We have arrived on Orkney, and wow what a place! En route the ferry sailed past the old man of Hoy – a towering rock pillar that is home to hundreds or possibly thousands of Fulmars and Kittiwakes before finally docking in Stromness. My first impression of Orkney is .. Where the heck are all the trees? There aren’t any except for one or two on farms or in private gardens.
That must explain the tired expression on the faces of all the starlings and pigeons we’ve seen. They are probably itching for a rest somewhere. If one of them flew to the mainland one day to check out somewhere new to take the misses next weekend they’d come back raving about the place “think of all the trees you can then double it, no treble it; there’s millions of them. It’s heaven for us birdies”.
First thing we filmed was Maes Howe – Viking runes inside a dark neolithic burial mound. These are basically Nordic jokes – Viking one-liners scratched into the stone. They were hard to film because it was so dark, so to get good lit footage we had the guide and I holding torches shining onto a big circular golden reflector that I held in one hand whilst Andy filmed the runes with his ultra fast Voigtlander F0.95 25mm lens.Very atmospheric.
We next went on to film The Ring of Brodgar which is not the next Peter Jackson movie, but a stunning circle of standing stones a bit like Avebury or Stonehenge but with lochs and heather.
All in all a fantastic day.