Aurora and Eclipse

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Well it has been quite a week up here. First we had a couple of nights of good displays of the Northern lights. The second night was the best with the ‘dancers’ putting on quite a display at about 8 pm but after that the fog rolled in and obscured everything. We tried driving out to another venue but the fog was so dense that we could not see the sides of the road so we turned back. But we did get a couple of half decent photos.

Friday was day of the eclipse and if the cloud gods were willing we should be able to see an almost totality this far north, The day did not start off well, we got up to cloudy sky and rain but it did not deter us form our plan to drive out the three miles to the Ring of Brodgar to experience the eclipse there with a number of others that no doubt would be turning up along with BBC Radio Orkney and possibly  the One Show. Even if it was not going to clear I might get some fun photos of the people there. Click here to see the PHOTOS

When we arrived at the car park there were less people that we had expected and so we easily parked. The first people we met were our friends Sandra and Elaine the Historical Scotland Rangers whose job it is to show people around the World Heritage sites here. They are a great couple of girls and always cheerful and good for a laugh and a joke. We first met them at the inaugural meeting when their job was set up and every holiday we would ‘bump’ into them for a chat and a joke.

They were chatting to the guy from the BBC who was also going to interview a couple of American who were holidaying in Paris and thought they would ‘pop’ up to Orkney to see the eclipse!

The rain had stopped and the clouds had started to break up a bit. We all walked up to the Ring and picked our spot to watch the movement of the moon across the Sun. The day before I went looking in the workshop amongst all the boxes that we packed up to find the pair of paper glasses I had from the 1999 eclipse, and I found them ! Anna was very impressed! I meant that we were able to have a good look and we shared these glasses with one or two others.

As the eclipse got near totality the cloud cover was such that you could see the event without glasses and that is how I managed to take the photo which I am rather proud of. I was standing the the henge ( the ditch part ) looking up at one of the larger stones at the Eclipse. The photo was used by Radio Orkney and shared across Facebook, a lot of people were very kind about it and seemed to like it as I did.

At totality the clouds had obscured things but we were able to experience the strange light an the sudden wind that occurred. It is true that the birds stop singing and even a particularly yappy dog shut up for a while. It all went quiet and everyone experienced the moment in their own ways, it was quite a moment and we were very glad we made the effort.

The eclipse appeared through the clouds again and the blue skies started to appear as we took a last few photos and took our frozen selves back to the car, looking forward to a warming coffee back home.

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