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Saturday, 15 December 2012

A trip to the town....

Wednesday I was off to Kirkwall on the Orkney Mainland to do some last minute Christmas shopping and also to meet up with friends for lunch. It was a cold day but no frost, no wind and very little rain - so not a bad day really then!

Above you can see the sun catching the tower on St Magnus Cathedral. The building really dominates the town... in a good way

It has lots of lovely detail but I didn't have time on this visit to capture much. This is one of the side doors

The Christmas tree is well tethered down!  It's a simple tree with white lights on at night.  The fence around it is to protect the tree from the pack at the annual "Ba" game (a game of street football).

Two halberdiers guard the door to the town hall

While the shop windows are decorated ready for Christmas

Fortunately there isn't the crush or mad rush in the town at Christmas as there is in larger towns further South.  Though on a visit to Tesco (maybe the 21st Century Cathedral to Mammon) I did very unusually have to queue at a checkout!

I got back to Stromness in plenty of time for the boat home so popped into the Pier Arts Centre to take a look at the Christmas Exhibition. Anyone in Orkney can submit work to this exhibition, which fills three large rooms. Other craft shops in the town also exhibit art-work so at the moment Stromness is full of art! These two photos were taken in the abstract art gallery (I have to say I do like abstract art).

There were lots of paintings of more representational art too in another gallery but I was running out of time and it was hard to get angles and photos. However I did take a quick snap of this wonderful Viking boat!

Then it was a quick walk along the street to the pier, the boat and home.  Stromness has a Christmas tree too, and some street lights.  But Orkney doesn't go in for large light displays (apart from the natural spectacle of the Northern Lights!), it's much more understated. Probably as a result of it's Presbyterian roots!


  1. Oh Sian, your area of the world tugs at my heart.

  2. Am intrigued by the Ba Game. In Atherstone, a few miles up the A5 from Tamworth (where I live), the Shrove Tuesday Ball Game is a huge event, where hundreds of people surge up and down the main street, and whoever is left holding the specially-made leather ball(once upon a time it was a pig's bladder) at the end is the winner. It was established by King John, who offered a bag of gold to the winners of a match between the Warwickshire Lads and the Leicestershire Lads, but some local historians think it has Roman origins! All the shops and offices have to be boarded up, and roads are closed off. There are no real rules, although there are teams. People clamber up buildings, and scramble over each other in their efforts to get - and keep - the ball.When I worked on the paper we used to reckon there were a fair few old scores that got paid off in the melee!

    1. OOOh yes very similar. I'll post a bit more on it in a day or two with a couple of links to some video....

    2. Oh please do, I'd love to know more and see how similar they are.

  3. The lack of big light displays is a real recommendation!