Before you move to Orkney the locals will tell you that you have to survive at least two winters here before they consider that you are a ‘stayer’. Apparently many who make the move head back, unable to stand the long dark nights, the ferocious storms and the fact that almost everything shuts for the winter. Well this is our second winter….
The lack of sunlight can be an issue for many, particularly if you like us work indoors. Going to work in the dark and coming back in the dark can get some down, and when I say dark, I mean very dark. Where we live there are no street lights for at least 5 miles until you get to Stromness. We have had many a delivery guy or visitor who although are sure they know where we are, have got lost coming out here in the evening!
This lack of sunlight can also men that your body does not get enough vitamin D and this can result in depression and a condition called SAD ( Seasonal Affected Disorder ). This is not limited to these far norther isles but can apparently affect anyone living in Northern Europe, but the chances are greater the further north you live. We have had a special light called a SAD lamp for some years now as we find it helped even when we lived in Suffolk. It only needs to be on for an hour in the mornings and is a worthwhile purchase. We have recommended one to some friends who have moved here and are feeling a bit of the ‘winter blues’.
The storms are quite an experience, you normally get plenty of notice so have time to go out to put things like wheelie bins away and to make sure other outside items and pets are tied down! Our two cats unsurprisingly do not like the high winds and stay indoors sleeping all day ( not much change there ) . One of the first times Nimbus went out in some high winds to relieve himself he judged the direction of the wind incorrectly and experienced what could only be called ‘blow back’ ! He was not impressed!
But it is incorrect to think that it is all bad weather in the winter here, I am writing this in the middle of Storm Gertrude with 80 – 90 mph winds here and a Red weather warning for Shetland and whilst it has been pretty wild today, the skies have now cleared and the sun is shining. We shan’t be going outside though as that wind is still fierce and being hit by a piece of wind borne detritus at 70mph is no fun! It is just a case of being sensible and staying indoors until the storm has passed, and then we will dash out to get some photos of the stormy seas if we can!