We'd spent the night before in a room at Dalhousie Castle wondering if we would be haunted. Answer: "no" but we DID enjoy the falconry experience where we met some owls including 'Puck' a "Little Owl" (Athene noctua). He was absolutely adorable - about 12cm tall only. He does Ring Deliveries for weddings held at the Castle. What a job..
This owl had the most gigantic golden eyes. It's a Bengal Eagle Owl..
.. and this is the Castle which, I have to say, was a Tiny Bit Weird. The girl on reception was a a little alien-like with her queer orange fake-tan skin, huge black lashes like caterpillars on her eyelids and sparkly gold adhesive nails. The porter with faded prison tattoos tried to teach me how to speak Scottish while a family of Russians smoked and prepared for a wedding. It was very stimulating for my imagination & left Spud rolling his eyes, listening to me & my superstitious theories.
We continued with the pedal on the metal, making it to Aberdeen with just enough time to hop on the ferry, MV Hrossey, for the 6-hr trip to Kirkwall, Orkney. Luckily we were able to stretch out over the seats & get some sleep, though there were a couple of passengers with no concept of time, sleep or silence. We were sitting beside a pretty girl with a perfectly flawless complexion, unintentionally listening to her talk on her mobile phone. I could barely understand what she was saying - and she was speaking English! We ended up chatting and not only is she born & bred Orcadian, she is also the mother of an 18 year-old! With skin like that, she looked like a 23 year-old. Guess that's what happens with the limited sunshine here.
This is our ferry leaving Aberdeen behind
Orkney beer - was actually completely delicious. This on was called 'Dark Island', brewed by the Orkney Brewing Company. We are trying to eat & drink local but it's sometimes a bit scary. The beer is so good that it can't be good for us & there seem to be a whole lots of carbs about. Like this Fisher & Donaldson rhubarb pie which was absolutely delicious (my half anyway).
We have had our first day in Orkney doing an archaeological tour of Neolithic Orkney sites and it has completely blown our minds. The age of stuff. We just don't get that in Australia & to see and touch things that date back that far is incredible. Will write more tomorrow as my photos are still uploading - & I can hardly keep my eyes open to write more... Holidays are exhausting!