What can YOU say in six sentences?
On the Earl Sigurd it apparently requires half a dozen orange boiler-suited crewmen to make the bike secure - two straps and two chocks - for the ninety minute inter-island crossing from Kirkwall to Rapness; not rough but had we stayed outside the hail would have been painful.
Westray – population six hundred – typical Orcadian landscape; gently undulating skyline, rough-squared in yellow and green, smudged clouds around the edges of a gigantic sky from which showers fell all around but not once on us, all day.
Several long straights from ten-mile end to end, more dog-legs heading sideways to the farmsteads on the edges – it’s easy to assume the view must compensate for the hard work, but is that really so?
Morse code dotted woollen messages were strung along the wire at the edges of the fields and I wondered what they might say about our at times very noisy progress. Wondered whether the lurching panic of the lapwings would have made the headlines, or did the fat kisses of the sixty or so sky-sweeping starlings make the louder claim? Would the cattle, fudge-coloured and agitated, lumbering wild-eyed to their feet, have the wit to pass the word along, and was it really the black-stockinged sheep with dirty bums who had the final, censoring word?
[photo shows intrepid reporter making notes while awaiting the return ferry]