04 June 2010

Orkney- The Rest

Orkney seems so long ago - so long ago that my parents have actually spent a week in Orkney since I came home. They loved the islands too! It's hard not to, with so much to see and so much to do.

The beaches were spectacular.....blue blue water and white sand...oh and did I say that the blue blue water was freezing!!

Cliffs that were the home to a myriad of seabirds and amazing rock formations - such as this one, The Castle Stack at Yesnaby.

History and pre-history......above is the Italian Chapel, constructed by Italian prisoners of war during the second world war. There was a prisoner of war camp on Orkney, the prisoners building the Churchill Barriers to stop the Germans from being able to enter the safe natural harbour of Scapa Flow. The waters of Scapa Flow have been used as a harbour for centuries and played a significant role during both World War 1 and World War 2. After World War 1 over 70 German ships were held in Scapa Flow and following orders 51 were scuttled by their crew (without loss of life) in early 1919. During World War 2 a German U-boat entered Scapa Flow and sank HMS Royal Oak killing 883 of the 1400 crew. It was after this attack that Winston Churchill ordered the building of the Churchill Barriers to act as protection for the ships in Scapa Flow and linking several of the smaller islands in the archipelago.

The Italian prisoners of war lived in Nissan Huts, pre-fabricated corrugated steel huts, on the tiny island of Lambs Holm and were allowed to build a place of worship using 2 nissan huts. The interior of the huts was lined with plasterboard and painted to represent in the inside of a chapel - it is truly beautiful!

Below is a more ancient reminder of the islands past.....the Broch of Gurness, the remains of a circular defensive tower made of stone. The Broch of Gurness was about 20m in diameter and 10m tall and surrounded by dwellings. Built in about 200BC the tower appears to have been abandoned around 100AD. To clamber around over the remains and to walk through the entrance to the broch was fun. Imagining what it must have been like to live there on the edge of nowhere, in the wilds of Scotland all those years ago a little less so.


Thimbleanna said...

I love your new blog header! All your posts about Orkney have made me want to visit next time I come to Scotland. I know this is out of the blue, but can you see puffins there?

ibb said...

Lovely photos.
The first one of the beach is so impresionant and calm...what I need now.

Jade said...

That water looks so inviting, Di. But it always appears that the bluer it is, the colder, too.

la ninja said...

okay. that's it. you've done it. we're all going. you can call the local tourist authority to warn them of the imminent invasion ;P

those cliffs... the one thing I miss in the low lands. height and the perspective it gives.

Kate said...

Such beautiful pictures, definitely somewhere I want to visit.

Ravenhill said...

Oh, these photos are unreal, the beauty you have captured!

Fei An said...

oh, that is breathe taking!!!so beautiful!!! Interesting to know bit histroy as well, thanks for sharing this!
Orkney, I will be there on day.

jane said...

wow! it´s absolutely beautiful!