Mainly kayaking photographs taken on the Isle of Man and beyond.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Isle of Man Kayaking - Orkney

I'm up in Orkney, carrying out a locum anaesthetic job in the local hospital. I'll be here for 10 days and I'm on call for a superhuman 8 of them! Consequently, I flew in and I'm minus a car and a kayak. There just is no time for paddling. In fact and unusually I've been really busy, including spending most of Sunday night in the back of a RAF Sea King helicopter transferring a patient from Orkney to Aberdeen for emergency surgery. That was quite an experience as we spent most of the flight skimming the surface of the sea, periodically looking up at the lights of oil rigs and light houses!
It's not a problem anyway as I know Orkney well. I once lived here and have explored every corner of these islands. Orkney has changed though. Kirkwall is much more vibrant than I remember it with multiple supermarkets and little bistros and trendy shops. I can't help but notice just how Scandinavian it has become. Many of the street, shop and ferry names are Norwegian. The flag pictured above flying on a Norwegian ship moored in Kirkwall is another example. After a vote a few years ago Orkney adopted this as their new flag. At first sight it looks like a Norwegian flag, but in fact the Orcadians have substituted the white section from the Norwegian flag for the yellow colouration above, but otherwise the flag is the same. Perhaps a statement of independence and a recognition of their origins?
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