Answers to your Questions

9 July 2020, 12:07:33


stjohnschurch yr4


Hi thank you for showing us this . What do you do in your spare time and are you like a viking? We learned all about the Vikings this year and we loved it!

Very welcome. I'm not although Orkney does have strong viking links as you'll know, and I may look slightly like one. We listen to a lot of music, watch a lot of TV, read, I game online, we walk a lot, and birdwatch, or whale watch, take photos, swim if we lucky, quiz, pub, visiting friends. Annelliey also likes to bake, do crafts, DIY and small motorhome conversions. We do less now but we used to goto the local dances and the Rousay regatta and things. The regatta was a race between home built boats (many with themes and people dressed up) between the islands of Rousay and Wyre, but this has stopped now sadly. We also have cinema nights at the school and sometimes when the cinema truck that travels Scotland visits. 

What time do I need to wake?

9 July 2020, 22:52:05




Hi, Craig and Annelliey


Before I ask my question I love your pictures!!!!


My question is, How early would I have to get up to go to secondary school?? I saw on another of your questions, that I'd have to get a boat!!!!


love Lacey.


p.s I love your blog!!!!


Thank you for reading our blog, it's great to know that you enjoy it.

As for schools, Rousay has a Primary School,  for all the younger children on Rousay, but it also teaches children from the other 2 islands in our little group, Egilsay and Wyre. The children there have to get a boat to go to school from 5 years old!

On Rousay it is only the older kids at secondary school who get a boat. But they have to get up early! There is a mini bus which drives around the island at about 7am on Monday morning  picking up the secondary school children, this drops the kids off at The Pier at about 7.40 in the morning,  ready for a 7.45 boat crossing. The school bus meets the boat at 8.20 and gets them into the big town of Kirkwall by 9am, and drops them off right at the school just in time for the start of the day.

Some younger kids catch a bus at 3.30pm at school which takes them back to catch a boat home the same day. But most of the older children stay in Kirkwall at the school for the whole week, and only get the boat back on Friday after school.  The children all stay in 'halls of residence ', which is like you see on Harry Potter films where the children have their own bedroom at school.

Peaceful place

8 July 2020, 07:31:42


st johnschurch school

year 6

Dear Craig and Annelliey,

First of all i think your island is so beautiful and i imagen it is so peaceful there since there are just a few people there.I would love to go there and maybe i will one day for holiday.By the way,i loved your pictures and i was wondering,what camera do you have?Any way,those were just amazing i would have never been abale to take those.It must be really hard to live on this island but i think that it would be an absolutely fantastic place to go to for holiday.So yeah i know this wasn't really a question but i hope you enjoyed reading your complements from me.And i just want to say that your life must be amazing in there and i am looking forward to learn more about your island.Thank you.I hope you have a lovely time exploring the world.

From Amelia.


Thanks Amelia, we love it too, and I hope one day you get to visit. It is indeed a very peaceful place and without doubt its isolation and access make this so. Although still limited compared to down south the islands have definitely come a long way in a very short time. The weather (and nature, ie midges and clegs) can still be harsh but our connections and infrastructure have improved massively from a few decades back. Things such as a car ferry and internet access must have made a massive difference to people. Thank you so much for the complements on my photos, I'm still learning, and still largely often about access to equipment and such natural wonders. I'm sure you totally capable to take such photos given the chance, and one of the joys of cameras (and binolulars) is that they force you to pay more attention to the world and your interest of the subject just grows (ie birds, or flowers or the night sky). 

Is it a special camera?

8 July 2020, 07:32:41


St Johns Church School

year 6

do you guys have some special camera?



Not really. It is a digital SLR, was relatively expensive when new but now old and a lot cheaper. The lenses are somewhat specialised and we use a DSLR as they so versatile. ie we can change lenses according to our subject. My main lens is 400mm 5.6 (for birding. More suited to birds in flight than small perched birds. Much bigger lenses cost a lot of money and are very large), a macro lens for close up photography (bugs and flowers) and 10-20 wide angle 2.8 for night skies. You would struggle using a phone for sure but you can now achieve very good results with much simpler gear. But no solution is as cheap as we'd like. 

Do you have TV?

9 July 2020, 14:25:13



year 4

Hi Craig, do you have TV ? If you don't what do you do? From Jaycee.


Hi Jaycee. We do, and the internet thankfully, otherwise I think we woud struggle as I watch a lot of TV and play a lot of videogames.

What can you do ?

9 July 2020, 14:31:11




what do you do when you have nothing to do? are you worried about cov19 i am?


I always have something to do, although when we have power cuts I'm much more limited. But when not working (which is largely mowing, strimming, gardening and planting trees for me, Annelliey is both gardener and house restorer) I love to listen to music, watch films, play online games with friends, read. And having nothing to do goes perfectly with birdwatching, a great time filler. :)

I'm not overly worried but it clearly is a major event. I think we have the means to get through this, we just need to look out for each other and keep up with sensible measures. Cleaning hands, masks and distancing. Obviously in my world this is much easier and other than my direct group I've only seen 3 or 4 people face to face in over 4 months and those were still at a distance. Much harder for those in more populated places without doubt. Don't worry too much, just enough to keep you safe.

My Camera

8 July 2020, 07:31:52


St johns church school

Year 6

Hi Craig and Annelliey how are you.I hope you are safe and well.Your pictures are amazing also what camera did you use for the pictures.If you wanted pet would you want.Also did you see the northern lights.What did you spend most of the time doing.How old is the house. Hopefully i didn't ask to much questions


I hope your safe and well Thank you:)


Hi. We are both great thank you, and keeping safe. And thank you for your kind remarks on my photos. I use a Canon DSLR and a 400mm lens (for bird photography) and a 10mm-20mm WA 2.8 (to see as much as the sky as possible while allowing maximum light in for the Northern Lights). We have two cats (one who shares our house is a one eyed ex feral, and the other who lives at the big house has simply adopted us). We get many other cats through (ferals and a few neighbours). We also have two "pet" sheep. Not strictly speaking a pet, but tbh, I would love to rescue donkeys, and would certainly have one or two about the place, such wonderful animals. 

Northern lights?

8 July 2020, 07:32:58


St Johns Church School


Could you send pictures of the Northern lights or any natural beauties?


Yes. Still not fully happy with any of my shots but they certainly catch the moment if not great photos. And you must remember photos really exaggerate the lights, far subtler in real life. While photos can truly be exceptional (I have a FB friend whose work is stunning) I cannot recommend experiencing them enough, truly is magical. 

How did you get there?

9 July 2020, 22:53:19


St Johns Church School


Hi , I have a question for you Craig

How did you get to that astounding place and what made you think to go there?

anyway thank you for your information about Rousay


I first went to Rousay as an Archaeology student from Peterborough College on a college trip to see all the really old buildings on Orkney when I was 18. (Orkney is very famous for its archaeology,  which is the study of ancient people and where they lived, and lots of TV programmes are made on Orkney about it). We came over from Mainland Orkney on a day trip, and I sat on top of the Taversoe Tuick burial mound and decided it was the most beautiful place on Earth, and that one day when I was old I would retire here.  For the next few years I went back on holiday every April, with my mum, or with Craig. My mum also decided that she wanted to live on Rousay, so started taking my Dad there on holiday too.

In the end my Mum and Dad did move up to Rousay, and they told us about the Gardeners jobs.  So it was probably about 15 years between me first going to Rousay and Craig and I moving there.  We haven't retired yet, but its the next best thing.

Your Camera?

8 July 2020, 07:13:47


St Johns Church School

Year 6

What equipment do you use to make those photos? What jobs are there? Is there the northen lights? I would like if you responded. Thank you. :D


I use a Canon 7D digital SLR and my main lenses are a 400mm 5.6 (to get closer, for birding), 100mm macro (for insects and flowers) and a 10mm-20mm 2.8 wide angle for landscapes and the northern lights. We get pretty good displays here although generally on the northern horizon. On very active displays they appear above you which we have seen only once here. Although still going on, it's now the wrong time to see them as our days are so long in the summer, with barely no darkness at all. 

Jobs are mainly farming (beef, sheep and fish farming here) as well as the more standard jobs of everyday life (schools, hospitals, police, council works). We also have a lot of people involved with tourism and a growing renewable energy industry (wind very big here but also tidal systems).

What equipment do you use?

8 July 2020, 10:29:06


st johns church school

year 6

do you know everyone there?


Ha! That did make me smile :) . Not quite but for sure most people probably do, especially within certain roles (the ferry and postal staff). But we know most people who have been here for a while and everyone is very friendly. You do a lot of waving here when out and about. 

Do you get lost?

8 July 2020, 07:33:30


St Johns Church School

Year 6 LE

Hey Craig & Annelliey! have a few questions for you..


1. Is there a certain amount of boats you can take to the main lands a day?

2. Have you ever gotten lost on the island?

3. Have you ever seen the Northern Lights?

4. What would you say the biggest difference you would say there is between life in the UK and life on the island? :)


Thanks for reading my questions! :)


Hey, thanks for asking them. 

1. During the summer it is about 6-7 a day for our island (less for Wyre and Egilsay). In winter it is a reduced schedule and no sunday sailings. It can be cancelled in extreme weather conditions but this is very rare. Likewise you may see whales from the ferry and the timetable is no longer the highest priority. Much to the delight of anyone lucky enough to be on the boat

2. Not lost no, really hard to do as very small, very round and virtually no cover (trees). Did feel rather isolated when we decided to walk across the middle of the island across the moors). Quite boggy/trenchy but we all got through safely.

3. A few times now, also seen STEVE and noctilucent clouds. Some amazing displays including a very bright one a few years ago when it was happening directly above us. A very rare treat indeed. But always a pleasure, even if it is far more subtle than what we see in photos. 

4. We are still UK (just) but the main difference has to be the level of isolation, which has pros and cons. It's a wonderful and wild place where it is easy to find your own space but we are somewhat limited, especially without planning and time. I was never a child growing up here but the local children have to catch the ferry to secondary school as we only have a small primary. But it all seems to run smoothly and I believe it is just becomes normal, very much like for the rest of us.