Isle of Shapinsay

Finally, my last Orkney post! I can not deny that Orkney left a mark on my heart…

Sincerely, Shapinsay was the small Orcadian islands that less impress me, is not a wild land as Hoy or Westray’s, and it hasn’t an abrupt relief. However, two things impress me: the extremely peace and beauty of Balfour (the main settlement) and the brightness of its grasslands and crops.

Awesome house at Balfour

Awesome buildings at Balfour

Crops, grasslands and the Mill Dam RSPB Reserve

Crops, grasslands and the Mill Dam RSPB Reserve

However, as I said previously what more impressed me of Shapinsay was the loneliness, but it wasn’t a terrifying, disturbing solitude like in Hoy, it was a peace and calm solitude with the sounds of the gees overhead, of a tractor in a crop, of the water splashing by the seals, of the slow activity in Balfour…

Loneliness

Loneliness

Gees

Gees

Bye Orkney! I hope I might visit you soon and know all about you, your history, all your secret corners and enjoy the kindness of your people!

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Orkney Islands (Scotland)

Only a few days ago, I’ve been so lucky to stay a couple of weeks in one of these places that I’ve in my personal-remote places-agenda, the Orkney Islands.

Orkney are an 70 islands archipelago (only 20 inhabited) situated at the NE of mainland Scotland, accessible by boat from Aberdeen or Thurso, or flying from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen or Inverness.

I chose the 6 and a half hour boat from Aberdeen to Kirkwall, and it was really fairy. I spent maybe halfway into the deck, seeing the clear firmament and feeling the North Sea vacuum. When I arrived (although it was 23:30) I felt the desolation and peace that characterise these islands, and of course, the extreme kindness of its people.

I established my base-camp in Kirkwall, the main town of Orkney with a population of 7000 inhabitants. I slept in a really awesome hostel, The Orcades Hostel (http://www.orcadeshostel.com), extremely fair and comfortable, with such a helpful stuff.

In Kirkwall you can find most services you might need, such as supermarkets (Lidl, Tesco & Scotmid Cooperative), hotels, bar, a couple of pubs, a swimming pool, etc. The centre of the town keeps up 1 main street with shops, finished by St. Magnus Cathedral.

The other large town of Orkney is Stromness (2000 inhabitants), accessible from Kirkwall with a 35 min. bus route. In my opinion Stromness is most beautiful than Kirkwall: this preserves lovely streets with stone-made houses combined with a special charm.

But, if you are looking for the Orkney core, you’ll have to visit the small Islands… Daily there are ferry connections between Kirkwall and Stromness to the other islands. I’ve came over Isle of Hoy, Isle of Shapinsay, Isle of Westray and Isle of Papa Westray (also known as Papay), and trust me, I NEVER HAD FELT THIS LONELY IN MY WHOLE LIFE (above all in Hoy, Papa and Papay).

Due to the large extension of the story, I’ll publish two posts talking about these small islands.

And to get an idea, I’ll let one video (in the next posts I’ll upload videos of myself). Enjoy it!