Flying into Kirkwall’s tiny airport you would be hard pressed to imagine anywhere else in the UK where a population of only 26,000, spread across 16 or so inhabited islands, could deliver such an incredible breadth of fine quality food and drink.
IT is easy for anyone to take a hasty – and understandable – dislike to the United Nations, particularly those who have tried to wander around the UN’s campus in New York.
If anything is going on there, roads are shut off, officious members of the NYPD stand, pompous and shouting while convoys of identical black SUVs with smoked glass windows hurtle past pedestrians squeezed into street corners.
Walk into the control room of the feed barge on a Scottish salmon farm today and what will greet you is more space race than farming.
There will be an array of screens, some showing ever-changing figures and charts but many with live video footage from inside the pens.
There will be electronic microscopes to monitor plankton levels, digital thermometers for the water temperature and gauges showing the feed levels in the stores.
THE first proper spring salmon I ever saw was pulled from the icy waters of the Tay on a bitter March day 20 years ago.
There was snow in the air, the water was barely above freezing – it actually felt lower than that even through a pair of neoprene waders – and the sky was glowering threateningly above the long salmon rods flicking lines out across the black river.