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Photographs of Hoy

Photographs of Hoy taken in March 2019, on a bicycle trip to Rackwick. Although the weather was mild for the time of year, there were heavy and unpredictable downpours, and it was very windy on the clifftops at Rora Head and the Old Man of Hoy.

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A view of Stromness from Cairston with the setting sun glowing behind a gap inteh clouds behind the hills of Hoy.
Setting December sun over Stromness & the Hoy hills

The great #Stromhole in the sky, fed by burning farm plastic.

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Pilgrimage to Egilsay

Pilgrimage to Egilsay

Egilsay is a small, sparsely populated island in Orkney, where the people seem to be heavily outnumbered by the horse-flies. There are a few small farms which face an uncertain future as Brexit threatens the EU farming subsidies they depend on for survival. Part of Egilsay is a protected habitat for the Corncrake, and this has also received EU funding.

It was on Egilsay that the peaceful, kind Magnus Erlendsson was murdered by his violent cousin Haakon Paulsson in a power struggle over the Earldom of Orkney. Magnus was killed around 1116AD, and canonised in 1136AD – a short turnaround for sainthood. St Magnus Church was built in his honour sometime in the 12th Century, possibly on the site of an older church. With a distinctive round tower, it is the dominant landmark on Egilsay.

An obelisk marks the site of Magnus’ execution, on a grassy sward not far from the church which was supposedly a barren landscape before his death. It is surrounded by fields of nesting birds. Signposts bearing the symbol of the St. Magnus Way mark access. The majority of pilgrims have four legs.

Further reading:

Threat to Scottish Farming as the UK Government is Set to Take Back Control, via the Orkney News

The St. Magnus way website

Selected photo prints are for sale. Visit the online store here:

Loch Lomond in December

Loch Lomond in December

These photos were taken around sunrise on two consecutive mornings on Loch Lomond. Both days were calm and relatively clear, but cold and frosty.


Dark light at the Broch of Gurness

The following photos were taken at the Broch of Gurness in Evie, in the West Mainland of Orkney. It was a clear starry night and there was faint aurora borealis visible to the North behind Rousay. The aurora appears stronger in camera than it did to the human eye.

The photos are all long exposures, variously trying to capture the dim Northern Lights, the stars, and light created by people with torches.

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age village dating from before 200BC. The main feature would have been a circular tower, which is ringed by ditches and other buildings. It has been in ruins for centuries, and has probably not been occupied since the 5th Century AD.

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A pair of white horses walking towards the camera in a field while the road recedes into the mist.

White horses in the mist

White Horses in the mist
A pair of white horses seen in Deerness.

White horses seen in unusually thick fog on a May morning in Deerness, Orkney. Perhaps the horses are sad that they don’t have much of a practical purpose in the modern world. Or because they are not unicorns.

I didn’t notice the creepy figure in the background at the time!