We were treated to another sunny day and since we were staying a second night at the Ferry Inn we could leave most of our luggage behind to explore the north of mainland Orkney. The sun brought out the rich colours of the buttercups that fill most of the fields and verges, daisies and cow parsley adding some variety. Oystercatchers were everywhere, and curlews flying close by became a common sight. We called in on the ruined Earls Palace at Birsay and then dropped down to the beach for our picnic, enjoying the warmth of the sun.
In the afternoon we continued along the coast and steeply up over the heather clad Mid Hill with its fine views over Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre before dropping down through Dounby and on to Stromness. The others wanted to eat somewhere different so we tried the old fashioned looking Stromness Hotel as it featured an extensive vegetarian menu. The dining room was typical of big old hotels from past decades, charmingly unmodernised. The meal was fine and the bar stocked draught ale though the two beers I tried were not in the same league as Dark Island.