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.