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Helipads and endless sun

Today was the day we taught the students to dread the words 'photo clean' which means cleaning up the entire site for a photo. Our site is a mixture of beautiful ashy, middeny deposits which come up really well with the judicious application of a (plasterer's) leaf; flat stone, which brushes off quite nicely, and nasty rubble infilled with shillet which will never look more than adequate no matter how long you spend on it. Then there's the problem of the sun - way too much of it casting shadows and baking the surfaces. Once the photo clean is done there's then the dance of the ranging poles, getting all the scales into just the right places and adjusting them to suit the view from the drone flying overhead:

And all of this without a cloud in the sky, you've never seen so many people scanning the heavens and studying weather apps praying for the sun to go in. Of course yesterday, when we didn't need it, the mist closed in during the afternoon and we were hoping it might today, but no such luck. To add to the annoyance the clegs were out in force and everyone was swatting away like mad all day.

The other problem we've had today was that it was just on the edge of being too windy to fly Steve's drone, which is a sensitive little flower with its very own little helipad, complete with the letter 'H' in the middle just like a real one, and it doesn't really like coming in to land if it's too windy, as it tends to get blown off course and damage itself in the long grass. We got round this by building it a bigger helipad with a couple of folding tables as the base and it seemed to cope quite well.

Meanwhile the rest of the team were getting a lesson from Julie on site recording, stratigraphy and planning, still of course in the blazing sunshine:

Eventually a bit of cloud cover did arrive and Steve got all his photos safely done, before everyone headed off for the weekend, as we work Sunday to Thursday with Friday and Saturday off. Happily the larger MV Shapinsay is back on the Rousay run so there's plenty of space on the boat for us to get over and back, and some of the students are going to be doing the Mainland sites on Saturday. The weather forecast isn't great for the next few days anyway, but we are grateful at least that the bad weather coincides with days off rather than messing up days on site. See you on the other side!


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