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They are the best of friends and have been since they were hatchlings at Cantick Head on Hoy. They argue and squabble and scream at one another but wouldn’t leave each other’s side for anything. Two Arctic terns hatched in a pasture near Cantick Lighthouse on the south end of Hoy Fiona and Fenella consider South Walls their personal domain. I met Fiona and Fenella on my first stay at Cantick Light Cottages. There is a lovely narrow road that follows the sea to the lighthouse and it quickly became and still is one of my favorite walks. My first day out in June I was bombarded by Fiona and Fenella who with screeches and frantic, flapping wings admonished me to keep clear of the nests nearby. They dashed and swooped over my head and squawked to high heaven all the way down the road to the small beach where they finally landed and gave me some peace. I soon learned that they knew everyone and everything going on around Cantick and most of the rest of the island and it seemed everywhere I walked they appeared with a number of others who were equally as noisy and nosey. Like all of the Hoy creatures they feel comfortable in their part of the world and are pretty discerning about who comes and goes within the sphere of Hoy, especially a ‘who’ as different as Andy the “dark, hairy beast” on the ferry from Houton. Fiona and Fenella view this new development as a call for a ‘PLAN’ of action on their part to discover who and what exactly Andy is and if he is ‘friend or foe’.

From Cantick, to Long Hope, to Rackwick and eventually the ‘fearsome OLD MAN OF HOY’ they will not be deterred in solving the mystery of this interloper.

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For more about Arctic terns, Cantick Lighthouse and South Walls click on the following links.

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