Alan McCredie's 100 weeks of Scotland reaches Orkney Alan McCredie's 100 weeks of Scotland reaches Orkney

Alan McCredie's 100 weeks of Scotland reaches Orkney

An extract from Alan McCredie's 100 weeks of Scotland, published in The Scotsman.

WEEK 88:  I had been planning to get to Orkney long before now. It was one of the first places I wanted to go to when I started this project, but somehow, as the weeks passed it seemed always to be slightly out of reach.

It was with a sense of alarm then that I realised how little time I had to organise a trip before the project had run its course. A perfect storm of events meant I had only a tiny window to get to Orkney and this was reduced further by the fact that I wanted to go by boat, rather than fly. It just seemed the right way to do it.

So I found myself on a ferry from Aberdeen, heading almost due north into the sunset, so light and short are the nights at this time of year at these northern latitudes. I had decided for once to leave the car behind and take my bike instead, again probably foolishly as I would have so little time on Orkney. Once more though, it just seemed the right way to see the islands.

Before long I was on the lonely roads of these faraway isles and was completely captivated by their windswept beauty. It seemed to me that there was a definite shift in the light at these high latitudes. There is a quality here that seems missing from the mainland. Perhaps it was my imagination, but the muted colours and the soft light made everything seem very otherworldly.

I cycled, wandered, explored, photographed, island-hopped and far far too soon was heading south once more towards Aberdeen, feeling like I had barely grazed the surface of the Orkney Isles. Like so many places I have visited in the course of this project it is one I will return to when time is kinder to me. Orkney and it’s light will still be here when I do – time seems to have less of a hold there.