Pat McElhinney
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The Blackening in Orkney

The Blackening in Orkney

May 16, 2024

Dear Friends

Thank you for your support and coffee donations. I appreciate your kindness and generosity. 

I have not put a post up for a while, so I thought I’d record what’s happened over the last week or so. Last weekend I travelled to Orkney for a stag/ bachelor party. I’m best man at my friends wedding (Alex and Michelle) in June this year. To get to Orkney from Fort William takes a four hour drive and then a ferry from Gills Bay to Saint Margaret’s Hope, and then another wee drive to Kirkwall which is the town centre on mainland Orkney. The drive up the A82 was absolutely outstanding as the weather was perfect. I really enjoyed seeing new landscapes and areas I’ve never seen before. 

The weekend was organised. We were meeting up to have a meal and a few drinks on the Friday night We had also booked to go Sea kayaking on the Saturday morning with Me Alex and Neil

What a fantastic time on Alex’s Stag weekend. I’ve never been Orkney before and I’ve never been blackening before.👍Done both this weekend ✅✅🤣🤣🤣 

Essentially the blackening is an old Scottish tradition where the groom, best men and guys for the wedding party get covered in Eco Friendly molasses, flour, oats and any other sticky substance you care to think of. You’re then ferried around on a flat bed van and paraded around the town for 10 laps, to then be tied or secured to a local roundabout for a while. Released and then dipped in the sea to wash off the sticky stuff. 

What an absolute scream we had. Loved the criac with all the lads. Thanks for a very warm welcome guys. See you all in a few weeks at the wedding ❤️❤️❤️ 

I also presented Alex with a full size cutout of himself from the 2012 Firefighters Calendar we produced 12 years ago and he helped raise £17k for the Scottish Burned Children's Club. Firefighter Alex had a wee tour whilst in his trip to Orkney. 

I really enjoyed the kayaking on the Saturday morning with the team took us to a secluded beach and we kayaked out along the cliffs of Orkney while seals darted around us. The water was crystal clear and the sea was quite still which made it easier for us all to move along the coastline and enjoy the day. We were able to dart in and out of caves along the coastline and through ariches and openings that could only be accessible via the kayaks. The amount of bird life nesting in the cliffs along the coast was unbelievable and we kept our distance to prevent upsetting and distressing the birds themselves. Thankfully, nobody capsised in their kayak and after four hours we returned to the beach to get ready for the Blackening. This was a surprise for Alex as he was totally unaware that we had plans a rendezvous point to meet up with our friends to cover him heads to toe in any sticky stuff we could find. 🤣

I’ve never been involved in a blackening before, and I am truly blessed that I was able to experience it firsthand. I absolutely loved the fun and nonsense with all our friends together. For information, the girls don’t get away with it either, as they have a blackening event for the bride and bridesmaids.

I would definitely recommend Sea Kayak 59 Degrees North if you’re going to Visiting Orkney (Scotland UK) if you want to go sea kayaking.

I returned to the mainland on Sunday catching the ferry at 11:30 in the morning and driving back to Fort William that day. I was absolutely shattered by the time I got home as it is such a long drive and the weekend was full of fun and nonsense.

Again, thank you for your support and if you want to order my 2025 Scottish Landscape Calendar please click the link below. I have sold 100 already and I only have 200 left, so get in early to avoid disappointment

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