Photos and the City

Slow travel & photography

Today is my last day in Orkney and half of my summer in Scotland is already over. Time flies by! Tomorrow the ferry will take me to the North of Scotland for a week in Assynt and then another ferry to Lewis & Harris. Two isles down, two (and one) more to go before I´ll be back home in Vienna (and probably doing another self-isolation).

Orkney was quite the surprise after Shetland. Shetland feels quite rough and raw, with no trees, high cliffs and lots of sheep. Orkney has soft rolling green hills and sometimes reminds me of Ireland. Very little sheep but lots of cows.

So how is travelling in Scotland in times of the Covid virus – it is definitely different than usual but then also not and it is easy to forget about the whole thing.

St. Ninians beach and some sheep waiting for the phone in yell

First of all, keep an eye on the official Scottish government sites to be up to date with the current regulations, they change regularly AND are different from the ones in England or Wales.

 

Since Monday all of Scotland is on Level 0 which has brought a few changes to social distancing (just one meter) and how many people can meet. But we are still required to wear a mask inside a shop or museum or on the ferries. Ferries have reduced capacities as have restaurants and cafés. Here in Orkney, the inner-islands ferries must be prebooked and during the sailing, we stayed in the cars.

When visiting an island we are asked to take a lateral flow test three days prior and on the day of boarding the ferry (or plane) – I brought lots of rapid tests with me and am testing myself every other day and on the days I am on a ferry.

found a heart on a beach in yell and some shetland ponies

It probably isn’t as busy as it usually would be. In Shetland, I was told that all the cruise ships and coaches had been missing, the same here in Orkney. But this week I saw the first coaches driving around and this week the very first cruise ships were arriving in Lerwick and Kirkwall, so things might get busier now.

Not all sites of interest or museums are open – I have quite the list for next time. But there is still enough to explore and visit. or just take a walk along the shore or in the hills.

Again it helps to have an eye on the sites of the Historic Environment of Scotland and the National Trust of Scotland. It is also often required to book tickets for open sites. Track & Trace is in operation at every site, museum and restaurant or café.

I have mostly booked self-catering places, loved every single one so far, and am always greeted with loads of hand soap and disinfectant. Often things like books or DVDs are removed to avoid “contact” with former guests and every place gets deep cleaned.

a friendly dog in shetland

Even when we might stay two meters apart, people are still incredibly friendly and helpful and there are lots of cute dogs to cuddle! I am enjoying every minute so far! After a year mostly spend in my apartment and in & around Vienna this wideness and having all this space is just the most relaxing ever.

It´s been three weeks now that I have arrived on Scottish soil, but I consider the day after my mandatory 10 days of self-isolation the actual start of “My Scottish Summer”! Even though the 10 days went by pretty quickly, thanks to all my lovely retouching clients keeping me busy with work, I was so happy to wake up on day 11 and just be able to go for a nice long walk.

After my celebratory walk through the still sleeping Edinburgh, I went to pick up my car and drove straight to Aberdeen to catch my ferry to Shetland. Going to bed, or better said to my sleeping pod somewhere in the middle of the sea and waking up at Shetland, the perfect way to travel.

For the last one and a half weeks (or so) I´ve been exploring mainland Shetland, Yell & Unst and am now in the North of mainland Shetland, the Northmavine. Tomorrow I will board the next ferry going to Orkney. The self-isolation cut my time in Shetland a bit shorter than originally planned but I can always come back.

When I rolled over last years plan to this summer I didn´t expect things to be still so uncertain thanks to these virus mutations, but I am happy to be here and just try to take everything as it comes. It doesn´t matter that many sites and museums are still closed, these are just all the more reasons to visit the islands again another time.

Shetland greeted me with sunshine, salty air and it doesn´t get dark here in the summer, something I didn´t expect.

It was an instant relaxation!

On the ferry from mainland Scotland to Shetland

Many more pictures and adventures will follow over the next weeks…

Friendly sheep greeting me in Shetland