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u3a Photography Group One trip to Westray - 24 May 2024

by Tim Wright - 12:07 on 03 June 2024

Nine of us set sail early in the morning on a rather unpromising looking day with drizzle and low cloud but little wind. On arrival we all set off for the Castle of Burrian to look for Puffins. They were there in great profusion starting alongside the path and covering  the Stack too. They were easy to photograph and seem remarkably tolerant of multiple lenses being pointed in their direction. Then the party split with one group heading to the car park for the Noup walk and the other in search of sustenance. The walk up to Noup has 4 stiles to cross early on and is not for the unfit. There were a couple of Arctic Skuas on the cliff near the start but it was noticeable how few Bonxies were to be seen, not that the nesting Guillemots and Gannnets were minding. The Gannet colony is a great site and was thriving but the Guillemots seemed to be fewer in number. Lunch was taken at the Lighthouse looking in vain for the Orca that had passed an hour before our arrival. Walking back along the road confirmed the decision not to drive up as it gets worse each time I go. On the Loch below the lighthouse were dozens of Kittewakes collecting mud for their nests plus a lone Whooper Swan not up to the flight to Iceland. Then it was onto Notland Castle that was having a wash and brush up by Historic Scotland. A case of "Garde Loo " below one of the drains! We then went to Wheeling Stein for coffee and a look at the wonderful photos in the Gallery showing what can be done with evening light and weather conditions such as gales and snow. Then it was a walk around Pierowall Harbour. Good to see the Noup Head looking so smart after it's restoration. I went to North Rona and Sulisgar islands on a memorable trip on it in 1977. It rolls awfully and I have never been so sick! However it was sad seeing the Crab Factory is being demolished .I hope some thing is going to replace it . We then had a little walk down on a beach nearer the Ferry terminal and missed out on the Fish suppers that the other group had had. Then we were delayed getting on the ferry as three huge Wind Turbine were driven off on a very extended lorry. The weather had improved in the afternoon and we sat out on the deck going back serenaded by the Edinburgh Student Folk Group who had had a few days in Westray after the end of the Folk Festival. So a great day out. Many thank to David for taking his car at short notice.

The next meeting will be Wednesday June 26th. The plan is to take some cars and go over to Shapinsay. I will look into times and send out a further email soon. 

The Project this month is "Metal ". There was some suggestion that Rust should be excluded but we felt Steve wouldn't be able to find any real metal unless it was tinged with a bit of rust.

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