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Saturday 20 July 2013

Around Orkney.....

Of course no tour of Orkney is complete without visiting Skara Brae. TEXT  Much as I love Skara Brae, I have been round many times, so often take the chance for a cup of coffee and Cake while visitors explore. So for more photos take a look here.

Nearby is the lovely old St Peter's Kirk, no longer used for services but maintained in it's original state (1836) by Scotland's Churches Trust. A huge pulpit dominates - the hood to aid the distribution of sound from the Minister, no doubt! The Sunday School room is beneath the pulpit - no noisy children in days gone past in a kirk!

The website of the Trust states "The interior is dominated by a towering pulpit reaching to gallery height, the austere interior powerfully evokes the experience of Presbyterian worship in the 19th century when over 500 packed the building - each allowed a mere 18 inches of pew."

I love these oil lamps.... they would have been needed in the dark of Orkney winters...

Then it was back to South Ronaldsay for a visit to the Tomb of the Eagles (so named as sea eagle talons were found in the tomb), also one of my favourite places! Much as I love Skara Brae, I much prefer the informality at the Tomb of the Eagles. The family run the interpretation centre, and have lived on the land for hundreds of years. They consider the inhabitants of the tomb to be their ancestors. Ronnie Simison, who found the Tomb was a great character, and sadly only died recently. He will be greatly missed. Meanwhile his family continue his legacy, with his daughter showing us the various exhibits.  It's a rare pleasure to be able to hold the tools used thousands of years ago.

And the only way into the tomb is either to crawl or use pull yourself through on the "granny skateboard" (modelled here by a granny - tee hee, she'll kill me if she sees this!!).

The landscape around is bare and it's easy to imagine Sea Eagles wheeling around....

There is a lovely standing stone erected in memory of Ronnie Simison and his wife Morgan.

Then back to Stromness and towards Warbeth which overlooks the Hoy Hills and Graemsay.


  1. Love the church. I thought it looked very modern. Hard to imagine having the Sunday school under the pulpit.

    Skara Brae looks like a fascinating site.

    I even love the place names, Stomness, Warbeth, the Hoy Hills and Graemsay.

  2. I thought the wood of the pulpit looked modern too. As though it was from B&Q (a DIY warehouse)! Though as it's a conserved church I'm sure it has been properly done.... just looks modern. The pews were certainly "authentic". Not a lot of comfort there - no chance to nod off during the sermon ;-)

    Skara Brae IS fascinating - even though it's been "heritaged".

    Most of the names are Norse deriving from the Viking era. I love them too!

  3. I grew up a 17 minute car ride from Niagara Falls. Yeah ~ been there, done that ;-)

    Been to Orkney ~ and Skara Brae ~ twice. Loved it ~ fascinating (more interesting than the Falls, frankly, as much as I love water.....)

  4. I grew up a 17 minute drive from Niagara Falls. Yeah, been there, done that. My parents were involved in a group that provided home hospitality to international visitors to the local universities and medical centers, and guess what everyone wanted to see? Plus, at one point, both my parents had offices where they could hear the Falls from their work offices.

    Been to Orkney twice, and enjoyed Skara Brae both times. Much more fascinating than the Falls ;-)