Orkney has a special place in our history , it is where Lee and I got engaged, where she spent many of her holidays as a child and has been a regular location for memorable holidays for us as the kids grew up.
So an obvious location for one of our shake down trips for Nelson the land rover, in this case we had to combine things with Lee doing some work with Farmers there and her Mum coming along to revisit old haunts, so the plan was for me to do a lot of cold weather wild camping to test out the landy and for Lee and her mum to be warm and comfortable in a rented holiday cottage.
However I did get regular visits, one of the key reasons was the great success of the new fountier stove in keeping the awning cosy and warm, you can see the set up in the picture above which was taken in the dunes at Dingyshowe bay as the sun set, this is one of three beach dunes systems which have been provided with small toilet blocks and is perfect for wild camping specially if you have a 4 wheel drive.
Orkney has some fantastic prehistoric sites this lakeside camping spot is beside the Ring of Brogar, visible from the road but a super spot for a stopover or a lunch. We were blessed with the most perfect October weather so the lakes were mirrors for super photo opportunities
I also spend a super evening beside the 3000 BC Skara Brae site on the beach, again with a little toilet block for convenience, in this case the frontier stove was of benefit to me and to a bunch of freezing surfers who were in small tents but enjoyed sitting and chatting in the awning
The pictures below show me setting up on the beach dunes and the view of the sunset which showed up an arch in the cliff this beach is on the bay of Skaill beside Skara Brae.
Next I decided to try out the new locking differentials on the Landy by heading down to the Churchill barriers and driving across the reasonably soft sand with the lockers on, good news is that they worked perfectly the combination of the Brigestone AT tyres and the Ashcroft Diff lockers made easy work of the soft sand on the beach at the barrier between Burray and South Ronaldsay which again has a nice little toilet block and a lovely beach and dune areas which is very drivable with the right gear.
The picture below shows one test of the traction
I had a lovely view from my reading seat in the back of the landy as I read “We will be Free” by Graeme Bell about his familys trip around Southern Africa and South America which is an inspiring and fresh read.
So all together a great week away, the systems on the landy, specially the Esbacher heater system worked perfectly and I gained a lot of confidence in the modifications to the drive system of Nelson getting me out of trouble – or even better not getting me into trouble in the first place. The light and the atmosphere of Orkney is very special and well worth a visit.
On the way home and on the way up I found some great wild camping spots, the one above is in Glenshee and the one below is near Aberfeldy, both will be updated into iOverlander.com along with the sites in Orkney itself.
Next stop Russia in May but we may fit in a few trips over the winter in the UK