Do Ducks Swim?

From time to time as administrator of this lowly website, I take a tour of the sources of traffic. I like to get lost in the search terms that bring people here. Today I want to share one of those with you:

Is sanday windy?

It’s Orkney. So of course it’s a little breezy.

Dear searcher, if you are still around, may I commend you to my husband’s weather site. The data can be interesting.

Really it is all about perception, though. How do you determine “windy”. A holiday visitor from Sooth will certainly need to bring warm woollies whatever the time of year. Are you thinking of coming to live here? We can assure you that after a few months here you will not reckon the same. You will acclimatise. There are many days when I go outside and gasp at how very still it is… only to note that the anemometer is turning and that the windspeed would be reckoned by Mr Beaufort to be a Gentle Breeze (8-12mph) or more…

But to answer the question with specifics:

The average windspeed for the last 12 months has been 15mph. That’s a Beaufort 4. Average. Think about it.

Beaufort number Description Wind speed Wave height Sea conditions Land conditions
4 Moderate breeze 20–28 km/h (6–8 m/s) 1–2 m Small waves with breaking crests. Fairly frequent whitecaps. Dust and loose paper raised. Small branches begin to move.
13–17 mph
11–15 kn 3.5–6 ft
5.5–7.9 m/s

In the last 365 day period, we had 39 Gale Days. Our highest gust was 90mph.

Seven years ago they scared the wits from me. Now, I scarcely notice a gale speed wind and take things in my stride until we approach a F10.

It’s different up here. Wind is not so threatening. The houses are built to withstand it – a stone cottage doesn’t sway far in a stiff breeze, unlike a tower block, and there are no trees to come crashing down. Population levels are low and properties scattered, so the likelihood of of flying debris causing damage is far lower than in centres of population.

Wind is a part of our life, like breathing. Like ducks swimming. It is invigorating and the washing dries rapidly… don’t let it put you off visiting or living in this fabulous place. If you come to stay, we’ll show you how to spin some wool and knit it into wind-chreating woollies. Job sorted.

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