Adderbury Morris - Orkney Tour

May 23rd. - 30th. 2009

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Why Orkney? Why not? It's Whitsun 2009 and with nothing better to do the Adderbury Morris men by various means, some more devious than others, head North.. .

Saturday. Most of us met up at Banbury Station, stood packed on the train to Birmingham International Airport, flew to Edinburgh, delayed the departure of the on-going flight to Kirkwall for which we were all rewarded with a generous tot of whiskey once air bourne and landed late on a wet and windy 'mainland'. Our hired mini-bus was waiting for us and we drove off into the drizzle. Of course none of this was of any interest at all to Messers Bennett and Harris who had travelled in cognito by canoe!

Orkney Tour The accommodation

Accommodation was in a row of beautifully appointed modern 'chalets' fronting onto the Bay of Firth in the village of Finstown. the proprietor was a Fairport fan from London. We ate at the small attached restaurant and later on a few brave souls went searching for a local  pub - of which more later.

Sunday.  Whilst not booked as guests we timed our visit to co-incide with the Orkney Folk Festival and wandered on over to Stromness for a lunchtime spot. First off we danced outside the Ferry Inn We decided to dance in the square in front of the Stromness Hotel a huge pile of a place which was the venue for a number of festival events. It had turned wet and windy by early afternoon so we returned to Finstown via the Norse site and ruined church at Orphir.

orkney In the rain at Orphir being enthusiastic about ruins

Sunday night was curry night at the best Indian Restaurant on Orkney - well there are only two - the Dil Se, actually it was very good,

Monday. We headed back in to Kirkwall and began by checking out a couple of manufacturers of the traditional Orkney chairs, wonderful things  but not cheap. This was en route to the Highland Park Distillery. We danced and toured and shopped a little before driving down into Kirkwall itself for an afternoon of sight seeing. We grabbed lunch at the Bothy Bar round the back of the Albert Hotel and found it and its barmaid so congenial that we arranged to go back for an evening session later in the week.

That evening we all trailed up the road to the Pomona Inn with its friendly locals and wonderful landlady  and... well.... took over, for an evening of music, song and being silly, well some of us were very silly.

Tuesday. We devoted the day to sight-seeing and fortunately it turned out to be a glorious one. Heading across the centre of the island we stopped first at a local pottery where they specialised in recreating ancient pots as well as creating contemporary pieces inspired by the past. We continued on to the neolithic village at Skara Brae then in the afternoon explored the Ring of Brodgar, the Stones of Steness and all trooped together into the extraordinary interior of the Neolithic burial chamber at Maes Howe.

Orkney Adderbury take on the Neolithic

Wednesday. After a very public gaffe on Radio Orkney by our bagman who was trying to explain that Orkney was not the kind of holiday destination that would attract crowds in the way that Benidorm would - it didn't come out quite right - we were a little anxious about our reception dancing in front of St. Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall but it was alright, most people just ignored us as usual.

Orkney Beaux of London City, I think they are shooting puffins... on the ground.

Orkney Beaux of London City from a different angle, note the crowds.

We were booked in for lunch at the Ferry Inn back in Stromness, a slightly gloomy interior but welcoming staff and not a bad buffet laid out for us at all, and of course we danced there.

Orkney Tour Preparing to dance at the Ferry Inn, the guy wants to know what time the boat leaves.

Orkney Tour The boat's leaving and so is 25% of the audience

In the evening we returned to Kirkwall for Haggis and chips in the Bothy Bar and a bit of a session with some of the products of the Orkney Brewery, oh and some instruments.

Thursday. Well Thursday was wet. A few brave souls  headed across the Churchill Barriers to the southern tip of South Ronaldsey to explore the so-called Tomb of the Eagles, the infamous 'gloup' North of Skail and the odd underground chamber and mouldering portacabin at Mine Howe

Friday. But Friday, well Friday was another superb day with the last of out sight-seeing itineraries. To the North and calling in first for stones and seals at the Broch of Gurness before heading up to Birsay for lunch at the Birsay Bay Tearoom where we danced. Strolling down into the village we also danced at the Earl's Palace and outside the village shop.

Orkney Tour 'Stand up straight', Adderbury dance amongst the daisies at the Earl's Palace

Later on that evening we all assembled to watch the sun go down at the Ring of Brodgar, it took some time to do so. Fortunately this enabled Messers Street and Norton to discover the secret of the stones... Neolithic shadow puppetry! Now why has nobody else thought of that before?

Orkney Tour The tale of Flopsy Bunny and the big bad eagle, a Neolithic saga as re-enacted by Keith and Colin

Saturday. An early start because it's time to go home. Unfortunately when we arrived for check in the airport was closed! It proved to be a long day.....