Wednesday, 4 May 2011


Taking advantage of the continuing good weather and calm conditions we followed Northern Kayaker out west to Birsay and launched opposite the Brough.

NK sets a course towards the cliffs.
 The cliffs began as low ridges of fissured rock and grew higher and higher as we progressed.

NK squeezes in to a narrow pasageway.

Soon we came to the giant's eyes.
Eyebrows of  dripping greenery draped the cliffs above us as we plunged onto the first socket.

Approaching the dripping curtain.

Looking in.

Looking out.

Malcolm and Jackie pop out the other side.
 Some caves were linked with small passageways between them.
Some innocent looking caves invited paddlers in, instilled confidence and then turned into violent 'washing machines'. Others looked like narrow straight tunnels which would require reversing out of by hand - NK went in, disappeared and then unexpectedly popped out  bow first from an adjacent opening.

Sun beginning to set.
 The scale of the cliffs and caves on the west coast of Orkney is awesome.
 Most of the west facing caves were enormous and well lit by the setting sun.

Big cliff, little boats.

Awesome entrance.

Follow the light...

NK finally emerges from another cave.

Approaching the Kitchener Memorial.
 This short paddle took about one and a half hours which was spent mostly exploring and appreciating the awesome scale of the place.

As we approached Marwick Bay the red sandstone cliffs glowed in the light of the setting sun.

Waiting for the green ray.
We were lifted into the bay by the gentle glassy swell.



  1. Great series of pictures of caves and cliffs but what is the dripping curtain all about?

    Tony :-)

  2. Hi Tony - I have never seen it before - there is moss and plants growing above the cave entrance, maybe at the end of a natural water course. It was hanging over the edge. I tried to take a photo but the combination of water drops and strong sunshine meant they didn't turm out.

  3. Cracking series of images!

    I particularly love the one of the cliffs lit with warm evening sunshine and the fantastic sunset shot - did you get a green flash?

    I'm guessing that the dripping curtain was largely Roserrot plants? They seem to love this habitat.

    Kind Regards

  4. Thanks Ian - yes we did get a green flash!

    Thanks for the info! Never seen so much greenery in such an exposed place.

    Settled weather is no more - might be a good while before we get to such places again.


  5. I forgot to tell my dad about the green flash! Must ring him later.

    You never know, maybe we'll get another ridge of high pressure along next week?