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Monday 19 April 2021

A visit to the "Hup" (St Margaret's Hope)


I went off adventuring with a pal the other day to St Margaret's Hope, or "the Hope" or "the Hup" as it is known locally.  The Hup is a village in South Ronaldsay, now know as one of the linked South isles of Orkney.  However these islands (which include Burray too) were only linked via causeways as "recently" as WWII - 1944 (and actually not completed till 1945) via the Churchill Barriers. From Stromness I usually allow an hour to get there, although it's only about 20 or so miles.  But we don't have dual carriageways or motorways in Orkney! And getting stuck behind a tractor or heavy goods vehicle can fairly slow down progress.

Anyway - here are a few photos, which don't really show much of the village.  It was a chilly day with snow showers!  I have friends in the village so will be visiting again soon once that is allowed and can take more photos then.  But for now here is a glimpse.....

Above looks across the bay to the pier where Pentland Ferries sail from to Gills Bay on the North Scotland coast.  The ferry in port, a catamaran and fairly speedy.  This route is known locally as the "short sea crossing" and takes about 45 minutes.

A famous local writer, George Mackay Brown, said of the houses in Orkney that "they turned their shoulders to the wind". That is the gable ends are to the prevailing wind, usually with no windows.  Windows and doors reserved for the more sheltered (relatively speaking!) sides of the house.

An interesting, if rickety, staircase...

Love this old building. The stories it could tell!

Now this is definitely "living by the seaside"!

Along the street.....quiet eh?

These pictures were taken along Front Road, which borders the shore, hence Front..... and it's in Front of Back Road, which - er- runs at the back of Front Road....

Looking across the bay, the gorse is out.  I love the coconut smell of gorse on a warm sunny day.  This was not one of those days......

This was the weather that particular day - driving back to Stromness in a blizzard....


  1. Lovely to be taken with you to the Hup, Sian, and I am looking forward to more wonderful photos when you are visiting again, next time. You might on your way even take some photos of the Italian Chapel?
    George Mackay Brown I "discovered" only three years ago ("Hawkfall", "Beside the Ocean of Time"). Now you thankfully mention him, tomorrow I shall order "Greenvoe" and the "Collected Poems".

    1. Excellent! Enjoy Greenvoe and the poems! Not sure when I might get to the Italian chapel as I'm avoiding too many people indoors due to Covid restrictions. But fingers crossed maybe this summer!

  2. Thank you for including the link about the Churchill Barriers, very interesting reading. I envy you those skies!

    1. Yes lots of history in these islands! And we have BIG skies!! I love them!