Dounby to Orphir, 32Km
That’s more like it! Two stages in one day. Change and Forgiveness done. Tomorrow I have a short walk into Kirkwall, the capital of Orkney, where my pilgrimage ends at the Cathedral of St Magnus. That leaves a couple of days to see some more of Orkney before the long journey home.
I reflected on Change yesterday when I should have been reflecting on Growth. Just look at that telephone box in the first photo, yesterday. Once upon a time it was state of the art but now it’s a relic of the 20th century. Soon they’ll all be gone. In Orkney they still have working telephones inside but elsewhere they have ATMs or old books. BT is selling them off. Should I buy one for the garden? No, but it’s great to see one in the middle of Orkney with its light on, ready to welcome you inside. I’m nostalgic for them because they tell the story of my youth. Now everyone has a mobile telephone but nobody calls you anymore. It’s the same with the post box. I’m so glad I lived through those years, those memories of evenings in the phone box, the letters that I treasure.
I walked across 32Km of rural Orkney today. The sun did its best to shine but there were some thunderous black clouds in the sky. There was no rain. The fields were on fire with every colour of sunshine and rain cloud. It was a delight to scan the landscape and say to myself, this is Orkney. I’m here.
I sat down by the church in Orphir to read the latest messages from Rose. She had just arrived in John O’Groats at the end of her incredible 120 day walk from Land’s End to discover her husband waiting for her there. What a nice surprise! They are celebrating together. And when I looked up, the fog was pouring in from the ocean and everything had changed again.
My walk finished on the coast where I saw the ruins of the 12th century Round Kirk. It was built in the style of the Holy Sepulchre. After Hakon ordered the death of Magnus, he made a pilgrimage to Rome and Jerusalem for forgiveness. It’s the sort of thing they did back then. It’s never too late to ask for forgiveness.