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Kitchener Picnic

It was a particularly fine Orkney day and extraordinarily windless. Time for a walk into the sky... have a picnic by the Kitchener Memorial, the glorious tower erected by the people of Orkney to commemorate the loss of HMS Hampshire and all but 12 hands (737 out of 749) in June 1916 as she carried Lord Kitchener to Russia for a war conference.

Since it was just me and Olena, our Ukrainian refugee, on the walk, the tower decided to garb itself in the colours of the Ukrainian flag for the occasion. This is how it looked glancing left as we walked up the path to the fearsome clifftop.

The weather being so fine and gentle, the cliff did not feel as fearsome as usual.

But it's still frightening to stand near the edge (never close than one's body length is the recommendation and we stuck to it, even if it does not look like it).

The rabbits that teem at the Memorial definitely do not follow that prescription.

We had our picnic by the foot of the tower – a Cornish pasty from the other end of Britain washed down with a paper cup of local beer, this time a new session ale (i.e. not strong, only 3.8º) from the Swannay Brewery, makers of some extremely fine, prize-winning beers. This one, which I had not tasted before, was called Merry Dancer, which is what the Northern lights are called in Orkney.

The clifftop fields, of course, are home to rather more important beasts that just rabbits. This fine bull kept walking towards me, curious like all bovines are, as I tried to photograph him.

Does having a beautiful view make for more wonderful meat?

One can just see the tip of the Old Man of Hoy peaking out from behind a distant cliff on the horizon here.

We ate our meal and basked in the sun with this view...

...with the memorial towering behind us

...before walking back down the pathway to heaven we had climbed up on our way to the memorial. It was time to make our way back to collect little Athina from school (actually, en route, we discovered we had lingered too long and were late, so we phoned Arthur to perform the task).

That's all folks! Except for a little youngster bunny we passed on the way.

[Technical note: all photos taken with Leica APO-Summicron 90mm lens]

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All lovely photos, as usual. The rabbits' much shorter body length allows them to get much closer to the cliff edge. As for me, I think 5 body lengths is close enough.

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