It’s a gray January morning in Scotland’s Orkney Islands. I’m crouched in my bathing suit in the parking lot of a 17th century manor house, yanking a thick wetsuit over goose-bumped legs, in the company of seven other novice surfers.
Hoods on and boards in neoprened hands, our group tiptoes across a grassy path leading down to the Bay of Skaill. Neolithic stone dwellings, part of a UNESCO World Heritage site older than the Egyptian pyramids, are camouflaged like roofless hobbit houses among the green. As I slip across smooth rocks into the shock of North Atlantic water, the sun rises above sea cliffs at my back and a double rainbow arcs across the ancient bay.
I can’t believe I live here.
A few days later, my toes swell painfully, and the doctor’s office diagnoses chilblains — an old Anglo-Saxon term for what is essentially mild frostbite.
It was coincidence that I moved to the newly crowned “Best Place to Live in the UK.” I’m still unsure of the title…Continue reading from The Philadelphia Inquirer.