Oliver and Nicola visit

Tradition is if you place a stone here you will come back.
Oliver considers the water far too cold!
A wet cuddle from Nicola
On the way to the Brough
Ring of Brodgar

My youngest son, Oliver and my daughter-in-law Nicola have come to stay with us for a couple of weeks. They arrived by plane, unfortunately because of the turbulence Nicola did not have a good time, she was sick on both flights and arrived looking very green and subdued, for those who know the very excitable and lively Nicola this was quite a worry. However after a gentle drive back from the airport and a little lie down she started to feel much better.

Although Oliver has been to Orkney twice before on holiday with Anna and myself, for Nicola this was her first time on the Island and she was really looking forward to it. The weather has been in this first week has been fantastic with bright sunshine and very little if any wind (although this can bring the midges out) the temperatures have been around 18 – 20 deg C not I know as much as the heatwave that they had ‘dan sarf’ but very welcome here.

We have done masses of walking, Nicola has swum in the Atlantic ocean at Waulkmill Bay, the water is a fairly steady temperature as it is feed from the gulf stream but that temperature is according to Oliver who did go a short way in ‘F***ing Cold!’.

We have explored Neolithic tombs, stone circles, Skara Brae, clambered down cliffs, been seal spotting and a pile of other experiences. Oliver and Nicola seem to be enjoying themselves and are sleeping very well, we don’t often get started much before mid-day!

Yesterday we went on one of the free tours by the Scottish Heritage Rangers around Brodgar. Elaine was our guide and although I have been on these tours many times before there is always something new to be discovered. We sent a couple of hours at the Ring of Brodgar and then had our daily picnic, instead of on a beach, this time in the Neolithic village of Barnhouse.

We have also visited the Italian chapel and Nicola and Oliver fed some lambs at Catherine Corsie’s farm, we finished up the day quickly popping in to the Scapa distillery just before they closed, but Oliver still got a tasting in! On the drive back we all stopped off at Wideford Hill, one of the highest points on the island which you can drive up and from there get amazing ( but windy ) views of all the islands.

Anna is excelling herself on the catering front and also produced for the first time a batch of brioche buns one on which I am eating for breakfast as I type this.

Today we are heading into Kirkwall to show them the poppy display at the cathedral and to get some retail therapy, Nicola is very interested in the jewellery made on the island.