ROOTS VI — Part 3

0n Wednesday it seemed like a “long day’s journey into night”. Boarded the train in the darkness of pre-dawn and due to delays due to rain-induced speed limits, did not arrive in Wick until dusk. But fear not this ride north turned out to be educational and enjoyable.

Some myths were dispelled. I had been led to believe that many Sinclairs left Caithness & the Orkneys for the fur trade because the land was barren and uninteresting. Well I stand corrected. Around Wick are countless farms (more beef than dairy) and very many sheep ranches. The land is relatively flat and while it can be windy and rainy it is not unpleasant — and this goes for the Orkneys as well.

By the way, the “digs” in Wick were very nice — a modern 1 bedroom condo instead a two hundred year old urban complex…

The Orkney experience was a day long adventure that started at John O’Groats with a 40 minute ferry ride across the edge of the North Sea. Then onto a modern bus with a cool driver/tour guide. Due to the “strep throat” lingering, I did NOT have their famous ice cream but I did have a very delicious “crab roll”. Visited St. Magnus Cathedral which the Presbyterians have nicely maintained but allow other denominations to use it as well. Visited the Highland Park shoppe but bought some Scapa at a grocery store for “resident” prices.

Back on “the mainland” in addition to walking parts of the old Town, another day checked out the remaining Presbyterian church and had a wonderful pub dinner of mince & tastiest.

Saturday was a special highlight. Over 3 hours at thebOld Pulteney distillery. The host was special… so knowledgeable and passionate. As the distillery was on a day off we were able to spend much more time at each section of the plant. This was especially great when we got to the “pot stills” which are unique to Old Pulteney and immortalized by their Whisky bottles. We enjoyed several delightful drams of the “nectar of the gods”.

The rest of the day was at the Wick Cultural Center which was another delightful place to visit in Wick. More on it later.

The day concluded with dinner at McKay’s.

and that’s it for today…