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What it takes to not see Graemsay...
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What it takes to not see Graemsay...

Following on from the comments on #26154, and as an easy alternative to climbing the hill again, I thought I'd have a little fun with a paper exercise to show that my contention as to the invisibility of Graemsay is perfectly feasible. The upper diagram shows a transect from Ward Hill to the most distant point of Graemsay (carefully constructed from the OS Landranger map) and the angle below the horizontal at which Graemsay would begin to come into sight. The lower diagram transfers that angle to the sightline of a person of average stature, to show that a relatively flat area of only 22 metres radius in front of the viewer would be enough to blot out the whole of Graemsay. I can hear the mutterings, "Why doesn't the bloody man get a life?", but it's too late now. Anyway, I've got a nice candle to illuminate our supper when I'm proved wrong.
Picture added on 25 February 2012 at 13:02
Or you could go to Graemsay on a clear day and see if you can see the cairn. But that raises another question - do you expend more energy wandering all over Graemsay with a pair of binoculars than you do in climbing Ward Hill?
Added by Paul Sutherland on 25 February 2012
I've had a few days in Graemsay and I can assure you I would rather have been climbing the Ward Hill.The seats in the waiting room don't make for a good sleep!!!
Added by W Watters on 25 February 2012
But Ian, can you see Sule Skerry from the top of the Ward Hill. Isn't it an Orkney Island?

[Wasn't 'inhabited' part of the definition? - Steven]
Added by Ian Cameron on 25 February 2012
Suleskerry was inhabited by lightkeepers at the time, and were the skerry invisible, like Graemsay, I'd be happy to bring my candle round for supper at your place Ian. However, Suleskerry lies very comfortably within the 'visible arc' extending about 5 degrees below the horizontal, as do all the inhabited islands except Graemsay. (Actually, it was too hazy for me to see Suleskerry that day, but that's neither here nor there in the Great Graemsay Visibility Debate.)
Added by Ian Hourston on 26 February 2012
I think I may have misunderstood the crux of your question Ian. You weren't suggesting Sule Skerry is outside the 'visible arc' as I called it, but that it would be below the horizon. Well, as I said, I couldn't see it when I was on top of Ward Hill because of haze, but it would have been above the horizon. I believe the distance to the horizon from the top of the Ward is about 46 nautical miles, whereas Sule Skerry is some 40 land miles distant. (Those of a metric persuasion can do their own sums - and those who have actually seen Sule Skerry from the Ward Hill won't have to do any sums at all.)
Added by Ian Hourston on 26 February 2012
Before I die - which could be almost any minute now - it would be nice to have this little conundrum settled one way or t'other. With summer-time officially upon us, and no doubt increasing numbers of midge-ridden visitors clambering the Hoy hills, perhaps someone might submit a couple of photos: one, a shot showing the observer standing beside the topmost cairn; two, a shot from that position towards Graemsay. If any part of Graemsay appeared in the latter, I'd accept I was wrong. (Six years without such evidence makes me suspect I was right. Or more likely, that nobody gives a monkey's either way.)
Added by Ian Hourston on 03 June 2018
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