• Ring of Brodgar, Orkney - image by Rachel Eunson

December in Orkney

Orkney photographer Rachel Eunson has been documenting December in Orkney.

I don't need much encouragement to get out and about in Orkney with my camera, so I jumped at the chance to travel around the mainland to try and capture a snapshot of the islands during December.

It's not a month you'd normally associate with Orkney at its best, but the muted colours and duller tones of the local landscape, not to mention the often spectacular winter light, can be really beautiful.

I started off by taking a stroll along the quiet, winding roads of the West Mainland on a crisp winters day. It's such a rewarding way to make the most of the scarce daylight at 59 degrees north during December.

A lot of Orkney's roads feel like long, lazy loops alongside the sea. This one actually borders the Stenness Loch, and even on the coldest December days you can often see seals and otters in the shallows as you're driving past.

The Ring of Brodgar is an absolutely incredible place to be for the Winter Solstice. Seeing the stones silhouetted against a deep orange sunset - especially on a day that would have been so important to their Neolithic builders - is something very special indeed.

Weather conditions can change dramatically within a matter of minutes at this time of year. The ever-changing cloudscapes, light and colours are an absolute joy to experience and to photograph. It also makes being soaked by the occasional passing rain shower a little more worthwhile!

Orcadians can sometimes almost forget about St Magnus Cathedral - we're all so used to walking past it in the centre of Kirkwall, going about our daily business. When the winter sun sets on clear December days though, the sandstone glows a bright red and it's hard to take your eyes off it. It's not known as the 'Light in the North' for nothing.

This is the view over the uninhabited island of Glimps Holm and the historic Churchill Barriers. Even in winter the colour of the water can still look so inviting!

We have been incredibly lucky with the weather this December. We've avoided the worst of any windy weather which provides the perfect conditions to wrap up warm, get out and explore! Dingeshowe beach definitely has to be a favourite spot for wintry walks.

Yesnaby is a great place to be on a stormy day. I absolutely love the drama of the wild seas and dark, moody skies which help make winter in Orkney so extraordinary.

Flying over the rolling farmland of the East Mainland. The fields are largely empty at this time of year with most livestock moved inside for the coldest months, while the land rests for the winter.

All images by Rachel Eunson. You can find Rachel on Instagram and on Facebook.

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