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Wandering Again

We only had one night home from Norway before setting off again; to Rochdale, our first visit there.

The friends we’re seeing there planned days out to Blackpool and Liverpool. I’ve been so busy I’ve not had time to catch up with my book reviewing – or anything else.

The last time I was in Liverpool was for an Eastercon, I’ve never visited Blackpool. I gave Eastercon a miss when it was there in 2004.


I’ve been away, with no internet access, for the last week. A trip to Norway. The scenery there is just fantastic. Stunning. I wasn’t planning on internet access but the mountains of the fiords would have blocked communications anyway. Those posts which appeared during the week had been scheduled ones.

As a result I’ve missed whatever happened during the week and my book reviews are way behind. I’ll catch up no doubt. In the meantime I have a couple more posts scheduled.

I spotted lots of birds in Norway; sparrows, wagtails, magpies – and gulls of course – but no Norwegian Blues.

At time of writing I’ve only been back a few hours but I’m pining for the fiords already.

Barony Mill, near Birsay, Orkney

This is the last working mill in Orkney but it isn’t commercially viable. It opens in the summer for tourists but does grind grain in winter – the local bere barley etc – for some local consumption and to keep the tradition going.

The young lad that showed us round (off to University later this year) said it was his grandmothe who was the last full-time miller there. Pictures of her at work were on the walls. Quite a thing back then for a woman to be in a job like that.

Barony Mill, near Birsay, Orkney

Old water wheels. They may get round to recommissioning these one day:-

Old mill wheels, Barony Mill

I took four videos. Click on each picture to get to its video.

Water Wheel:-

Barony Wheel Driving Wheel


Gearing, Barony Mill

Lower level workings:-

Barony Mill, Lower Level Workings

Upper level workings:-

Barony Mill Upper Level Workings

Evie War Memorial

Evie is a small village close to the Broch of Gurness in the north of mainland Orkney.

This simple pillar stands to the side of the A 966 road from Evie to Birsay.

War Memorial, Evie, Orkney

The inscription reads, “In memoriam. Died for King and Country in the Great War 1914-1919.”

Inscription, War Memorial, Evie, Orkney

The names on the memorial all date from 1917 and 1918:-

Names, War Memorial, Evie, Orkney

More Names, War Memorial, Evie, Orkney,

Ness Battery, Stromness

The main World War 2 defence artillery battery for the Sound of Hoy was the Ness Battery. A few buildings remain. They have that vaguely Deco style of a lot of World War 2 fortifications. We missed the guided tour so didn’t get the full access. We’d only gone out for an evening stroll.

Ness Battery, Stromness

Ness Battery, Stromness  2

Ness Battery, Stromness 3

Shore Battery. Atlantic/Pentland Firth beyond:-

Shore Battery, Ness Battery, Stromness

Graemsay and Hoy from Ness Battery:-

Graemsay and Hoy from Ness Battery

Birsay, Orkney

The parish and village of Birsay lies at the northwestern end of the mainland of Orkney.

Just off the mainland is the Brough of Birsay. Brough means island:-

Brough of Birsay, Orkney

A causeway allows access to the island at low tide. You can just see the causeway under the water’s surface to the middle left of the photo. The island has a Stevenson lighthouse on it.

Rocks and a standing stone at Birsay:-

Rocks at Birsay, Orkney

More rocks and a small bay at Birsay:-

Rocks and Bay at Birsay, Orkney

The remains of the Palace of a notoriously harsh Earl of Orkney are the main attraction in Birsay itself.

From road in:-

Earl's Palace, Birsay, Orkney, from Road in.

Reverse view:-

Earl's Palace, Birsay, Orkney

Interior 1:-

Earl's Palace, Birsay, Orkney Interior 1

Interior 2:-

Earl's Palace, Birsay, Orkney, Interior 2

Interior 3:-

Earl's Palace, Birsay, Orkney, Interior 3

We did wander round the graveyard of St Magnus Church, and took a walk down to the beach behind it.

Art Deco Lettering, Stromness

I didn’t spot much that could be described as Art Deco on mainland Orkney. The lettering on mosaic background on this shop in Stromness came closest:-

Deco Lettering, Shop, Stromness

Once a soda fountain and coffee salon the shop has now been repurposed to sell clothes:-

Art Deco Lettering, Stromness

Scapa Flow Scenes

Hoy and a boat on Scapa Flow:-

Hoy + Boat

Hoy from ferry across Scapa Flow. The island in the middleground, with the lighthouse, is Cava:-

Hoy from Ferry across Scapa Flow

A yacht on Scapa Flow, Hoy behind:-

Yacht + Hoy from Scapa Flow

Yacht and SS Hamnavoe from Scapa Flow. Island of Graemsay in middle ground:-

Yacht + SS Hamnavoe from Scapa Flow

Hoy and Flotta

On the way back from Lyness on Hoy to Houton on the Orkney mainland the ferry took a slightly different route in order to put off and pick up at the island of Flotta.

Looking back to Hoy from ferry to Flotta :-

Looking back to Hoy from Flotta Ferry

Miltary constructions go back a long way on Orkney. This is one of at least two Martello Towers on Hoy. These date from the Napoleonic wars:-

A Martello Tower, Hoy

Defunct military building on Flotta, Orkney. Plus trees – an unusual sight on Orkney:-

Fortification on Flotta, Orkney

At the Flotta terminal a woman suddenly cried out, “Look. A Seal!”

A Seal, Flotta

Three more seals were basking on the shore on the other side of the ferry:-

Seals on Flotta, Orkney

Structure in mid Scapa Flow. This was too far away from the ferry for me to make it out but it looks like an artificial island:-

Structure in mid Scapa Flow

Oil Terminal at Rinnigill, Flotta, from Flotta-Houton ferry.:-

Oil Terminal at Rinnigill, Flotta

Tanker and Rinnigill Oil Terminal, Flotta:-

Tanker and Rinnigill OilTerminal, Flotta

Links Battery Stromness

A spit of the Orkney mainland, a ness, juts down from Stromness towards Hoy. To defend the Sound of Hoy from the 1860s onwards artillery batteries were sited on the north shore of the Sound of Hoy.

We strolled down one evening not knowing there were remains still there. I suspect these are all World War 2 vintage.

Site of Volunteers Battery, Stromness:-

Site of Volunteers Battery, Stromness

Nissen Hut, Volunteers Battery, Stromness. I supose they kept ammunition and such here. I suspect it’s now used by Stromness Golf Club:-

Nissen Hut, Volunteers Battery, Stromness

Gun Emplacement, Links Battery, Stromness, Hoy in background:-

Gun Emplacement,  Links Battery, Stromness

Closer View, Gun Emplacement, Links Battery, Stromness:-

Closer View, Gun Emplacement, Links Battery, Stromness

Searchlight Emplacement, Links Battery, Stromness:-

Second Gun Emplacement,  Links Battery, Stromness

Reverse View Links Battery, Searchlight Emplacement. Mainland Orkney in background, island of Graemsay to right:-

Reverse View  Links Battery, Second Gun Emplacement

Sound of Hoy and Hoy from Links Battery Searchlight Emplacement:-

Hoy from  Links Battery Gun Emplacement

Remains of Gun Batteries, Stromness Golf Course, in middle ground:-

Golf Course Gun Batteries, Stromness

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