I have no known ancestral ties to Orkney. DNA has not placed me in Orkney. And yet it calls to me. I first visited Orkney last spring and fell in love with the island, the gentleness of the way of live, the incredible history and the warm hospitality of the Orcadians.
I had the chance to return this past week to accompany someone with ancestral ties and it was an amazing experience for her as she still has several living relatives here that she was able to meet and spend time with.
We stayed at the Ferry Inn. Busy, relaxed and very much a home away from home. We managed to visit the tourist spots - Skara Brae, Skaill House, Ring of Brodgar and Maeshowe. We ventured to Hoy to see the Naval Base museum, briefly popped into the Scapa Distillery and enjoyed knowing that Lynne's ancestors lived, worked, walked and worshiped here. And that her family still lives here.
Our last night was spent on the Ferry. Northlink Ferries has a B&B that allows you to stay on the ship while it is berthed in harbour. The ride back to mainland Scotland was rocky but much smoother compared to our sickening ride over.
Friday was our day to travel back to Edinburgh. And we all admitted how sad it was to have to leave Orkney. Edinburgh and Stromness really are worlds apart. In every sense.
On our way through Inverness, we stopped to see the Clava Cairns - their time frame lines up nicely with the neolithic parts of Orkney.
We stopped for lunch at the visitor centre at Culloden and took a quick wee look at the battlefield. It was less than a flying visit - a place to return to when time allows.
It was a long drive back to Edinburgh. Although we were happy to be here, we were sad to not be in Orkney. And knowing that our time together is coming to an end added to the sadness. However, we still have lots to pack in, so roll on tomorrow!