Owlswood Lodge - 4 Star Self-Catering Accommodation in Orkney

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Hi , Just to let folk know , we now have a Facebook page which I am trying to keep updated regularly . You can find us at Owlswood Lodge Self catering Orkney . Have a look and see what we are up too !
'at the spoots 2015 '

SpootsEvery year Vince has to have a day 'at the spoots ' ! Sometimes he has quite a few but it is essential he has at least one day . As those of you who know him , know , he is quite a traditionalist and keen to maintain all the old skills he learned as a boy .

So on 18th April - it was a bonnie evening and a perfect low 'spoot ' tide at Waulkmill off we went .

The spoots can be harvested a few different ways .Vince's preferred method is to walk backwards , watching for a 'spoot' as they tunnel into the sand , then use a knife to anticipate the direction they are going and stop them in their tracks . Or you can use salt which put in their spoot holes makes them come to the surface .

The spoots collected are really tasty fried for the shortest of time with butter - yum !!

Fovern Hotel
Owlswood Lodge - NewsLast night Vince and I had our annual meal down at the Fovern . We have a meal every year around the longest day and enjoy a lovely leisurely walk home ( only 1 1/2 miles ). It is such a treat . www.fovernhotel.co.uk
MAY 2014
My goodness May has been such a busy month !! Where do I begin - - the veg plots to prepare and plant up . We now have tatties , peas , beetroot , winter kale ,carrots, spring onions etc in our beds outside - the greenhouse to sort out . Tomatoes and mini cucumber doing well and the plum tree covered in fruit . Only 1 apple on apple tree though ! - polytunnel to be planted up - roses , dahlias,strawberries ,corn ,kale ,lettuce,asparagus, corgettes,squash , fruit trees , raspberries , carrots , etc - sheep clipped , feet done and dosed - peats to be raised - ponies to be moved , electric fence to be put up - Owlswood Lodge 'change overs' on a Saturday - And of course Orkney Folk Festival and Orkney wine festival . It is not all work and no play ......... - and did I mention friends for a Thai meal , kirk services , choir , badminton , farrier , haircut ,cake and coffee with chum ,dog to vet , dog walking ..... oh and working too - yes it has been a very busy month .....
Orkney Nature Festival 10th - 18th May 2014
Check the web site or add a friend on facebook . The Orkney Nature Festival is awesome !
Broadband !
We now have a Broadband connection at Owlswood Lodge . We did appreciate the fact that some people like to come to Orkney for the peace and quiet and NOT having an internet access allowed them to totally switch off - however with the advent of i phones , i pads , tablets etc we were aware that technology can allow guests to explore Orkney easier . It is no problem to research something and find out opening times etc at the touch of a button . However for those not so technically minded - don't worry - we will continue to keep our folder , leaflet box and notice board updated with local information . Carol - May 2014
Old Man of Hoy

 Are you interested in a holiday in Orkney ? Perhaps  thought you might be interested in reading Old Man of Hoy, one of the stories in Frank Demain’s collection of four short stories, Off the Beaten Track.

Our unsuspecting hero, Peter Sinclair, crosses to Orkney in search of his family roots and discovers an illicit distillery – to his cost – and I mean substantially more than just a sore head from drinking substandard whisky!

The intrepid traveller also encounters some unexpected adventures whilst seeking a leisurely break with family and friends. He is drawn into a dispute between rival criminal gangs as he cruises around the Canary Islands and is drawn into an attempt to smuggle stolen diamonds into Spain; he is accidently caught up in a planned uprising led a criminal resurrection of the National Liberation Committee of Istria in Croatia; and he encounters a band of ruthless smugglers in a cave on the North Yorkshire coast of England.

Off the Beaten Track is now available from Amazon on your Kindle, iPad or other e-reader for only 91p!

St Magnus Festival
Owlswood Lodge - News

The annual St Magnus Festival has been and gone for another year and as usual it was excellent.

We only managed two events this year and as is so typical of the St Magnus Festival, they were so different. The first I went to was on Sunday afternoon – Poems with tunes, tea and cake. It was in the Stromness Hotel which is quirky and old fashioned (only my opinion!) and I love it as a venue.

This was a pleasant afternoon listening to the poetry written by students on the Orkney Writers Course. This was supported by beautiful evocative guitar music by James Boyd. We also enjoyed a cuppa,scone, cream and jam and a huge slice of chocolate cake. The event was a sell-out. It lasted just over an hour and was enjoyed by all who attended.

The second event I went to was Long Strides. This epic production took place in the Market Stance (indoor riding centre). It did seem strange sitting in winter clothes with a rug over my knees in June but the Market Stance is a huge airy building and it somehow felt quite in keeping with the backdrop snowy scenery of the Arctic. The cast and crew were local amateurs but if I had not known this I would never have guessed. They were all fantastic. The production was the John Rae story. 2013 is the anniversary of the birth of the Orcadian John Rae who was a doctor and scientist working for the Hudson Bay Company. He explored and mapped hundreds of miles of the Arctic coast line and notoriously found the Northwest Passage. He adapted to the Arctic lifestyle by learning the ways of the Inuit and Cree people and through them discovered the fate of the Franklin expedition. The public of Britain, through the support of lady franklin and Charles Dickens did not believe his report and the rest as they say is history!

The 8 day festival saw 39 events as well as exhibitions, courses, excursions, festival club and Magfest. The exhibitions continue through the summer.

  • Nathan Coley – sculptorPier arts Centre , Stromness
  • Jim Pattison – drawings and paintings relating to Neolithic stone carvings Pier Arts Centre , Stromness
  • Dr John Rae , The explorer and collector – Stromness Museum
  • Elaine Henderson Pottery – Stromness Ceramic and photographic Art Studios , Stromness
  • Christine Sargent , Paintings and prints – Wheems gallery , South Ronaldsay

The dates of the St Magnus Festival for 2014 are 20th – 25th June 2014.

Gulden Leeuw
Owlswood Lodge - News

The "Gulden Leeuw" is a three-masted topsail schooner, restored in 2010.Her 1930’s design combines the advantages of a square sailed ship and a fore-and-aft rigged ship making her a fast, robust ship that can really sail.

The Gulden Leeuw was launched as biological research ship in 1937 for the Danish ministry, called Dana. She is built as an ocean-going ice-class ship. In the 80's she was used as an offshore support ship, after that the Danish Nautical School used the Dana for training their students to become experienced seamen.

The Gulden Leeuw was in Orkney in 2011 while competing in the Tall ship race (June to august 2011). The ships sailed from Waterford (Ireland) to Greenock (Scotland) and then sailing as a fleet to Lerwick(Shetland). Race two was Lerwick to Stavanger (Norway) and then onto Halmstad (Sweden). Orkney as fortunate to welcome some of the fleet on route and local people were able to enjoy participating in a race from Kirkwall to Stromness as well as having the opportunity to sail with some of the ships up to Shetland.

Gulden LeeuwUnfortunately I was unable to join in with this event as although we did have tickets (Christmas present from Vince) it coincided with the wedding of a close friend and we were unable to go. We did enjoy watching one of the tall ships sailing in Scapa Flow during the ‘back trait ‘ – the post wedding party held outside with live music in a now very tidy quarry in Greenigoe ! We had a fantastic view of it and I am sure they enjoyed some of our fantastic music that night as it was so lovely and calm and sound was travelling over the flow.

So given the opportunity the following year we were delighted to participate in one of the evening Scapa Flow sails. It was lovely stepping aboard and enjoying feeling of history as the boat clanked and creaked as she made her way out of Stromness. It was quite a still evening but we did manage to raise the sails for some of the trip before becoming becalmed alongsideCava. The crew were fantastic letting all those who were keen have a shot pulling the massive ropes to raise the sails. A real team effort. The music was playing and the wine flowing and we had a wonderful evening. One special memory was doing the eight some reel on the deck to the accompaniment of the bagpipes as we came back into eh harbour.

I hope you enjoy the pictures and I encourage you to take advantage of any opportunity you ever get to sail on a tall ship .As my 91 year old father in law always says ‘ an opportunity missed is seldom recovered ‘ . I am so glad I did not miss this opportunity. It was magical.


Owlswood Lodge - News

Unfortunately our very special peediefriend, Maggie passed away in November 2012. Maggie was a Border Terrier born and bred here in Orkney. She died at the grand old age of 12 ½ and we were pleased that she died at home in her own kitchen in her own bed. She had just come had her breakfast and come back from a stroll down the field when she went for a nap and unfortunately had a big fit and never recovered.

Maggie was a real star. She was hugely maternal and although never had puppies of her own, she happily washed and licked clean eyes and ears of the cats and other dogs whenever necessary – whether they needed it or not! She also suckled a kitten, Hamish who adored her and visa versa. We thought it rather strange but the vet said it was fine so we left her too it. Apart for the endless mothering that our other animals had to endure, Maggie was also very brave and feisty. She knew exactly which ‘big ‘dogs she was going to tolerate, love, see off or just ignore!! She gamely would walk for miles and keep up with everybody never quite running just trotting along at her own speed.

We will never forget her cheeky face and the way she tilted her head to catch what we were saying. She is buried in Owlswood beside our other dogs Spice and Ruff and an assortment of cats and hamsters.

Otters in Stronsay

My husband Vince is a keen fisherman. He works on the Earl Sigurd as an engineer and often has to spend nights out on the outer isles. He takes advantage of these especially when out in Sanday to do a bit of late night or early morning fishing. I have always been envious of him when he reports seeing otters in Sanday and was particularly envious this year when in Stronsay ( for the first time ) he saw young otters playing very close to him. These are photos taken on his phone – no zoom was used!!!!!

We have a cancellation for week beginning 23rd July . The tarriff for the week is 600. Remember Owlswood Lodge sleeps 7 so great value for money !!!!
Wind Power !

In January 2011 we purchased a 5KW Evance Iskra R9000 wind turbine from Segen which was installed by Alternative Energy Contracting Ltd www.alternativeenergycontracting.co.uk . This was was made possible by an interest free loan from the Energy Saving Trust. www.energysavingstrust.org.uk The turbine was a long time in the planning and we were delighted when it was erected in January (in a howling gale – horizontal rain and force 9 winds!).We obtained information from the Energy Saving Trust regarding loans and the government initiated Feed in Tariff. This tariff is a financial reward for generating renewable energy and exporting it to the gird. It is presently 27.6 p/ kWh.
 The project started in April 2010with  a house survey done by EST followed by a site visit by the turbine supplier. Planning permission was the next stage and this was granted in August 2010. The turbines had to be at least 140m for the nearest houses and 60m from each other. We then applied for a Small Business Loan from the Energy Saving Trust. This was allocated in August 2010 time and limited for 6 months. Unfortunately our initial supplier was unable to proceed therefore we had a change of Turbine and supplier in December.
The Iskra Evance is a very efficient small wind turbine which has been engineered to produce maximum energy at low speeds; however it will also continue to run at high speeds by automatically pitching the blades to control blade speed. The turbine and tower have a minimum life span of 20 years and with few mechanical parts, in particular no gear box, maintenance is minimal. It comes with a 5 year guarantee and requires to be lowered, by means of a hydraulic pump, once a year for a service.
There are  two ‘Windy Boys ‘in the hall cupboard. These are the inverters which convert the DC voltage into the useable 240v AC .They produce a low humming noise as they generate.  They also produce heat as a by-product which contributes to heating the house. It is expected that Owlswood Lodge will use half of the electricity generated and the excess will be exported to the grid. Next year I shall be able to quote actual amounts produced, used and exported.

Wind energy is renewable energy and our turbine along with the ground source heat pump ensure that Owlswood Lodge is fully committed to the environment by producing and using sustainable energy .


Happy New Year .

This morning ( 4/1/11) there was a solar eclipse . You can see a lovely picture of it taken by John Vetterain in Rousay at 9.07am looking over Shapinsay . Unfortunately I did not see it due to cloud .

Look at this website http://www.spanglefish.com/northernskies/index.asp?pageid=275792 and http://www.orcadian.co.uk/  for pictures .

There was also a total eclipse of the moon on 21st December 2010 which I did see at 7.30am from my bedroom window . Photos of it also on the website .

Planes !

June was a good month for planes .

On 3rd June we were privilaged to have a spitfire ( T9 PT462 G-CTIX )  come up to Orkney and do a display  over Kirkwall Bay . It was accompanied by a WW1 Bi-plane and a Pitts Special stunt Bi-plane .

It was a beautiful clear warm  evening and Callum , Russell and myself found a good spot sitting on the sea wall watching the planes overhead .

Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me but Vince who was working on the Earl Sigurd took this photo with his phone .

Then on the 26th of June , as I was driving past Kirbister Loch , I saw a sea plane moored at the end of the loch . Not some thing you see every day ! It appeard that the American  pilot  and his companion were  attempting to fly round Scotland staying at B and B's where they could land the sea plane nearby . Kirbister was actually slightly too shallow at the end and the plane had to be towed for a bit by two local men before mooring . I would have loved to have been able to see them arriving or taking off - quite a surprise for folk who just happened to be looking out of their window at the time . The plane was a Cessna N260 MX and after departing Kirbister headed to Norway .

Further footage can be seen on www.crashsiteorkney.com/page53htm . This is the website of the Aviation Reasearch Group Orkney and Shetland ( ARGOS) 

after 'after the rain '

Vince and I had our silver wedding last year and as well as re visiting the church where we were married ( Markinch Parish Church , Fife ) and having a lovely family meal and  holiday in Egypt - we had a painting commisioned with money which my parents had given us as a present .

The oil painting was based on a previous watercolour painting called After The Rain , by artist Tim Wootton . It featured terns sitting on a cliff face enjoying the sun - after the rain had passed .  We had always loved tim's work abd already had one of his paintings so it was wonderful to be able to commision a painting .

In May , Tim got in touch to ask if he could have the painting back ! He had entered it in the BBC Wildlife Artist of the Year competition and it had been shortlisted with another of his paintings . The painting had to be sent to Winchester for judging . We were delighted when Tom won the category ( World Birds ) and of course that makes his our painting very special indeed . Glad we paid for it before he won the competition .

Tim is originally from Yorkshire but has been in Orkney for many years now  . A visit to his shop ( WIldscape in Stromness  ) anytime is a a delight as he will happily talk about birds and share his knowledge and local information . Look at his website and Blog www.tim-wootton.blogspot.com . I am sure you will be captivated by his work .


                                                  Bridesmaid Dresses UK                                    



Just a short note to inform you that Vince and I are off on holiday from 15th to 28th March and will not be able to respond to e-mails during this time .

Bye for now ,


Happy New Year

2010 has arrived and with it snow and ice . We are currently having the longest spell of snow lying for years . The ice is making the conditions underfoot really dangerous but we are struggling on !! Nevertheless we have not had the problems of those down south so have little to complain about . In fact , it is with delight that I noticed that Orkney has on several occasions lately been the warmest place in the UK !

Vince is already looking forward to the fishing starting again . He got a new rod for Christmas and keen to try it out . He will have to wait a few weeks yet though . The brown trout season runs from 15th March to 6th October and the sea trout from 25th February to 31st October . 

Eating Out !

Over the autumn I have 'eaten out ' many times but thought I you would like to hear about my two favourites .  Both involved a 'special meal ' for colleagues who were retiring . Joan , a dear friend , was retiring from the physiotherapy department and Helen from the Day Hospital. We went with Joan to the Hamnavoe Restuarant in Stromness . This little restuarant is tucked away up a little lane in Stromness and is a delight to discover . The dining room is basically the 2 downstairs rooms of an old terraced house knocked together . The service was wonderful and the food fantastic .  I dont think the Hamnavoe has a web site but I found it mentioned by the following two - and after reading the reviews I am sure you will be keen to give it a try .



A few weeks later we went with Helen to the Fovern Hotel . For those who are familiar with Orkney , Owlswood Lodge or even just our web site , you will realise that the Foveran is just 1 1/2 miles down the road from us . This was another really successful evening . The orders are  taken in a cosy sitting room complete with fire and the meal served in the bright airy dining room . The service was also perfect and the meal superb . I had local venision that night . mmmm !


We are planning to go to the Foveran again in December when all the family are home for Christmas .


Why not stop on your journey north (or south ) at Dunrobin Castle ?

Dunrobin Gardens      

Dunrobin Castle was the destination of the East Mainland Gardeners Group for their summer trip . It was an excellent day out for 12 of us - we left on the early Pentalina from St Margarets Hope and enjoyed a smooth crossing with just time for a cuppa tea and a bacon roll before driving down to Golspie in a minibus . The minibus provided a great vantage point to look over dykes and garden walls and we greatly enjoyed seeing all the lovely gardens as we passed . Gardening in Orkney can be rather like 'endurance ' gardening at times and it never ceases to amaze me that the climate is so different just 'over the water ' in Caithness . In fact we were also amazed to see that in some areas the barley had already been cut !!! At least 4 -6 weeks ahead of Orkney I think .

Dunrobin offers so much it was hard to take it all in in the 4 hours we had allocated to be there . The castle is very interesting . At one time it was a boarding school and my friend  Liz had a friend who was a boarder there ! Then there are the gardens ,established in 1850 ,the 'Falconry ' and twice daily display ,as well as a lovely cafe .  Plenty for all ages . The castle is open from 1st April to 15th October . www.dunrobincastle.co.uk

I was particularily keen to have a short chat with Mr Crisp ,the Gardener or the Falconer as they owned the parents of our dog Roo . Roo was purchased to specifically be a gun dog and we were under the impression that she was a cross flat coat retrevier and labrador . Mr Crisp informed us that 'of course she would 'work ' - every thing works at Dunrobin and that she would make a fine gundog ' . Which of couse she now is !!!

Anyway it was a surprise on meeting the Falconers wife to discover that Roo  was actually half pointer , 1/4 labrador and 1/4 flat coat . I was able to meet her full brother which was great . He was slightly more 'pointer like ' but has the same mannerisms and amber eyes !

Vince was delighted to discover the ponter blood in our ' heinz 57 ' gundog - he insists that he has the perfect gundog who not only will point and raise game but collect it too .


Hi ,

In July I was encouraged by a work colleague to attend a concert at Woodwick House , Evie . The group playing were Skalder and my colleagues daughter was one of the foursome making up Skalder . This group of young musicians , Louise Bichan on fiddle , Jennifer Austin on piano , Kevin Gray on cajom and James Lindsay on Double Bass won the prestigious Danny Kyle Open Stage competition at Celtic Connections in Glasgow in January 2009 and are going from strength to strength . It was a wonderful evening in a wonderful venue - they were turning people away at the door !!! This summer they are doing a 'Scottish ' tour and intend to launch their first CD in December back home in Orkney .  Watch this space !!



Baby Boom

This May , we hatched our own chicks for the first time . MY Christmas present from Vince last year was an incubator ! Anyway , the fertilised eggs ( 4 Maram and 8 Light Sussex ) arrived and the incubater was carefully set up in the newly decorated spare room !!! Turning of the eggs was required about 5 times a day for 19 days then the eggs were left in peace for 3 days . On the 21st day exactly the chicks started to hatch . They neatly pecked around the shell until it opened like a door . 11 chicks hatched . We were delighted . They stayed in the incubater overnight before being transfered to a huge cardboard box in the garage complete with infra red bulb and the corners rounded off to stop any of them being squashed . I used the word CUTE for days . There was simply no other word to discribe them . They are now 6 weeks old and not so cute - rather scruffy infact . They have taken over the stable . We have a net over the door to keep out seagulls,dogs  and the cat , all of whom would enjoy 11 tastey snacks ! Tomorrow ,28th May , we will be putting them out side for the first time . Once again safely contained inside the turkey house with a big run covered in chicken wire .


Fishing in Sanday - May 2009

 Vince's fishing trip to Sanday with his dad and Hugh and Norman has been and gone again this year ,. This annual event is much looked forward too and is a regular source of conversation be it flies , fish , weather , the 'ones ' that got away and the ones they brought home ..................etc etc ........


The weather this year was a real problem with lots of wind stirring up the silt however the fishing did have some good moments with a grand total of 17 good sized fish - between 4 and 5 lb .

Here is Vinces favourite picture this year . Two Brown Trout , one caught with a Pottinger Palmer and the other with a Humungus in the Bea Loch on Tuesday 5th May 2009 .






26th April 2009
Owlswood Lodge - News

Hello again,

We have been back from Egypt four weeks already. What a wonderful time we had - we loved the ancient history and the lovely sun!   We even found some ‘owls’. The symbol of an owl represents the letter ‘M’ in the hieroglyphic alphabet. I have attached a couple we saw at the Luxor Temple.

Talking about ‘Owls’. We have seen our local short eared owl several times over the last week around the house and down Hobbister Brae. Hopefully our guests will see him/her frequently this year too.


Owlswood Lodge - News The weather has been really great over the last few weeks and inspired us to get out into the garden and greenhouse. The wall in front of our house is now finished and we just need to get all the rubble moved. It will be lovely to have somewhere to turn cars again as every one has been reversing out for the past year or so!!

 We have also started getting fit. I am walking the Hoy ½ Marathon in June and Vince running it. I walked it 18 years ago in 3 ½ hours. It would be nice to do it slightly faster although I am in the veteran class now! www.hoyorkney.com We were also in Hoy at the beginning of April to one of the Orkney Traditional Dance Week -end fringe events. (www.orkneycommunities.co.uk/OTDA/) It was a fantastic night. The boat left Houton at 5.30 pm and we returned at midnight. There was a ‘random‘ferrying of folk in all kinds of cars and vehicles up to the hall where we started with a very substantial dinner of Shepard’s pie followed by clootie dumpling (with cream! ) Lovely. The dancing was no stop until time for a late supper of soup, sandwiches and fancies. Yes, the food was good! We danced lots of new dances as well as our ‘old favourites ‘and met lots of interesting people. We only had time to go to the one Ceilidh but the Orkney Traditional Dance Association ran 4 days of Ceilidhs and workshops with visiting and local instructors and people coming from near and far to participate. This is the 3rd year it has been run – I hope it continues.

*News Flash* - 4th March 2009

Vince and I are heading off south to celebrate my parents Golden Wedding and our Silver Wedding in March. We are following this with a trip to Egypt. We are very excited!!

However this does mean that we will not be able to respond to any e-mails and enquiries between 10th and 30th March and are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

For reference – we are fully booked for the whole of May, June, July and August. We still have 3 weeks free in April and 3 weeks in September and the whole of October, November and December are still free too!!

Best Wishes ,

Ps – For anyone interested – the turkeys were fantastic. The biggest weighed 15kg.

September 2008

It has been unbelievable just how quickly the summer has passed . The weather has been lovely – even the guests at Owlswood Lodge who had some rain also had glorious sun ! We have met lots of lovely people and their enjoyment of Orkney has really made us appreciate where we live .

On 30th August ,we celebrated the end of the summer by attending a open air concert by the Kirkwall City Pipe Band ( www.kirkwallcity.com ) on the 'apron' at the front of the cathedral . The special guest was Ivan Drever ex Wolfstone, who had come over especially from his home in Norway .It was a beautiful evening – calm and warm and a delight to hear the music echoing around the buildings . His rendition of the Orkney Anthem was fantastic . Ivan set this poem by T S Peace to music and it was sung ( and played ) by Orkney youngsters at the millennium celebrations at the 'Dome' . The chorus is very heart rendering – 'isles ne'er forgotten be your sons far alone , or ring'ed they be by their ain native sea, waes hale they drink tae their own '. We recorded this on the night ( the wonders of a mobile phone ) and sent it to our son , Callum , who is far from home at the moment ! Worth listening to is the latest CD by the Pipe Band – Anthems of a Peedie Nation . I have a copy in Owlswood Lodge . It contains a variety of traditional musical styles reflecting the broad background of the players .

The following week was The Orkney International Science Festival ( www.oisf.org/ )which ran from 4th to 10th September .We only went to one event this year ,Defending Orkney's Coasts 1914 -45 presented by Historian Geoffrey Steel ,at the St Magnus Centre . The audience was predominately men and I must admit to 'switching off ' when Mr Steel was talking about the poundage etc. of the various guns and where they came from and went too . However it was really interesting to hear how some sites had been used as defence positions from as long ago as the napoleonic wars and that the Brechan station had been unmanned the night that the Royal Oak was sunk allowing the submarine to enter Scapa Flow undetected .

'Home about ', we have been busy planting the grass verges , replacing fencing , building dykes etc. . A huge change from the non stop building work last year ! The hens have been let out of their summer pen and now have total freedom . I really enjoy watching them wandering about . They are always busy and always go from 'a to b' with a great sense of purpose . Between May and September we keep them in their pen to stop them digging up my vegetable garden ! This year we had a bumper crop of beetroot and I have just spent a whole week end ( with purple hands ) making chutney and sweet mustard pickle with the beetroot .


Owlswood Lodge - NewsAlso keeping me busy are our new turkeys . The are growing at an alarming rate – I am sure they grow 2-3cm every night !! They don't seem to have much sense and will happily roost outside even on a wild ,cold , wet night so have to be 'put to bed ' before dusk each night . The hens on the other hand are really easy . They always go back to their hen house in the evening and ,because there are no foxes in Orkney , I don't even have to go out to close them in .

Well must go for now , Roo and Maggie ( our dogs ) are ready for their walk . Think we will go down to Waulkmill . The tide should be out and it if I time it right , I will see a lovely sunset over the Orphir Hills .


Folk Festival and Fishing
Owlswood Lodge - NewsMay is Folk Festival ‘time of year ‘in Orkney and although we only went to one event (out of a possible 24) this year, it was excellent. We went to the Orphir Community Centre Ceilidh on the Friday night. It was sponsored by The Noust which is the local pub in Orphir and sells good pub grub. Any way , the acts came from far and near but my favourite of the night was the local girl Fiona Driver accompanied by Graham Simpson .My favourite piece by her is the her fiddle set ‘Graham in a Tent ‘ www.fionadriver.co.uk .‘Crooked Still’ came over from the USA. This band played swing band type music with plenty of old time fiddle tunes and some blues too. We also had the treat of listening to Jeana Leslie and Siobhan Miller who were the winners of the BBC Young Folk Award. Both are studying Scottish music at Glasgow. It was just a delight to listen to them. The evening passed quickly with us enjoying ballads, jig tunes, bag pipes and swing and blues. The Ceilidh which followed was led by ‘Alive and Jiggin ‘. Fast and Fun!! Orkney Folk festival runs for 4 days every May. (Thursday to Sunday) www.orkneyfolkfestival.com

Owlswood Lodge - NewsThe following week Vince, Hugh, Norman and Billo set of to Sanday for their annual fishing trip. The weather was good, the fishing was good, the cards were good and I do believe the rum was good too! Vince is not home just now to ‘report’ the fishing technicalities but I hope you enjoy the photos. Bye for now, Carol
May Newsletter
Owlswood Lodge - NewsMay is here and the weather has been fantastic. Warm sunny days and we seem to have missed all the rain ‘doon sooth’.

Vince and I went to North Ronaldsay on the 11th May on one of the Sunday Excursions run by Orkney Ferries over the summer. Vince is there often on the boat he works on (Earl Siguird) but I had never been before. Although the island is only 13miles circumference , we took our car so that we could see as much as possible. However it was such a lovely day, we only walked around the point at the light houses, had a picnic and quickly dropped into the pub for small refreshment.

The journey takes 3 hours on the boat and then the car is lifted off the boat onto the pier. A good chance to check the exhaust! On the way to the Lighthouses we saw the famous North Ronaldsay sheep and their lambs. The sheep are only kept in fields for lambing, the rest of the year they are beyond the sea dykes and live on the shore eating sea weed. It was great to see the old beacon lighthouse, topped with its huge stone ball close up. This light house was built in 1788 and was recently on the ‘Restoration Village’ programme on BBC1 (summer 2006), winning the Scottish round and coming third in the final. Although it did not win the programme, it did receive some grants and scaffolding is now in place for the restoration work to begin. It was used until 1809 and the light was created by oil burning lamps reflecting off polished facets of glass. The ‘new’ light house is the tallest land based light house in the British Isles and the only Light house in Orkney offering guided tours. The buildings around it are also having work done on them so that they can be used as holiday accommodation including box beds and a living heritage site.

Owlswood Lodge - NewsOwlswood Lodge - News

After our picnic, we popped into the pub, which you can imagine is very small and cosy and then next door to the post office – same lady serving in both. While sitting outside in the sunshine we saw her again – this time feeding some calves. I was delighted then to have a chance to bottle feed a 3 day old calf.

My final treat of the day was seeing a Minke whale from the boat.

Hope you enjoy the photos.


February Snow
Owlswood Lodge - NewsThis was the lovely early evening view from owlswood in February while feeding the sheep.
February News 2008
Owlswood Lodge - News Hi, It has been a long, long project – we started building Owlswood Lodge in July 2006 doing much of the work ourselves and assisted by an ABDS (Agricultural Business Diversification Scheme) grant. We can hardly believe that it is now 2008 and the Lodge is finished (well almost – still need grass sown but that is another story) and has already had some guests. We have been overwhelmed by the amount of enquiries and interest that people have shown and already have 27 weeks booked for 2008! After 18 months of building Vince is looking forward to taking it easier this year and doing some fishing. He has already booked a few days out in Sanday in May fishing the Bea Loch. This has become an annual event with friends and family all looking to catch that ‘prize’ trout. Vince’s record was a beautiful 8 ½ pound brown trout in 2005, caught on an ‘Anorexic Alexandra ‘fly. Last year the most successful flies they used in Sanday were ‘Hummungus’ and ‘Pottinger’s Palmer’ with Hugh from Greenfield landing two brown trout approximately 7lb each . As for me I will be happy to get out and about on my Highland Pony, Alexander, again when the weather improves. We have had lots and lots of rain but on 2nd of February we had a picture book winter scene on waking up. Our Dogs, Maggie who is a Border terrier and Roo, a flat coat retriever cross lab, have had a great time. The snow was beautiful and fluffy and ‘crunchy’ to walk on and we had nobody in Owlswood Lodge to enjoy it! Anyway, bye for now until the next newsletter, Carol

Owlswood Lodge, South Greenigoe , Orphir, KW17 2RA. tel: 01856873596