Friday, July 29.
Woke this morning to a sea mist hanging around, but by lunchtime had burnt off to reveal another beautiful day.
Headed south to the island of South Ronaldsay. All by road due to the island being linked to the Mainland by a series of causeways. The two island form two sides of the famous Scapa Flow, a natural deep harbour. The British fleet used the Scapa Flow as one of its bases during WWII. Winston Churchill, realised that Germany could easily sail into the Scapa Flow causing havoc to theBritish fleet. His answer was to have causeway build between the two islands. Seemed to work given the number of wrecks
Coincidently there was an Italian prisoner of war camp on South Ronaldsay, near the gaps between the two islands. The prisoners were therefore used to build the four causeways, which remain to this day and a known as Churchill Causeways.
The Italians in the POW camp had nowhere to come together in the camp, so asked the British if they could have somewhere to prey. The British, who must have been feeling generous because of the work being carried out on the causeways, gave them two Nissan Huts, which they turned into a church. It is the only building surviving from the war.
Statue of St George and the Dragon.
Everything for the church was scrounged or made.
The whole of the inside is painted. The walls and ceiling are actually flat but look 3D.
This little heart on the floor, is the stop for the gates in the above photo.
After years of looking, in 1960, the citizens found that the Italian POW Domenico Chiocchetti, who did all the artwork was still alive. With help of the BBC, he was flown to the Orkney’s, to oversee restoration of the church.
The heart was made and placed there by one of the POW’s who found out following the end of the war, he was going home the next day. He spent all night in the church making the heart, leaving instructions for a local girl, Fiona, who he fallen in love with, that he had left something in the church for her.
This is all that is left of the camp.
This has been a highly emotional experience.
Next up, the Tomb of the Eagles and the Liddle Burnt Mound.
The Liddle Burnt Mound and Bronze Age building was found in 1957 by a farmer who was quarrying a mound of stone to repair a track when he discovered an ancient man made wall. When uncovered, it was found to be a 3,000 year old Bronze Age building, complete with stone trough, water system and trough.
The following year, the farmer was walking along the sandstone cliffs when he noticed that weather erosion had exposed a section of horizontal stones on the edge of a grassy mound. Digging beside the wall he found a superb mace head, three stone axe heads, a black button and a small limestone knife.
A few days later he returned and uncovered a small stone chamber which contained about 30 human skulls. Among the skulls were many talons and bones of the white tailed or sea eagle. It was later determined to be a 5,000 year old Neolithic or Stone Age tomb. By the time it was completely excavated, 16,00 bones, 100 skulls, 70 talons and numerous eagle skeletons.
The entrance to the tomb aligns with the rising sun at the summer solstice . Very narrow entrance as can be seen below.
Walked back to Bess along cliffs. Great views and many flowers.
On the way back to Kirkwall, we saw a couple of sights.
Takes gophers, motorised chairs, to the next level.
Phone box in the middle of nowhere.
Looking across the Scarpa Flow with Scotland in the background.
Another fantastic day.