Well it’s been a hectic year here on Orkney for us. We bought Lower Quoys in October 2013, moving from my beloved Yorkshire and leaving behind some special people and places. We had taken a few holidays up here prior to purchasing the place to see what it might be like to live here, but a holiday, or two, does not prepare you for the move. Some people say, you either love it or hate it, but I think I am somewhere in between still. Admittedly it is a place of surreal beauty, of seascapes that capture the heart, and serenity, something we all long for I am certain. But I am unashamed to say I still miss my home county and my family and friends, so we spend much of our time off visiting them as do most people we know who have chosen to make their home here.
We bought this sprawling 4 acre place after falling in love with its view over the back to Eynhallow Sound, for the space it provided and the opportunities it presented with two houses, a bungalow, a cowshed, a two storey hayloft/barn, and various other out buildings!
Three years on, we have finally reached the end of the first renovation. Hindsight is a wonderful thing isn’t it but working full-time meant that we were maybe just slightly optimistic and our completion dates were slightly out of kilta with our initial expectations! So we first opened our doors in September this year and have begun to take bookings which we are very excited about having spent thousands of hours, blood, sweat and some tears yes, turning the house into something people would like to come and stay in. I can still picture very clearly some of the state of some of the rooms, scraping old carpet glue off the staircase, stripping bannisters and decorating ceilings… and those were the easy jobs. The significant other did the hard graft. Hopefully the finished article has resulted in something people feel happy and at home in and hopefully slightly impressed by. He’s done a grand job turning the old girl into something worthy. We still need to create the outdoor seating area (a winter job) and although Lower Quoys has some fir trees in its grounds (a bit of a spectacle in Orkney are trees) and shrubs dotted down the drive, there is still plenty more we can do to turn the 4 acres into a great garden and our own private oasis for you to enjoy when your back from trips out.
So while we have been busy labouring, we have sadly missed a lot of what has been a most excellent Summer in Orkney. The Jutland Celebrations, the Weeping Window, picnics on the beach (we did manage a few of those!), and all the other great festivals on our doorstep passed us by this year. We did however manage two weeks away in July to see family and friends which was a well deserved and much needed bit of R and R!
I was quite thrilled by the sightings of wildlife in Orkney and Shetland this year, even though I didn’t spot them with my own eyes! Orcas were spotted a few times in Eynhallow Sound itself, which I followed with interest on Facebook and copied some photos to our Facebook Page courtesy of Tim Wootton who lives in Evie also and surprisingly is from our home town too. (Small World). Humpback Whales have been mulling around Shetland for the last few weeks too. Seals are common at the Sands of Evie and will often watch you play/walk on the beach.
Even September was a fantastic month for weather here – our first booking was mid September and the couple who came enjoyed a lovely two weeks of an Indian Summer. In fact the winter only really began to set in last month, and even now we continue to enjoy mild weather at times. I think we have had one frost as yet. The plants, I am sure are beginning to get a little confused!
So as we move into Winter, and prepare for Christmas, we look forward to 2017 with optimism, hoping that we have a wonderful Summer, and hopefully one that we can perhaps take the time to enjoy a little more – though there is still plenty to go at here at Lower Quoys!
Wishing all our past and potential future customers a very Merry Christmas and heartfelt wishes for 2017. We look forward to welcoming you to Lower Quoys, a great base from which to explore all that this wonderful archipelago of Islands offers, whatever your hobby and interests may be. The new 2017 Orkney Visitor Guide from Orkney Tourism Group has been launched, featuring all the inspiration and information you need to come and visit the Islands. Why not download a copy of the guide via the Visit Orkney website now and book your holiday for 2017. You won’t be disappointed.
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM JAYNE AND DARREN.