Tuesday, 12 January 2010

On a mission to crack the Norse code

The wind whipped the waves of Scapa Flow into streamers of white froth, and the swell built to a stomach-churning height.

An announcement came over the Tannoy – our ferry would just make it in to Stromness, but its return journey to Scrabster would be cancelled. The other passengers took in this information without a murmur. Orcadians know that they are cut off, that they live in a world apart.

The gusts blowing in off the bay gathered momentum, and the roar of the waves against the shore was lost in the hum of the engines. Across the water the oil terminal on the isle of Flotta sparkled in halogen blasts of orange and yellow light.

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