Posted by: brendaintheboro | August 13, 2017

August or Autumn

I have to say, what summer we have had is passing very fast. This week felt very autumnal with wind and rain for quite a bit of the time. Tuesday was so wet I didn’t even cycle!!

Still I have been out and when we cycled through the park I saw the goslings which are now almost fully grown. Such a short time to turn from little fluffy things to this.


One of the highlights of the early morning was standing by the side of the river watching a seal eat a large fish. It wrestled with it as it must have been 18 inches long. The one morning I didn’t have my camera too. I got a shot on the phone , but it isnt very good. Still I will include it for myself to remember in years to come. You can just see it in the middle of the shot.


The fields have ripening grains and are being harvested now and I am seeing wheat and barley.


Yesterday, we looked at the weather forecast and decided it was going to be good enough but there was a threat of heavy showers later. We set off westwards to go over to Cozy Coffee as Rosie was having a charity fundraising event for Children of Chernobyl. She was offering to donate a percentage for every milkshake sold , so we had to have one. As they say it was too wet , so we had to have cake too. I had marmalade cake and DH had ginger.

We then rode along through Cotham Munderville  and up to the main road. The minor road has been resurfaced with chippings but they still haven’t sorted out the lumps and bumps though. Once down into Darlington, we walked through the town centre and then headed out of town through Blackwell and up to the village of  Stapelton and then continued climbing until we descended down to the turnoff for Croft. From there we road the  A167 through Dalton on Tees and along to the Great Smeaton turnoff. There was one stretch that was a climb that flattened out and then got even steeper. I seemed to run out of steam/ was worried about the fast traffic so I dismounted to get on to a pavement. There was a high kerb and as it was uphill, once on the pavement I couldn’t start again, so walked until it flattened out and could ride again. Let me say again, there is no shame in walking.

We stopped and ate again under the shade of a tree but I had seen the clouds building to the east, the way home. You could see it was hammering down over there. Nothing for it to see how far we would get. Once in Appleton Wiske, it became chilly and we stopped at Worsell corner as DH wanted to know if we should put waterproofs on then or later. As I was damp with sweat anyway we decided to wait. As we approached Kirkleveington, water was streaming down the road , but no rain in the air. On the way down into Yarm, there were lots of deep puddles and so we jacketed up then because of the spray. At one time the sun began to shine and I thought it was past. Not so. Down near Thornaby, the constant rain began to come down steadily , so it was a wet return home. We were lucky though as it had rained far more at home , than where we had been.

I also had time for a bit of stitching this week and used a photo I had taken while cycling over to Clitheroe earlier this year. The field was full of buttercups not oilseed rape. it was along the road to Appletreewick.P1000676


Mileage for the week 95.4  YTD 2290.5 miles

Posted by: brendaintheboro | August 6, 2017

Busy Week

It has been a busy week for me work wise and I also had the opportunity to  teach 4 ladies in a quilting class ( see separate post) .  Still, I made sure I got out most mornings  but it only amounted to about  30 miles.

Still , Saturday was a reasonable day weather wise with a westerly wind predicted to be about 10 miles an hour. Packing our stuff for the day and having eggs for breakfast, we were away by 8.00am. Newport bridge is closed  on the usual side we go over, and the surface on the opposite side isnt good. So we chose to  go over the Barrage and up to Norton. This way saves the climb up Beaconsfield road . Then it was up the Cast;e Eden Walkway heading north. We saw lads unloading mountain bikes  in the carpark and they soon passed us on the track .

It seems they had a similar destination to ours  but we never saw them again. It was a beautiful morning and we continued up the rack  until we came to Shotton Colliery. The track after this deteriorates after this for a time , so we chose to ride up to South Hetton via Haswell on the road.

Once in South Hetton we rejoined NCN1 and rode up to Ryhope. There was a lovely view at the top of the rise.


Once down in the village , we took to the road to Seaham. I used to ride this way on a Honda 50 motorcycle nearly 50 years ago when I worked at Seaham Hall Hospital. taking x-rays as a radiography student. Open heart surgery was in the early days and this hospital did  some of the early heart valve replacements with a fair few dying. If it hadn’t been for those people  , we wouldn’t have the relatively safe procedures that happen now.  I was able to take a photo of the old lodge and driveway as this is now one of the most expensive hotels in the area.P1000665


We stopped in the picnic area and had second breakfast. This consists of granola and frozen blueberries and yogurt mixed at home before we set off. We find that having the eggs and then the granola  is good for us.

Setting off from the  picnic area with its Turning the Tide artwork, we cycled along into Seaham which has changed beyond recognition over the years. We saw a cycle sign leading up to South Hetton but then ended up going through Dawdon and eventually along some old worn tracks and then up near the A19 – not  a good place to cycle. Fortunately there is a place to cross if you dodge the traffic on the approach roads, and it was back to poor tracks. There are lots crossing the area we haven’t ever seen before. Then we came to a place that was broad road with no vehicles at all. There were a couple of chaps trying to sort a bikes gearing so we asked them for directions. They said to follow them. I think they may have been father and son and we ended up on the roughest ground ie. the remains of the old slag heaps so we knew we were near.

Once in South Hetton , they went down the track we had taken to Ryhope and we used the road back to Shotton where we rejoined NCN1. About now it started to rain so we donned the waterproofs we had sense to bring and headed down the Hart to Haswell track. I like this track heading south as it is essentially down hill.

We did see some paddleboards out on the sea.P1000668.JPG

I was determined to have an ice cream so once in Seaton Carew, after some sensible sustaining food, an ice cream it was. We ate under shelter while it continued to rain. It did dry up a bit but near to Saltholme Bird reserve it hammered down, and the sun was still shining!! We didn’t go into the reserve as they have had to make it more difficult to get in/out at the far end. Still it increases the mileage.

 So Saturdays mileage was 68.9mls and the  week 102.3  YTD 2195.1miles

Posted by: brendaintheboro | August 5, 2017

Teaching Quilting

This week a few from our quilt group met at Knot in Guisborough, the needlecraft workshop owned by Beryl. She allowed us free use of her premises and stayed to make us refreshments too. Beryl is a good teacher and has a lot of students in her various classes.

So , I got to be the teacher for the day. It began because out group, Pieceful Days Quilters has been set a challenge to make small wall hangings based on the houses we live in. M has an unusual 1960’s architect designed house and she wanted a way to do trees. She has seen my small quilt that I made earlier in the year and wanted to learn the technique.


I learned it from watching the Quilt Show which is a subscription internet channel. Laura Fogg an American quilter showed her most used technique of raw edge free form collage. This uses even scraps of fabric placed directly on top of wadding and then overlaid with fine tulle. Then the fun of free machine quilting can begin.

I contacted Laura and asked permission to show some of her images to my class and she graciously agreed. These are the small quilts  layered up and pinned but not stitched.

So I have some pictures to show. No one got the pieces completely finished but you can see how they came on.

Here is some stitching going on. The pink grippy stuff helps to move the quilt. This acts like the gloves. Different people like different ways. I told B that she could try with the free dogs up or down. She preferred with the feed dogs down.


I learned as well. I took it for granted that these ladies knew how to free machine quilt. Not so. One lady had been put off by having a class with a well know quilter/author who told her that until she got a better machine she would never manage it. I told her of quilters who free machine on very old Singer machines who do beautiful work.  Before starting her on the piece she had layered up , I gave her a  practice piece and she put on my quilting gloves and then she had a try. By the end of the class she was delighted and had great success.

Another quilter who produces beautiful work said she nearly always uses a walking foot and not free machining and she too went away feeling confident to proceed at home.

One lady used a card she had kept for many years as her inspiration, one used a photograph I had taken earlier this year of poppies and alliums and another used a landscape scene.




All agreed it was a worthwhile day. I had a feeling of happiness that I had passed on a skill.


Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 30, 2017


A bit philosophical for me but this week , while out cycling solo, I began one of those conversations in my head. I thought back to years ago when I used to pull myself down because I couldn’t sing like my friend Barbara, or I couldn’t bake as well as my friend Margaret. I think women in particular do this to themselves a lot of the time.

I think what brought this about was I have joined a Facebook group for larger cyclists – well it seems to be open to everyone. FLAB stands for Fat Lad At the Back and they make clothing for the larger cyclist going up to 5XL  for men. They also do ladies clothing and I have one long sleeved top and a waterproof cycling jacket. Anyway, there seems to be lots of discussions about bikes and sportives and audax rides and even some triathlons. Looking at some of the posts , I began to think “oh, I can’t ride that fast”. Guess what? I was comparing myself with others, most of who are likely to be 20 years my junior. There were others who have just taken to cycling  and they feel pleased with riding 10 – 20 miles. So the point of all this rambling is DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF WITH OTHERS.

If you want to see how you are doing, look back to last year or even 10 years ago. How are you doing?

On Tuesday evening, I took the opportunity to go out with the Stockton Flab group. They were meeting in Ingleby Barwick so I cycled across with DS1. Initially he  was only going to  take me over and then go home but the organiser asked him to join us which he did. It was only an 11 miles ride in the local Hilton and  Seamer area  but as it had rained most of the day and the sun came out. We had a lovely time. There were only 6 of us but it was good to encourage others and see how far I have come.

DSCN0003 (2)

Saturday’s weather forecast was for decent weather so DH and I set off, initially to cycle to Northallerton. Well we did our usual route up through Yarm and along to Appleton Wiske. We stopped at Worsall road end and 5 cyclists came up the bank to the corner. By the time we had finished drinking, they were ahead of us but we soon passed them. I felt so strong and was riding in higher gears than I normally use. Is it because the Koga has been well serviced? I don’t know but it felt good.

From Appleton Wiske, we headed west up through Hornby and I had got ahead of DH so was able to get these photos as he came into Hornby.


Then once in Great Smeaton , we turned right instead of left and rode along the main A  road  towards Northallerton but then turned right marked Birkby. By now, we were on new roads to us and at one point there was a train so close by , we thought it was a vehicle behind us. Then as we followed the road we came to East Cowton and turned right to ride along to North Cowton. All the time, the fine fretty rain came and went , so the rain jackets we put on and taken off multiple times.

At North Cowton , the rain came down more heavily so we decided not to go to Northallerton and headed across towards Moulton.I spotted this piece of street art/ yarn bombing and spoke to a chap. He said they are mystified about who is doing it. Well done I say.


This road to Moulton is another  we haven’t ridden on before and by the time we got there the sun came out again. We stopped  in the wonderful bus stop. Look at this .



Isnt it nice that cyclists are mentioned specifically. I love how this little community works together. They raise money for village funds by having a book and plant stall with an honesty box. Members of the community keep the shelter clean and tidy. So good.  We stopped and ate 2nd breakfast at 11.00am.


From here we rode up to Middleton Tyas and missing the turning, we ended up going up a long drag and ended up in the chaos that has ensued because of road works on the A1. So turning back, we whizzed back down the hill. We stopped to talk to a trio outside one of the houses. They said that its horrendous living there at present.

So we headed along to Barton , then down to Stapelton and in to Darlington. I didn’t stop to buy any fabric, so we headed along to Middleton St George. The track wasn’t too muddy, which surprised me, but we knew the bit along the Whinneys would be worse, so rode around the village.

We stopped in a pub restaurant and had a drink. The real reason though was that there were no facilities anywhere and my poor old knees are giving trouble if I have to squat in a field.  Probably too much information heehee!! The total distance for the day was over 62 miles.

So adding in the week’s mileage of 130.1 plus the 150 miles on holiday ,my mileage for the YTD is 2092.8 miles.


Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 23, 2017





Back in the winter 2012 , I needed to get a new bike as I had come off mine and the frame had snapped. While it had been replaced with something similar ( frames change) , I wasn’t too happy. I decided what I really wanted was a steel frame. My son was browsing the internet and came across a sale of Koga cycles down in Tadcaster.

My DH wasn’t well pleased because a. he’s a Yorkshireman and b. Tadcaster is about 1 hours drive away. He wouldn’t come with me to “look” for a new bike. He knows me very well!! So DS1 said he would come with me and off we went.

I had phoned ahead and asked if they would permit a test ride. There was no hesitation and when I got there the bike was ready and waiting and off I went. I didn’t have to ride too far to know this was the bike for me. I have to admit black isn’t a colour I would choose but then colour isn’t everything.

So began my relationship with this family run shop. Big Dave (he’s not big)  runs the shop along with his wife and son.


. He said to me , I would be back for another  for DH. We had no intention of  getting another  but his Dawes Galaxy was stolen and he also got a Koga Randonneur. Actually , he is on his 2nd as the first one was also stolen and no he isnt very careless. Dave kindly gave us a good deal on another. We also bought panniers from them too. As you can see its a well stocked shop and they do mail order too.

Eventually, we helped DS1 to buy another Koga, an F3 which he loves too. So that is 3 bikes we have from Cyclesence.

While we were away on our last trip , as I had cycled about 20,000miles on my bike I realised it was time for a major service and so arranged for it to be carried out while we were away on our Orkney trip. When we got back, we went down to collect it and I did a little test ride. I went over a speed bump and something went wrong.  It turned out that the freewheel mechanism  had broken. Dave and his son and the mechanic scoured the shop trying to see if they could find a suitable matching one but no joy. He ordered the part from Germany, as Madison the usual supplier were out of them, it came Friday morning and we collected it in the afternoon.

I am writing this because I think this is a great shop who will sell you the bike that is right for you and the aftersales service is wonderful. I wish them another 25 years at least in business. I will  likely be too old to ride by then  heehee!!


Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 22, 2017

Cycling the Orkneys – finale

Saturday 15th July 2017 was really wet.  I got washing done in the morning as 3 of us took turns to use the 2 machines. One lady wanted to hog both and had gone off back to her motorhome. I was having none of that. When she didn’t come back I removed her washing and let a young German couple with a baby use the machine. Mrs Canadian didn’t like it at all and said she had been there first. As I pointed out she had gone away and left her stuff. Well, I calmed her down and we got along Ok as the washing got dried and done. She even gave me some drier sheets.

It poured down the whole day and was a bit windy. DH didn’t venture out but stayed in the tent while I donned full waterproofs and walked into Kirkwall.

First I visited the Orkney museum near the Town Hall and had a mooch around there but it didn’t hold my interest as much as the other museums I had seen. Then I went into a craft exhibition and had a real good mooch there and talked to some really interesting craftswomen who are as interested in textiles as myself. They have a great group that work together to keep the stalls manned throughout the summer allowing them to sell what they make. I bought a couple of cards that I thought might be an inspiration for some quilting, only time will tell.

I then tracked down a shop I had been into previously run by a lady called Annie Glue   who machine knits beautiful cardigans, jumpers , hats and scarves in beautiful merino yarns. I wanted to know the name of the yarn as she buys it from an Italian company. Maybe my knitting machine will be brought out once more.

We sat in the lounge in the evening chatting to a couple of German cyclists and a lovely young archaeologist who is working for her masters  while raising her son and working part time in a school. It made for entertainment as they drank more and more whiskey.

On Sunday, it had dried up and we had every intention of going up to church again but as it got more and more windy we began to have second thoughts. Would the tent and equipment still be there? it was really blowing a  hoolie straight down the field.

We checked the weather forecast and  all the following week had high winds forecast so after listening to the Spirit, we made a decision to leave. I don’t think we have ever packed up so fast but it didn’t give us enough time to attend church which I was sad about. Still safety first.

We rode across to the bus station but as more and more people gathered we didn’t think the bus was an option. When it did come in , it didn’t have an underneath boot so we decided to just get a taxi. It cost us £35 but we couldn’t have ridden into the westerly wind that was blowing at about 40mph.

Once in Kirkwall, we again met a couple we have been bumping into all week and had a good laugh with them. They live in Grimsby which we have cycled through a number of times. We also met a couple of lovely young women from Tasmania who have been kayaking the west coast of Scotland with a young man who dashed  off to  watch the Wimbledon Tennis final.P1000571They came across on the ferry to Stromness and so I hope they are safe. They didn’t have trolleys so we helped them move the kayaks which were fully loaded with camping equipment. Having kayaked most of the west coast of Scotland we had a good talk with them.

The ferry terminal has some beautiful glass that I couldn’t help but take photos of.

Then  it was on the ferry at 4.45pm and the crossing took longer due to the wind and was pretty bumpy.

We arrived in Scrabster and got away from there by 7.30pm. DH was keen to be home so he drove through the night, stopping to rest on the way. He really is Superman.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 21, 2017

Cycling the Orkney Isles – part 5

The site we stayed on in Evie was in 2 parts. One field overlooked the sea but was sloping and very exposed and the other was near the toilets and was a nice, flat sheltered site. We chose shelter as the wind was getting stronger. I have to say the price of £25 was a bit steep and ordinarily I wouldn’t have bothered but I didn’t want to push on . So we paid up and shared the field with one other family. There was no lounge or kitchen but the toilets and showers were fairly good and spotlessly clean.

On the field was this family tent.



I thought it looked like a tent from the Chronicles of Narnia but we laughed when we were shown the parents bed inside.


P1000514Talk about palatial  but they did say they needed loads underneath them to keep warm. Convection currents take away all the heat so I am glad we have our Exped Downmats. So warm and comfy without all the need for a compressor.

We had a very pleasant evening although there was a bit of rain later on but the morning dawned fine. It was only when we left the shelter of the small field that we realised just how much the wind had risen and we were into a head wind. As we were back on Orkney Mainland we decided to head to some of the free museums. Well , they ask for donations to keep them open but are well worth a visit.

So we rode north on the A966 but quiet with little traffic. I have to say that all the drivers we encountered were very courteous and gave us plenty of room and gave us a wave too. So different from our normal experience.  The road climbs and falls constantly and then we were at Loch Swanney. Here the road turns sharply southwards before continuing west but we took a minor road at this point that passes Loch of Hundland before arriving at Kirbuster. There is an excellent farm museum here and we arrived just before it opened at 10.00am. So did a group of archaeology students and a tutor who were on a study day. It was interesting talking to the tutor as she knew more than I did.

It must have been a very hard life in the 19th and early 20th centuries farming up here but they were very self sufficient growing crops and having animals and being able to fish too. The following photos show what the houses were like. Yes they did sleep in small cupboard type places in the main room but it would have kept them much warmer too. I was interested to see these old patchwork quilts too.

I found a sewing machine set into a table but I have never seem a lifting mechanism like this before. It used a bicycle chain. I probably shouldn’t have opened it but I couldn’t help myself.

The curator at this museum told us to go to the Corrigall museum as they had a restored grain kiln  and it was worth seeing. They are hoping to restore the kiln at Kirbuster when funds allow.


As it was on route for us , we cycled there but got a soaking as the rain started just as we turned off the main road.

This is inside the grain drying kiln at Corrigall.

There was a threshing floor where the grain was beaten with flails and there would be two doors opposite each other which would be opened to allow the wind to blow away the chaff. Then the grain would be dried in the kiln so that it would store better. The heat was supplied by peat as a fuel.P1000551



They were also able to spin and weave their own cloth.

There were also some very cute goats at Corrigall but these would have been kept for meat and milk.


The museum closes for lunch at 1.00pm as it is all run by volunteers. Indeed the day’s curator lives on the island of Rousay where we had been the previous day. So putting on our wet weather clothing we ventured off again re-joining the A986 and cycling back to Finstown. By now we had sunshine again so we disrobed and I bought us cheeseburgers from Leigh’s roadside stall. All Orkney produced beef and they were delicious. We also talked to a lady cyclist who was obviously much older than us and she was staying up in the hills and was there on holiday cycling around. The traffic was much busier back on the A960 back into Kirkwall where we were soon pitched up again at Pickaquoy.


Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 20, 2017

Cycling in the Orkney Isles – part 4

We were up and packed early as we knew it was 7 miles back down to the ferry port and the ferry would be in at 9.00am. As it was , it was mostly downhill so we arrived there just after 8.00am and it was a beautiful morning. The sea was calm and clear, so lovely to see.

It was interesting watching the Kirkwall ferry unloading and then we saw our much smaller one approaching. Some of the people we met on the Papay ferry , arrived to get the ferry back to Kirkwall.


Our plan was to get back to KIrkwall, restock food and then cycle up to Tingwall to catch yet another ferry across to Rousay and we were able to do so. It was an interesting ride along through Finstown and then on a minor road to Tingwall. There were plenty of climbs but interesting things to see too. I believe this is a dovecot.


We spoke to a couple waiting for the Tingwall ferry  and notice cars lined up facing away from the landing and couldn’t work out why. The Reason? it was a landing craft and the cars were reversed on.  There are only about 200 people live on Rousay and this couple had moved there from the south of England because they love the lifestyle and how they know everyone in the community. They told us how everyone pulls together. So we got them to take a photo of us together.



When at the other side , we rode up to the campsite only to find that we couldn’t use it. It is also a hostel and was booked for archaeologists working on the island. That left us with a bit of a dilemma but the campsite lady told us where to go to camp, near the pier. This was in a field of long grass but was ideal and we could use the showers in the Heritage centre  after paying a £5 deposit at the Pier Inn. We got that back when we returned the key and the toilets were open too all night. It was only about 100 yrs walk so great.


There is even room to get the bikes into the tent. Mine is completely folded but DH’s really only has the saddle and handlebars dropped.

I was up early to see the sun coming up but went back to bed.

Then we decided to leave all the luggage in the Heritage centre and set off to ride around the island. We chose clockwise and glad we did as later we met a tour guide who told us we had made the right decision as that way you get a bit of respite on the climb.

We actually hadn’t gone too far when we came across our first chambered burial cairn and stopped to explore. This is called Taversoe Tuick. We just left the bicycles near the gate  feeling completely confident in their safety.


Rousay, is also being called the Egypt of the north , as there are over 160 of these burial cairns. It was great to be able to explore and go down into it on a ladder left there for just that purpose.

After that , we continued on and I had been hoping to go and see some of the archaeologists at work but alas, it was down a steep bank and I didn’t want to damage my knee. I know one knee  can be troublesome on steep downhills but I was able to get a few photos  with the zoom lens. They are trying to preserve artefacts that are being eroded by the sea at Bay of Swandro and further south.

Midhowe Brock is much later , Iron Age, and was a fortified dwelling.

Carrying on we continued a gentle climb and then came down to the Loch of Wabister and then began another steep climb (for me) up to a place called Blossom.

This is where we met a tour guide with a group he was taking out to see a modern sculpture. We had a word with them and then we had a lovely downhill run until we came to the one and only shop on the island.


We stopped in a lovely garden here and had lunch and an ice cream lolly, before setting off for the ferry pier. The chap here had sold up and moved from Lincolnshire. He was telling us that the weather is mild  because of the Gulf Stream and as you can see even small palm trees grow.


We arrived just in time to load up ad get on the ferry. The ferryman was great as he told us not to rush as we had plenty of time. He was also the chap who keeps the showers and toilets clean and running too. What a great guy.

Then it was off on another ferry ride and back to Tingwall. The wind was freshening and we headed north on Mainland Orkney up to the village of Evie for the night.



Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 19, 2017

Cycling in the Orkney Isles – part 3


Westray and Papa Westray


We were up very early and while I dried off the tent DH packed all the sleeping stuff and then a fine mist came down to wet the tent again. So then we had first breakfast but the sun came out to dry off the tent.

We left the Pickaquoy site in Kirkwall just after 8.00am and did some last minute shopping before going to the ferry terminal in the centre of town, which is having renovation work performed. This is t try to prevent flooding.

There is a one and a half hour sail across to Westray and the ferry docks at the southern end of the island. This means a nice ride of 7 miles up ad down  the long hills to reach the Barn campsite on the outskirts of the main village Pierowall. The campsite is well equipped with  laundry and a nice well equipped kitchen . This meant we didn’t have to cook at the tent or use our own utensils or crockery. At £14 a night for 2 people this was great value and  probably the best site of the lot.

After getting pitched up, we cycled off up to Noup head passing Noltland 16th century castle on the way.

I was fascinated by the stonework which reminded me of churches we had seen in Norway.

Then it was a climb up to Noup head. We pulled off the  single track road to let a campervan pass – well I wanted a breather anyway – and the people were still at the lighthouse when we got there.



P1000323We walked across to the cliffs to look at the birds nesting there.

I have to admit to being scared of heights but did my best to take some photos.  DH thought it best to show how I got down to get these photos.


I was fascinated to get these close ups but felt sick being so close to the edge. I could hear a sound from inside the cliffs that I thought might be puffins but never saw any but here are some others.

I am fairly sure these are gannets.

Now I am unsure of these but think they might be Razorbills or Guillemots. Any bird buffs please help.

I have to say the ride down was lovely and there are 2 shops in the village which we made use of. They don’t just sell food but probably anything you might want from a sewing needle to a rope.  Fabulous.

Tuesday 11th July 2017

We got up early enough to catch the 9.00am ferry across to Papa Westray, alos known as Papay to the locals. This involved lifting out bikes down onto the little passenger ferry and they got lashed down on the bow well.

Then we had a 45 minute crossing in glorious weather.

Then it is only a 4 mile ride to the end of the road at the top of the island. I was hoping to see some textiles but the lady wasn’t there, so had a walk to look at a geo ( pronounced Gheeo) which is where a cave has fallen in and left a long inlet.


I also took more bird photos. I am really liking the telephoto lens – can you tell?

We were also lucky enough to see the aeroplane landing. This is the shortest flight in the world between Westray and Papay at about 2 mins.

Then it was back down to look at the Knap of Howar dating back to 3500BC.

There were a number of people there including a man called Nicholas Cope who has written a book about the geometry of the place ( and he was due to give a talk that evening but we couldn’t stay.



This lady was also grinding razor shells on a quern stone as they think that is what the ancients might have used as a good source as it is high in calcium. Conjecture yes but possible.


Once back at the ferry landing we had a short wait and watched cars and vans being unloaded from a Kirkwall ferry. This is the old fashioned way of using a crane to get the vehicles on and off. I remember this about 50 years ago on the Hull to Rotterdam ferry, long before RORO ferries.


Once back across we rode up to try to find a natural arch and walked a few miles  across fields and along the shore.


We actually didn’t find it until we turned back so I just managed to get the top of it.


There is also a very nice gallery, the Wheeling Steen gallery,  which also sells frozen yogurt and inside has the top of an old sailing ship which ahs been preserved as a studio for painting by Edwin Rendall and his wife and daughter who makes the yogurt and makes some textile items.

I bought a couple of bookmarks of Edwin’s photography and poetry.  Cant take much when cycle camping.

In the evening there was a concert at the Barn but I wasn’t able to go in due to my throat condition as the perfumes were just too overwhelming  for me. So we sat int he kitchen and listened to the performance of country and western and folk music by Michael and Tinnie and guests. We had a wonderful time here and I can well recommend the place.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 18, 2017

Cycling in the Orkney Isles – part 2

pSaturday started well with a sunnyish morning. To get to the campsite, we had followed the signage which took us around the back of the town, up a lot of hills. However, we found out that cycles can come straight along the lower road , but could not take campervans or caravans, so that is the way we left the town.  It is mostly flagged on each side with cobbles up the middle and locals with cars come along here, if they live in those older houses.

We climbed up from Stromness , on the A965 and then turned eastwards on  a quiet road past the Loch of Stenness and up the B9055  called at the standing stones of Stenness. These are a Neolithic henge and are older then the famous Stonehenge .

These are about 5 miles from Stromness. We then cycled back to the main road and carried on eastwards until we came to a sign posted for Hobbister where we turned south and climbed up through flower filled meadows being grazed by  dark cream coloured cows and calves.

The majority of these animals are farmed for beef and there is only one dairy farm left in the islands. We eventually  reached the summit and could see the sea on the other side.


Part way down the hill, we had a stop in a falling apart bus shelter  with brand new shiny bike racks. We ate 2nd breakfast here and then rode down through Kirkbister and turned east on the A964 along to Kirkwall. The road rolls up and down all the way but I was pleased to be riding well and didn’t have to dismount on any of the hills.

We were in Kirkwall by lunchtime and called to Tourist information for directions to the Pickaquoy centre where the site is. It wasn’t far and we were pitched up by 1.00pm Then the rain started.

It was just then that I realised I had left my tablet plugged in at the Stromness site. What to do? We decided that I would catch the bus, with my bike , so I could ride to the site. I wasn’t too sure it would be there, but phew it was.  So with a quick sprint ( well sprint for me haha) I was back at the bus station and got the bus back.  Cost for return journey was £6.40. I should have bought a return ticket and it would have been a 10% saving.

Near to the bus station, are 3 supermarkets in Kirkwall, so it is easy to pick up food for meals. The campsite also has a fridge and small freezer for use of campers. So we cooked and had our evening meal in the tent and then went to the lounge area and had a pleasant evening chatting with other campers and an archaeology student.

Sunday  9th July 2017

The day dawned rainy but by 8.00am the sun had come out  and we sat enjoying breakfast outside. This was the day we would attend church and on the previous Friday we had met two of the church missionaries  in a supermarket car park. They told us that the members were now meeting in the local Grammar school and not where they had met for many years. Good that we knew but it was up a steep hill from the bottom of St Magnus cathedral. There were lots of tourists.

After the meetings, we had lunch and then went for an exploring ride. We saw a huge cruise liner , so that explained the large number of tourists. Locals told us that these cruise ships, while bringing in tourists are becoming a problem. There are 20,000 residents and some weeks the cruise ships alone bring in 14,000 people which can overwhelm the favourite spots. Now, if you want to visit Maes Howe you have to book in advance and you are bussed up to the site. Having been there previously, our ideas were to visit the smaller islands.


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