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My First Orkney Wedding!

Last summer I had the great honour of photographing the wedding of one of my oldest friends. Jack is my former bandmate, co-conspirator, business partner, and about a dozen other things. It was incredible to photography his wedding to his wonderful now wife, India, up in the far reaches of Orkney!

It was an interesting trip, as I made the decision to try to get from Edinburgh to Orkney using a combination of public transport, biking, camping, and the ferry. This involved lots of taking apart my bike frantically at stations, very nearly missing the ferry both ways, and generally being incredibly stressed. I wouldn’t change it for the world. 

Part 1: Getting to Orkney

After managing to get to the ferry across,  I arrived in late evening into Stromness. My perception of Orkney was one of vast beaches, wide open fields, and easy camping, which it definitely was not. 

Picture of Northlink Ferries Terminal

I spent about two hours trying to navigate side roads and fences to find somewhere near the beach to camp, eventually ending up very close to cows, and very close to the sea, sleeping on hard rock.

Camping with Feet in Stromness Shore, Orkney

After a rough sleep, and some breakfast, I spent two hours fixing my bike, because the hasty assembly and disassembly had left it pretty loose and barely working. Loading my tent, bags, food, camera equipment, and myself onto the bike, I set off. I took a break about every 30 minutes to rest, take a photo or two, and wonder why my bike was making strange noises. 

Jacob, Looking Tired, Cycling Across Orkney

As the weather turned, I ended up in hard side winds, cycling down a main road, heavily weighed down, with lorries passing frequently both ways, leading to near fatal situations quite often. Thankfully I managed to get out of this section within an hour, and was back on my way. 

In Orkney, at the height of summer, night is more of a suggestion than a reality. This meant I could, in theory, go on indefinitely. I went to see the Standing stones of Stenness, and eventually, by late evening, found myself at the place I wanted to be, and set up for camp. 

The darkest part of night, in Orkney Summer

The next few days were a bit less gruelling. Lots of sightseeing, visits to Kirkwall, helping prepare the venue, and catching up with Jack. I did get really horrible sunburn on my legs cycling to Kirkwall, which didn’t help, and was entirely my fault. 

Part 2: The Orkney Wedding

Finally, the day of the wedding came. I had properly showered and cleaned up the night before to make sure I was presentable, and got to work! 

It was a beautiful day from start to finish, and I was incredibly happy to be part of it, as well as to immortalise the occasion for the future. 

Part 3: The Aftermath

After helping set down the venue, I headed on my way, meeting up with my friends and Prometheus Circus Group Co-Performers Camilla & Kacper. Travelling in the wonderful van Coco (RIP Coco, we miss you!), we travelled across Orkney.

We spent two days walking across the island of Hoy, visited the Old Man of Hoy, and scrambled up to the peak of the mountain.

We saw some incredible sights, got bitten by a lot of midges, had good fun and eventually I headed back over the water to mainland Scotland.

Trail walking on the Isle of Hoy, Orkney Islands, Scotland

Across nearly a week of camping, I was incredibly lucky that it didn’t rain a drop the entire time. Especially considering I learned a few weeks later, my tent was absolutely not waterproof, and would have been completely destroyed. I promise I am more forward thinking in my work than in my own time, and will probably take an easier route for my next Orkney Wedding.

Thanks for Reading!

Jacob