mainland and Hoy.
Yet that is just what happened last week as my birthday treat, when on Thursday DH deposited me at the harbour in Scrabster and stayed safely on shore to film my departure on the MV Hamnavoe for my rather lively crossing to the picturesque little port of Stromness.
|A bit rough....|
|View to Stromness with ferry just leaving again|
|The main street of Stromness!|
After a welcome cup of tea we caught the much smaller ferry across to Graemsay, and it being 4pm, found ourselves on the school bus crossing, surrounded by the handful of youngsters who call this tiny island home. Fifteen minutes later we were helped ashore from the tossing ferry and
Sian drove me the short distance to her house, wonderfully situated on the shore near the Hoy High lighthouse.
|Sian's house by the sea (copyright Sian Thomas)|
Sian was making our evening meal, I took my camera and went outside to wander round her domain, with its walled garden and glorious views out to sea and across to the hills of Hoy and the huddled buildings of Stromness.
|The house from the walled garden|
|The view beyond the wall|
|Oh, those nosy neighbours....|
|The hills of Hoy, but alas, no seals....|
After supper we went out to explore the island, which is about 2 miles long by 1.5 miles wide, with 12 inhabited houses and not much more than 2 miles of properly surfaced road. After driving across to the Hoy-facing shore to see the old church, now a farmer’s barn, and then past the former school and school-house,
Sian took me to meet another blogger - yes, two bloggers on the same small island!
|The 'auld kirk' on the shore of Burra Sound|
|The old school and school-house (copyright Sian Thomas)|
Irene was the very last head-teacher of the tiny school on Graemsay. When she took up the post in the early 1980s, the school had 3 pupils. Over the years the number fluctuated, but when it eventually fell to just one, the school was closed in 1996 and Irene and her husband stayed on in retirement on the island they had come to love.
We eventually tore ourselves away from her fascinating reminiscences and went home, where - guess what - we stayed up talking until almost midnight, before heading off to bed, because tomorrow would be another day…
|Hoy High lighthouse in the setting sun|
|The end of a wonderful day|