There was a brilliant sunrise over Scapa Flow, a huge natural harbour providing shelter for the largest ships afloat. I discovered I’d spent the night on a patch of land about six inches above high water next to what appeared to be a WW2 pill box.
The Flow was a major anchorage for the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic, first and second world wars. A number of ships, British and German, lie in its depths. As I looked out fishing boats were heading west in to the Atlantic Ocean.
Leaving Stromness I headed for the 5000 year old stone age village of Skara Brea on the shore of Skaill Bay on land belonging to Skaill House.
Less than half a mile north is a car park where I spent the night. Even in a place as remote as this, the local council provides well kept public toilets.
Only a couple of miles up the road from Skaill Bay is the village of Quoyloo home to the Orkney Brewery.
Since I was in the area I accepted the task of sampling some of the beers in order to provide useful information for friends and acquaintances. In short, if you see it on offer, try it.
I’m happy to advise that I’d be very happy to drink any or Orkney Brewery’s beers again.
The shop had the full range in bottle, including the “Skull Splitter” at 8.5%, so I was able to expand my knowledge.
Birsay palace was the residence of Robert Stewart, half-brother of Mary Queen of Scots, who became Earl of Orkney in the late 1500s. The Earl’s Palace is a fine courtyard castle, and remains in a remarkable state of completeness.
The Brough of Birsay is an uninhabited island which has a walkway at low tide. The tide comes in from both sides,so not a good place to be caught unawares.
The Standing Stones of Stenness were erected some 5000 years ago with outer ditches and banks and is believed to be oldest henge in the UK.
I arrived on a damp overcast afternoon but the following morning dawned bright and fair completely changing the appearance of the stones.
A view across Stromness with the hills of Hoy behind.
In St Magus cathedral there is a memorial to the officers and men of HMS Royal Oak sunk on 14 October 1939 in Scapa Flow by German submarine U47.
Hanging in the nave are fourteen painted sails each with a one line poem relating the pilgrimage of Earl Rognvald to Jerusalem in 1151.
The Orkney Vintage Club were holding their 2017 rally in Broad Street outside the cathedral. The Austin is a “12” with a Cliftonville body.
After looking round the exhibits I took a walk along Albert Street and Bridge Street to the harbour and boarded the 23:45 sailing to Lerwick in the Shetland Islands.