During her stay on the island, Karen discovered the delights of Gerry’s Ice Cream Parlour and did get to experience some nicer weather. We even got to do some book work with her. On her last day here was the first Viking torchlight procession and boat burning in Stromness as part of Stromness Shopping week. This turned out to be a very popular event with the streets lined with people most of whom had bought their £10 torch from the Clan charity. The Vikings arrived in the harbour on the bridge of the main ferry and looked resplendent in their costumes. Once they had disembarked and gathered themselves the boat was pulled along the main street followed by all the Vikings with their large torches lit. As they passed each of us lining the route they lit our torches and we joined in the procession. See the photos on Anna’s Flickr page here.
We moved slowly up the high street of Stromness with the old buildings towering over us in the narrow cobbled and paved street. Stromness is a very traditional looking fishing town of the 18 – 19th century. The high street is quite a length and as the boat burning was to happen right at the end on a spit of land next to the camping park we were walking for some time. Thankfully the wind had died down and anyway we were mainly shielded by the buildings so were not cold. Half way into the procession a group of Norwegians behind us starting singing old Viking songs. These songs had more the sound of a quiet hymn rather than a battle song and the effect was to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up! It was quite a ‘moment’.
We eventually got to where the boat ( a half sized model of a Viking long ship ) was well alight, we had managed to avoid setting light to any of the people around us, although a guy nearly backed into my torch. Thankfully Anna spotted what was happening in time. I am still trying to get the spilt wax off my coat, but all this was a small price to pay for a great experience and the Cancer charity raised several thousand pounds to boot!
The next day, Friday, Karen left us and after catching the ferry drove down to Pitlocry to stay at Westlands hotel, one of our favourite places. As it was Friday night it was ‘beer o’clock’ so it was off to the Flattie bar for us. However as another part of Stromness Shopping week there was a three-legged Fancy Dress beer crawl! So Anna took her camera along and you can see the results on her Flickr page. I got my beer and then we went home for a bite to eat and relax to get ready for the weekend.