Kathleen Jamie’s “Findings”: Don’t Fear The Dark

For five thousand years we have used darkness as the metaphor of our mortality. We were at the mercy of merciless death, which is darkness. When we died, they sent a beam of midwinter light in among our bones. What a tender, potent gesture. In the Christian era, we were laid in our graves to face the rising sun. We’re … Read More

Well, What A Bore

For years I wondered what was going on here, way above our heads as we prepared to end the 2004 season of archaeological excavations at Quoygrew, Orkney. Then I saw this. [related-posts]

Nobody Expects The Orkney Haar

Surely my eyes have blown a fuse. The world is blank – not a hole (because holes areĀ *in* something) but a total absence, a blackness filled with light. Vertigo sweeps over me. And…that strange muddled sense of depth, like when you’re drifting off to sleep in a darkened room and suddenly you can’t tell if the ceiling is a million … Read More

Why I Love Your Travel Writing

travel pens

I love the way you write. Seriously. Such a thrill. I’ve read a lot of travel writing (and a lot of “How To” travel writing) online and offline — and it’s such a relief to read someone who truly gets it. I love your stuff. Here are three reasons why.

Orkney, via New York

A typically fickle-looking Orkney sky – 2009. My thanks to Mike, Pam, Kim and everyone else working so hard this weekend at the 2nd Annual Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX) event in New York this weekend, for making a livestream session so fascinatingĀ  that I was glued to my screen all afternoon despite glorious sunshine and England’s final, desperate and ultimately … Read More

The Mystery of Lighthouse Corner

“Lighthouse Corner? Aaaaaahrr.” This was the response I’d been hoping for. From deep within a creased, twinkly-eyed, wind-ruddied face looking like an elephant wearing blusher, the wheezing voice continued. “Hoos. Lighthoos. Road, blarg, garb oot crossflarp. FLARP”. Now, I’m part Scottish. You’d think I’d have a smattering of understanding at a genetic level about how to translate accents like this … Read More

Orkney: What Do You Do?

What can you actually do in Orkney? No, forget the sightseeing. Forget the daytrips, the beach walks, the clambering up sea-stacks to watch intrepid archaeologists braving the elements while hugging filthy mugs of tea (more on that topic another time). Forget visiting. We’re talking living up there. I know of a number of people who are intending to move up … Read More