Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Day ten of my Shetland & Orkney trip for Speyside Wildlife with fellow guide Ray Nowicki.
Guests: Liz, Chris, Joan, June, Daphne & David , Mary & John , Margaret & Terry.  
Our last day on the beautiful islands of Orkney, and true to form this week, another overcast one. After breakfast we head into Kirkwall and spend a relaxing couple of hours enjoying the distinctive Orcadian jewellery of Okran, Ola Gorie and in particular, Sheila Fleet, whose studio workshop we visit after the town. At the studio we get to see how they enamel the jewellery which is applied in liquid form using a quill.
After many of us have succumbed to the delights of Orcadian jewellery, we go to find a lunchtime picnic spot. On route we come across another Short-eared Owl hunting the rough grassland of the airfield. The owls of Orkney are surely to be one of the everlasting memories of the holiday. We arrive at the Taing of Clett where we have our lunch. Some go for a short stroll around the bay before the inevitable – transfer to the airport. At the airport we check-in our hold luggage and while enjoying a cuppa, we hear an announcement: “can passenger Liz Holder come to the luggage reconciliation office please”. Oh no! What has Liz done? Off she trots and within a few minutes she is walking back towards us to much ribbing about what the airport authorities had found in her luggage. Then comes another announcement rings out: “can passenger Steve Dudley come to the luggage reconciliation office please”. Cue laughter!
The mood is sombre as we face the journey home. Postcards are written and posted and we go through the final holiday rituals. For Orkney, Short-eared Owl is voted as species of the trip, Skara Brae as the place of the trip and Chris’s Mid Howe hat episode (sorry Chris!). But for the trip as a whole, Shetland sweeps the boards, with Storm Petrel (species), Noss (place) and Mousa (magic moment) taking the honours. When asked who preferred Shetland over Orkney, it was 11 votes to Steve’s (always different!) one.
We take the short flight to Inverness where we bid each other farewell and safe journeys.

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