Well it was a road trip back to Orkney after 30 years! I was last there whilst doing my Fine Art degree at Newcastle upon Tyne. Things have changed, things haven’t… the landscape is still bleak, treeless but hauntingly beautiful, the people are still genuinely friendly and welcoming, the sea is alive with rich colours and textures and bird life. The precious prehistoric stone monuments are still there, with some new editions but now managed and defined with visitor centres and railings, ropes, charges and guided tours! Tourism has definitely increased with the advent of regular and huge cruise ships mooring at Kirkwall and sending forays of coach and minibus guided people in search of quick glimpses of the riches before weighing anchor and sailing on through the night to the next bite of Scotland! I was accompanied by my father with whom I spend a week discovering whisky distilleries in different parts of Scotland each year. After dispatching Scapa and Highland Park we had a few days to explore, relax and take in this northern isle. There is too much to write about in this blog but it is the small things that thrill in this place. The tiny Primula Scotia clinging to the heathland on the cliffs at Yesnaby, lichen covered old fishing huts with a rainbow over Hoy behind, being harried by geese whilst running off Gruf Hill in the early light of morning, a sparkling Spring Squill lit by low sun. A place with huge skies but where things happen at your feet… inspiring and somewhat humbling experience.