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Monday, 8 August 2016

A Stromness wander....

I had a wander down the street in Stromness last week. Dodging the rain showers.  Stromness is my favourite town, and where I would choose to live were I not on Graemsay.  Here are a few photos of the main street - and yes cars go BOTH ways down the street, mixing with pedestrians. It usually works as a good traffic calming measure but you do have to watch out as you wander along!

Many of the buildings facing onto the harbour have piers, and the houses that don't often still have access to the piers.  Years ago, when most folk would have had a wee boat, even houses ACROSS the street had right of access to the piers.  Not sure how many do now though.

And then the houses across from the harbour side have lanes running up the hill. Some of these are traffic free, some of them are not - you need to be good on the brakes if not!

This is a VERY steep hill leading up to the Community Centre (which was once a kirk).  Actually I think there were THREE kirks on this road at one time.

Most of the properties are right on the road, but some have a wee garden out front. This is a particularly pretty example I think.

And "down the street" are some lovely shops too.... This is one of my favourites, Cream is run by Sally, where she sells much of her own art, plus that of other local artists, and wonderfully imaginative "recycled" artifacts too. Definitely worth a visit!

And another of my favourite shops is the Waterfront Gallery, run by Trudi, lots of wonderful Orkney related things, as well as other fascinating curios, and at the back the Gallery which has lots of exhibitions throughout the year.

And the Bayleaf Delicatessen (it's just moved to new bigger premises) is a wonderful emporium of good coffee and great food!  Oooh wonderful cheeses, and lots of other "delicacies".

And despite the sign over the shop saying J. L. Broom, this book shop will forever be known as "Tam's" as Tam McPhail ran it for many years.  I think Sheena has taken over now, but as I say, it's still known locally as "Tam's"  And you MUST read this review to get a real flavour of this wonderful gem of an independent bookshop!  Bookstore Guide

And another of my favourite shops, the Quernstone, run by Elaine Bentley. Well two shops actually, one with lots of wonderful knitwear produced locally as well as brightly coloured accessories (I go and visit for my colour therapy in the winter, ha!). And in this shop, lots of gifts, or lovely household goodies like ornaments and lamps, rugs, cushions etc. It's an Aladdin's cave!

And this is the shop of the Harray Potter (ha not not Harry Pottery, but Andrew Appleby who has a studio out in the country (er, Harray) on the Orkney Mainland, but sells through various shops and has his own shop in Stromness. It's next to the Orca hotel - you can see a whalebone from an Orca on the wall.

And then there are the wee lanes running off in odd directions. This goes to the Town Hall (a former kirk) that now has concerts, and is also used by the Baptist Kirk for services.  The gouge out of the wall is seen around many parts of Stromness - the purpose was to allow carts to easily pass though! Ha! Great design feature!

And I love the rooftops in the town!

And the ferns growing out of this wall! Hmm suggests it's a wee bit damp!

So I hope you enjoyed your tour of the lower end of Stromness.  You could hop on the Orkney opened topped bus now for a tour round the countryside, it's just ready to leave the Stromness Travel Centre.  Hee hee in Orkney even the open topped buses need a bit of cover!


  1. Thank you Sian, I loved this report of your Stromness stroll. I think the town is a northern jewel - I made my own post about Stromnesse here:

    Maybe it's not up to date or has some mistakes, because I've never been there, it's just a virtual report...

    By the way, I'd like to publish also a little report of Graemsay, but I need yout authorization to use some of your photos, with a mention of the author, of course. May I ? I think you are somehow the Queen of Graemsay...

  2. I really enjoyed your blog on Stromness Mario and it certainly seems accurate to me. I'd be delighted if you wrote a piece about Graemsay. As long as you credit me I'm happy for you to use my photos. As to being the Queen of Graemsay - er I think that title goes to my cat Button!

  3. A lovely little town, would love to visit. A population of just 2,190! And I believe you can see it from your house if I'm not mistaken. Also heard you crossed paths with Mr Tense!

    1. Yes Stromness proudly calls itself a town, though it's smaller than many villages in other parts of the UK. LOL! And yes crossed paths with Mr Tense, he and Mrs Tense are good friends - despite me being off island on the day of his visit!

  4. I think Stromness deserves the 'town' title, as it does have all the services of a civilized southern town: library, hospital, museum, art galleries, post office, port, dedicated ferry line, 2 hotels, a handful of shops including bookshop and cafés... it's a lot!

    And Stromness daily atracts people from a larger area around, doesn't it?

  5. What a delightful 'arty' and 'crafty' guided tour around Stromness that was - I feel as if I have been walking there alongside you. Thank you so much!