Our last two days in Orkney were spent taking in a few sites and habitats we hadn't been to before. Antonia and I went and explored a burn and 'wood' near the airport. A wood on Orkney of a thin line of trees on either side of the river, where it has cut deep enough into the land to offer some shelter. We went for a couple of little walks, visited the eagle's tomb and the sights of Kirkwall. We failed to find a groatie buckie, but we've done pretty well otherwise. Antonia has done enough of her Orkney Nature Detectives book to earn a silver award. That's pretty good for a week's work, and I don't think it would have been possible if we hadn't had a strong prior interest in natural history. To get a gold award, you really need to live in Orkney, at least for a few months! Our transport between Orkney and Inverness doubles as a tour bus, so we had a last sight as we were leaving, the bus stopped at the Italian Chapel, decorated by Italian prisoners of war who were brought to construct the causeways. It is quite a moving place.
I thought as a model for our longer term trips, this trip to Orkney worked quite well. It's nice to have a house and few time pressures so you can just hang out, and even decide to stay in for a whole day. The great thing about self-catering homes is that you have all the advantages of being at home but none of the disadvantages in terms of lots of housework and administration to take care of. Mike got some work done, once he managed to get the internet fixed and I was pleased with the roadschooling aspect. We had enough time to get some traditional work done as well as the Orkney nature project which was very valuable.
Now we're on a really slow train between Inverness and Edinburgh, so we're getting to see a whole other bit of Scotland. Antonia and I have a bit more holiday with my parents, but Mike is heading back to London, then home tomorrow. We are already starting to think about what we have to do next in the way of doing our house up.