Friday, July 16, 2010

Orkney Islands

I'm discovering the same thing in Scotland that I did in New Zealand. Both places are really beautiful, with rolling green hills that you want to reach out and touch. The trouble is that they're crisscrossed with barbed wire to keep livestock in their pastures. So you can't get very far unless you're willing to deal with the wire about every 200 yards. Which I did for about five miles. It's mostly a matter of figuring out where the gate is and climbing over that, but sometimes you have to climb the wire. Other times there's no gate and the wire is too difficult and you just go back.

Once I encountered a farmer who drove up near me in his truck while I was in his cow pasture. I told him that I was just hiking around, and he gave me what I think was a 'salt-of-the-earth local guy encounters eccentric but harmless tourist' smile.

The picture up there wasn't taken by me, but it gives you a clear view of the situation, with the exception that I had a worse sky and got rained on a lot. My ship sails from Orkney to Aberdeen in an hour and a half, so I don't have time to put up one of my own.


BruceMcF said...

There oughter be a step-laddery kind of thing with backstraps to carry it.

Charlene said...

Is the hiking through private lands a British thing? I grew up on a farm in Indiana. I cannot imagine a stranger walking across the pastures on our farm. We didn't use barbed wire to separate our land from the neighbors. We did use rolled wire to make fences to keep the cows inside our land, as our neighbors wouldn't have wanted the beefs destroying their woodlands and gardens.

Anonymous said...

Hiking across private lands is definitely not a British thing. In England and Wales, 'public footpaths' need to be specifically designated (and continuously used) as such; only in Scotland, most connections between 'two public places' can automatically be legally used by hikers. (In this regard, Scotland is much more like the Continent, where in many places the public enjoys the right of way, even across private land.)