Orkney Mainland

Looking between houses at the sea and pier with boat. Stromness forms the gateway to Orkney for most people. The pier seen from between
the town's tight rows of houses
Orkney's 'Mainland' - the slightly confusing word is applied to much the largest island of the Orkney archipelago - is one of the most intensely occupied areas of western Europe. The resulting remains are fascinating and extend back for 5,000 years, offering evidence of complex cultures that have inhabited the islands. The ground is fertile and the fish have been plentiful, the main down side is the perpetual wind which greatly reduces the tree population. This page offers a glimpse of the island through some of the remains, and starts with the second largest community - Stromness. View from boat across sea to houses on land. Stromness - seen from an approaching boat... Foreground of fields, with land beyond  water and islets in evening light. ...Stromness - not seen at dusk. It lies behind the two islets (the Inner and Outer Holm) seen here from across Clestrain Sound The ferry from Scrabster (just by Thurso on the Scottish mainland) only takes about 90 minutes on a good day. But the Pentland Firth, through which it must plough its way, is notorious for its bad weather, and its exceptional currents. Indeed there are claims that current speeds of 30 kilometres per hour are found which puts it amongst the fastest currents in the world. So arriving at Stromness is not always a sad parting from the ship for some travellers! Ship at quayside being unloaded. Thirty years ago the Orcadia plied Scrabster to Stromness - a substantial vessel here unloading goods Houses around harbour, boat across harbour mouth. Stromness town crowds down around the harbour... Narrow paving stoned road with no vehicles. ...its narrow streets huddling along the shore. Maybe the wind explains the town 'planning', and the search for protection seems to have changed little in the last... Allay decending towards sea, houses almost touching. ...5,000 years from when the inhabitants of Skara Brae built their houses. One of the entrances to the village... Apparent entrance to tunnel. ...is shown above; although the people were certainly shorter, they would have still had to double up for this doorway - but it offers highly protected access Passageway with door lintal. A loftier entrance! The village of Skara Brae was uncovered from the sands in 1850 by a storm... Turfed wall of slabs forming room with sea beyond. ...It sits beside the Bay of Skaill on the western seaboard of the island. This sudden exposure left the houses remarkably intact. The relation to the sea has probably changed considerably over five millennia 'Living' room with stones forming cupboard and hearth. In the living area of one of the ten houses; featuring a stone 'cupboard' Three standing stones with sea beyond. Seven standing stones. Possibly around a thousand years after Skara Brae was occupied, the standing stones of the Ring of Brodgar were set in place
- although their date is very uncertain
Near standing stone and ten others. Single standing stone with complex outline. Rather like an earlier form of one of those Moai on Easter Island, this Brodgar standing stone keeps watch across the Loch of Stenness; and across the millennia Large stone circle on near horizon, sea and hill beyond. The Ring of Broadgar is one of only three full circles in the UK Ruins with sea and islet beyond. Jumping on another thousand years or more, the remains of the Broch of Gurness looks over to Eynhallow Isle Door height inside wall with sea beyond. The broch now stands at 10 feet (3 metres) a third of its original height Looking along central path with ruined houses on both sides and ruin of broch ahead. The broch was probably originally constructed in around 400 BCE and was abandoned just after the Romans invaded the British Islands Standing section of the wall of circular kirk. Concluding this whistle stop sketch of Orkney buildings - the round kirk of Orphir was built in penance for the murder of (later St.) Magnus, in the early 1100s Beach, sea, island. But the Orkneys are not all ruins. The beautiful natural landscape, here, it is shown in the
form of the Sands of Evie ...
Man with bull in show field. ...and the active community life, contribute their part to the richness of these islands Perfectly groomed sheep with rosette. Two photos from the annual show, with the award of first prize to the above competitor Small fishing boat moving in sea with Hoy hill behind. A boat leaving Stromness with the backdrop of Hoy - PicturePosting's next stop Trailers... The column standing off the cliffs of Hoy known as the Old Man. The next page of this section takes you to views of Hoy from the ferry as it passes the island's cliffs. Man in blue robes watching male calligrapher. The next page of the Mosaic Section is headed 'Creation v. Expression'.
Or go to the contents Go to the contents of the Mosaic Section. of the Mosaic Section.
Saturday 22nd October 2022 Murphy on duty ...guide to this site

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