Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Hogmanay Sunset

Last Day of the Year - part 1

It was a beautiful, cold, frosty day here in Orkney. We spent a long time on the beach again. No seals (the tide was in) but later in the day there were 3 herons on the skerries where the seals normally lie.

It was an extremely cold day with a very heavy overnight frost. Even the seaweed was frosty!

There were a lot of geese around.

Frost on a drystane dyke.

Frost on seaweed.

More frosty patterns

We spent ages at the frozen loch, playing. The ice varied in thickness - and we invented a couple of games - a type of curling, and the bubble game.

The house viewed across the frozen loch.

Some scenes from the curling game.

And the bubble game.

We had fun!!!
Herons on the skerries at dusk.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Christmas Day Sunset

With the Ba being a bit shorter than usual, we got home in time to catch the last rays of light across Mill Sands.

Christmas Day Men's Ba - part 2

The Ba moved relatively quickly off Broad Street and headed up Victoria Street. I spent a while taking videos - then moved back to some photos as it crossed the bottom of the Clay Loan and started moving along Main Street.

By this time there was a big crowd watching. I think it was maybe bigger than the usual Christmas Day crowd (the New Year's Day Ba generally has more spectators) - perhaps the dry and relatively mild weather brought more people than usual out to watch.

The Ba went over this wall - then back again. Kye was on the wall taking photos for a while before the Ba suddenly got put over - rapidly followed by a number of players!

The Ba soon came back over the wall.

It moved along Main Street towards the Uppie Goal, then back towards the Clay Loan. At this point I was on the balcony of the West End Hotel - this photo is looking back towards Clay Loan.

People who have houses (or hotels) along the Ba's route get a bird's eye view.

The Ba then moved back 'up' - here it's almost opposite the West End Hotel. The clouds of steam generally let you see where the Ba is in the tight pack!

The Ba finally reaches the Uppie goal at Mackinson's corner.

And touches the wall, to cheers from the Uppies and their supporters.

The fight to crown the winner of the Ba then begins.

Finally, the winner arises from the pack - holding the Ba aloft in victory.

Monday, 29 December 2008

Christmas Day Mens' Ba - part 1

The teams have gathered - and there's almost a party atmosphere at the start.

Almost 1pm, and ready for the throw up.
A good crowd has gathered to watch.

Almost 1pm, and the hands go up in readiness - a bit of jostling for position begins.

The Ba is thrown ...

Hands make a grab for it, and it soon disappears into the mass of players.

Play swirls around on Broad Street - seeming to move more rapidly than it has in recent games. The Doonies look like they have more stregth this year.

More play on Broad Street.

The Ba moves doon from the Mercat Cross - I think that's the furthest 'doon the gates' that we've seen the mens' ba go in the past few years.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

A sad day

Yesterday saw the closure of the most northerly Woolworths store in the UK - in Kirkwall.

It's the end of an era for Woolies in Orkney - it had been open here for 50 years. 34 people have lost their jobs - a huge loss for a small community. A sad day indeed - leaving a big hole in the heart of the town. Hopefully someone will take over the vacant space and open a new store there soon - not only creating jobs, but also it's such a large space to be lying empty in the middle of the town.
The barriers in the photo are the Ba barriers - they go up a few days before the Christmas Day Ba and stay up until after the New year's Day Ba.

Christmas Day Boys' Ba

Friday, 26 December 2008

Christmas Day seals

It was such a gorgeous morning, we headed off down to the beach.

P.S. It doesn't matter how many times I arrange the photos and the spacing between them - this sortware has a mind of its own and just does its own thing no matter what I do, so I'm going to give up on trying to arrange the photos nicely on the page!