Skylarks at East Heddle

I did a couple of hours tree maintenance down at East Heddle to day, 3 Skylarks for a while, 50+ Twite passed over, Greenfinches now seem resident. 240 Greylag around all day, 34 Fieldfare feeding with the starling flock were the first i have seen for a while.

Selkies are transformed

The myth of the Selkie, long thought to be Scottish in origin, in fact originates on the Farne Islands, a nature reserve off the coast of Northumberland — according to a North East solicitor, Colette Stroud.

The Selkie is a mythical creature said to be a woman with the ability to transform itself into a seal. Selkie's are able to transform to human form by shedding their seal skins and can revert to seal form by putting their Selkie skin back on. The myth has long been thought to be Scottish in origin, and is widely attributed to the Orkney Islands.

She said: "The Selkie myth can be found along the North East coast, throughout Scotland and Scandinavia. The origins of the myth are lost in time so I assume Scotland has simply claimed it for its own on the basis of no known facts. Since the Farne Islands have always been home to one of Europe's largest seal colonies, I feel it is perfectly possible that the myth originated here, and then migrated North".

The idea that Northumbrian myths have been hijacked and re-written is not new. Many experts believe Joyous Guard or Broomlee Lough in Northumberland to be the original site of the King Arthur legend.

Guided walks around the Ring of Brodgar

Guided tours led by Historic Scotland's expert guides are back by popular demand.

The Orkney World Heritage Site ranger service is offering free guided walks around the Ring of Brodgar.

This year, people of all ages will have the chance to attend the walks every Thursday at 1pm. No advance booking is required for the guided tours and visitors are advised to wear appropriate outdoor clothing. The guides are very enthusiastic with a both natural and cultural history expertise.

Sunday Times and North Ronaldsay Lamb

The Sunday Times
February 3, 2008


Lucas Hollweg: the virtues of North Ronaldsay lamb

MEAT AND GREET

Warning: vegetarians might want to look away. I’ve been having rather a meaty time of late. I only have to think about North Ronaldsay lamb and I start salivating. The native sheep of Orkney’s most northerly island are confined to the seashore by a stone wall, so they survive almost entirely on seaweed. This gives intensely savoury, dark, gamey meat – I devoured two chops before I even got them to the table.........

Orkney Rose

Run by Rose Grimond, Orkney Rose sells Orkney fish and meat to Londoners and London restaurants. The business represents 16 local producers. By uniting their distribution channels, Orkney Rose provides these small businesses with the infrastructure to reach the London market.

Jolly's kippers are something of a legend in Orkney, with the herring caught in the clean waters off Orkney, smoked on slow fires of oak chips and turned into plump, firm-fleshed kippers for grilling or lightly steaming.

Orkney Rose offers the kippers on a supply and demand basis, vacuum-packed individually or in bulk.