Our new (second-hand) car arrived last night. We bought it from a Peugeot dealer in Sheffield and had it delivered. Getting to Sheffield to collect it and drive it back would have been a hassle and also have involved at least one overnight stay, so the luxury of having the car brought to our door was not that great. It probably cost just £200 more than going to fetch it.
The delivery driver was a charmer. We had spoken together before he did the drive and he seemed so nice we decided to put him up in the Garden Flat rather than leave him the trouble of finding a bed and breakfast. And we invited him to supper.
He was very interesting. Retired in his early fifties (had enough of running his own 250-employee business) but then discovered he could not stand doing nothing. So now he drives all over the country delivering cars. After his delivery to us, he needed to make his way to Edinburgh, there to pick up a Bentley and drive it to Heathrow.
So he arrived in St Margaret's Hope on the evening ferry (7:45pm), and we sat down immediately to a cheerful supper with lots of wine and chat. Then bed, as we needed to have coffee for breakfast at 6:30am after which I drove him (first drive in the car) the 800 metres to the morning Pentalina, for which check-in is 7am). He did not get to see much of Orkney; it was dark when he arrived and dark when he left. We told him he was welcome to spend a second night here and we would take round the island to see the sights, but he had his next job to get to.
So it was only after he had left that we got to drive the car. It was a very fine winter's day and we did a few things in Kirkwall and then decided to drive to one of our favourite viewpoints.
Here is the car, on its baptismal photo at the top of Wideford Hill (Kirkwall down below). It's a spot we often choose for a quick picnic lunch.
The day was incredibly bright, even with the winter sun low in the sky. This is a great time of year for photography – it's golden hour all day, with the sun is low in the sky and the light rich, making for intense colours.
As it happens, we were up on Wideford Hill (226m above sea level and highest point on Mainaland) around solar noon, but even then, as the chart above shows, the sun was at the low angle of 10º above the horizon. That's 59ºN for you!
So I took some more photos of some of my favourite views. As so often in Orkney, all the shots look like bloody postcards! Looking a little North of West, there was this:
I love those two little islands in the bay (Bay of Firth) where Finstown lies. The islet closest to shore is called Holm of Grimbister has a single farmstead on it. I think the owners can drive across at low tide and have to use a boat at other times if they need to nip into town for some milk. The larger island is called Damsay and is uninhabited, though I seem to remember seing sheep/cattle on it.
I took another shot of the this view because it was so nice
Looking North, there was this:
That's the island of Shapinsay, which we have not yet visited. It's a sort of outskirts of Kirkwall. For example, our account manager at the bank in Kirkwall lives there and come to work on the little ferry every day. Imagine commuting by ferry! On the right, of course is the thing that gives is our mobile telephony.
And this is the view to the Southwest
The hills in the far distance are Knap of Trowieglen (399m) and Ward Hill (481m) on Hoy. The island is often capped by white clouds.
In order to take the photos, I did not have to walk more than 25 metres. Gosh, how lazy I am!