Orkney Islands-South Island Panoramic-Aug. 14/22

I’m not sure how much panorama we will see today. It is very foggy.. but the sunny is trying real hard to come through. Founded by Vikings… around 1000AD. Kirkwall translated was “church on the bay” in Norwegian. Population pre-pandemic was 22,000 but could be more now because a good number of people if they had to social distance, felt this was a good place to do it where there were so few people.

At the beginning of the war the citizens of the area scuttled 4 ships in harbour to narrow the entrance of the harbour during war but one spot it was near impossible to secure so in one attack in August 1939, the Germans manage to get through killing 835 boys of out 1200 that were on a training naval ship. They were just 14-18 years old. Since then they have built 4 barriers (causeway) across the entrances made of huge cement blocks. If you cross a causeway when it is stormy you may not get home cuz they sometimes close it if the waves come across.

One of the 4 causeway crossings in the fog

Our first stop is at the Italian Chapel, built by Italian prisoners of war. When the British returned to the otherwise uninhabited island to dismantle the prison after the war, they were so “gob-smacked” at the chapel that they could not destroy it.

The water temperature as well as air temperature is 12-13C in the summer.

The inhabitants have to try to cram everything in between May and September. The cruise ship industry is trying been trying to extend the season. They celebrate with an agricultural county fair in the middle of August …..which seems to coincide with the beginning of winter.

Agriculturally, beef cattle plus sheep are big…. Not grain.

We stopped at a village called St Margaret’s Hope….. a pretty little place on the water with well kept homes and gardens. It is our 2nd stop. The gardens had plants much as we have at home in Victoria.

Blacksmith museum in St. Margaret’s Hope
On the shore at St. Margaret’s Hope
Seen on someone’s property post .. in St. Margaret’s Hope

Scapa Flow… the home of British navy … our 3rd stop for which we cannot see a thing because of the fog.

The people feel closer to Norway so refer themselves as Orkney Islanders or Orkadians, not British or Scottish.

Pre-pandemic unemployment was between only 1-2% probably because in times past people knew that if they didn’t work they didn’t eat. Keys are left in doors and cars cuz they is no crime and if you need to borrow something, we’ll go ahead….. and everyone looks out for each other. Ferries run between Aberdeen, Kirkwall and Shetland. There is an airport here but there probably will be no flights today because of the weather.

Land reclamation has made the cathedral and earls palace in Kirkwall (which was originally at the shoreline) now in middle of town.

After our tour we took the shuttle into town. We checked out the cathedral built in 1150AD as well as the bishop’s and earl’s palaces…. built shortly after the cathedral. When we were going to exit the cathedral, a huge bagpipe band played on the church steps. That was followed by a parade of horses that of course, left their piles of poop all along the route.

St. Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, Orkney
The Bishop’s palace of Kirkwall
Check out the booties on this pooch. He had the booties made special after having had surgery.
Horse parade in Kirkwall near the cathedral
Miniature ponies in the parade

Finally by the time we returned to the ship, the skies cleared somewhat and we had to remove jackets. It was too hot.

2 thoughts on “Orkney Islands-South Island Panoramic-Aug. 14/22

  1. Marion Brown-John

    Oh wow, I was in the Orkney Islands back in 1975, felt like I was stepping back in time then, it was so quaint! Would love to go back. Continue having a great adventure! Cheers, Marion

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