Thursday, 19 July 2012


Orkney is one of my favourite places and no more so than when on holiday enjoying the beautiful northern latitude lighting in summer.

Mairi, John and the children and Iain and I spent the first week of our 2 week holiday in Orkney at Cantickhead Lighthouse on the south-east tip of Hoy.  The map below the lighthouse photo indicates the location.

It faces the Pentland Firth (the body of water on the north coast of Scotland) and like all the lighthouses in Scotland is unmanned.  There were 2 lighthouse-keepers cottages for holiday let and so, with the help of the internet, I booked one for a week.  I have decided in my old age to be like the long-haul pilots who retire to fly a desk; I want to sail a lighthouse.  By that I mean I want to be on the sea but warm and dry and firmly anchored at night!

 John and Mairi with Ishie (5) and Alastair (4)

 Morning coffee looking out over the perimeter wall to the sea with its birds, porpoises and occasional fishing boat going by.  Photo: John

On our last evening there Iain got out his pipes and was a huge hit with the owners, Nadia and Tom, as well as Belgian visitors in the other cottage.


Left: Mairi and the Belgian ladies enjoying a glass of wine; Iain in the background and the children and I jigging it up on the big H of the helicopter pad.   Photo: John

I took this video of Iain playing a pipe march.  All of this is done on my iPhone ... amazing!

 This sundial on the back drying green has the inscription " Our Time to Stand and Stare". 

John was out at 1 am taking photos.  This shows the wonderful evening light looking north over Scapa Flow.

We all agreed that we would go back again!   We were very impressed with the facilities. There was a separate, very tidy, laundry room and a special facility, "the parrafin room" which Nadia had filled with children's bucket and spades, games, books, videos (even!), outdoor chairs and bikes. There is a general store at Longhope for supplies and petrol.  Access to Hoy can be done by car ferry from Houton to Lyness.

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