Monday, September 23, 2013

Britain Day 4 - Kirkwall and the Southern Islands

Our second day in Orkney was a little cooler but still nice.  We headed east, toward Kirkwall and then down to the southern islands via the Churchill Barriers.  The first stop was the St. Magnus Center where we watched a video.  Then to the St. Magnus Cathedral.

I can't help but think that we did the St. Magnus thing right.  First, the church, then the video then the Cathedral.  It's a chronological way to learn about him.

Just outside of the Cathedral, I visited R. A. Finn's which had some wool for sale.  I chose a skein of North Ronaldsay fingering weight yarn.  I wish I would've gotten 2 skeins,
but I was also concerned with luggage space.

Just outside of Kirkwall to the south is the Highland Park Distillery.  We took the tour and learned a bit about the process.  The tour guide was very proud of the way the way they make Scotch.

The Churchill Barriers connect the Mainland with 4-5 other islands to the south.  There's a story about the way these were built during WWII, look it up online if you can.  They were built by Italian Prisoners of War.  

The Italian Chapel is a symbol of survival among the Italian prisoners during their stay on Lamb Holm Island.  It is the only thing that was let to stand there after the war.  I'm so glad I read the book, The Italian Chapel by Philip Paris before coming.  It gave me depth and insight into viewing this unique place.

On the inside of the chapel, the walls are painted paperboard.  The metalwork hand made with wrought iron.  The metal lanterns made from bully beef cans.  Most everything was from recycled or rough materials, transformed into something holy and lovely.  

As soon as I walked in, I felt as if I was in the presence of something holy. 

I think I could've sat in the chapel for hours, it's one of those places that makes me want to stop and just absorb the atmosphere.  To be still and quiet and not mind the passage of time.  So of course I sat and knit a little.

The backside of the chapel shows how the front may have looked until the chapel was finished.  Just two simple nissen huts put together.

We drove from the lonely island, inhabited only by sheep and drove south toward the next islands.  Lunch was calling our names so we stopped at the Orkney Heritage and Fossil Museum.  It's an interesting little place, we found some unique displays, but more on that in a future post.

As we kept driving, the scenery just did not stop.  The day became slightly misty and overcast with stronger winds.  But we came prepared and kept bundled up.

We had a quiet dinner with some simple sandwiches we picked up along the way and Orkney ice cream.  It was nice to have something simple to eat instead of eating out every night.

I tried working with Yvonne to make arrangements for a trip to a different island the next day.  Originally I had wanted to go to North Ronaldsay to see the seaweed eating sheep but there were no flights available.  We finally were able to book a car ferry to my second island choice, Hoy.

To view larger pictures, click on the photos.
To view all the posts for Britain 2013, click here.

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