Country diary: nothing beats the thrill of having whales on your doorstep

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Stromness, Orkney: Via a WhatsApp group, fishermen inform us landlubbers of any sightings – and off we dash to the coast

The most charming thing about living in Orkney is the amphibious quality to daily life. One might mark the passage of the day by the movements of the ferry and the creel boats – one a sci-fi mammoth powering off over the horizon, versus the coming and going of merry little boats of blue and green, stacked with lobster pots and strung with bright buoy baubles.

Beneath the waves, the waters are busy too, with a changing cast of marine mammals. It can be difficult to keep track of our seagoing neighbours: a dorsal fin here, a tail slap there, and that’s all that might alert you to a passing pod. A landlubber like me could go entirely unaware.

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