The Orkneys, Stromness & Kirkwall, 9th August 2012

Our exploration of The Orkneys on the 9th August took us to Stromness, about 25km west of Kirkwall.

A port is so important for island communities (P1000531 © DY of jtdytravels).

Stromness, Orkney’s main port, has a population of 2,100.  The port has always provided a safe haven for sailors and was often the last port of call before heading off to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

Dundas Street, Stromness (P1000531 © DY of jtdytravels)

The main street winds and twists along the shoreline, often just one dwelling off the water’s edge.  The other side of the street is cut into the side of the the hill that backs the town.  Houses and shops nestle beside each other as they have for centuries.

Fine buildings attest to Stromness’ past prosperity (P1000532 © DY of jtdytravels)

.

Another fine building and blue, yellow and orange Orcadian flag , Stromness (P1000535 © DY of jtdytravels)

.

Many alleys are very narrow (P1000537 © DY of jtdytravels)

The street is paved with flagstones with a line of rough stones down the middle.  These stones were put in place to give horses a better footing.  Stromness has many very narrow and interesting alleyways to be discovered.

At the end of some alleys – great vistas (P1000539 © DY of jtdytravels)

At the ‘end’ of one street was the Stromness Museum.  A couple of stories high, this many roomed building houses an eclectic collection of memorabilia dealing with the history of the town, naturally, much of it with a nautical theme.

On our way back to our bus we just had to stop at an ice-cream shop which sold the most delicious confection in a cone.  I chose lemon sorbet and rhubarb and cream as my two choices.  Yum!

outside the Pier Arts Centre, Stromness (P1000545 © DY of jtdytravels)

We ate our ice-creams as we continued back to our bus making a brief stop at the Pier Art Centre, a renovated old building that houses modern art.  I preferred the ice-cream!

Back in Kirkwall we headed for St Magnus Cathedral, the most northerly cathedral in the British Isles.  Construction of the Romanesque building began in 1137  but took over 300 years to complete as it was continually added to.  It was built by the bishops of Orkney when the islands were ruled by the Norse Earls of Orkney.

.

Across the street from St Magnus Cathedral (P1000553 DY © of jtdytravels)

.

St Magnus Cathedral, Stromness (P1000522 © DY of jtdytravels)

.

Side elevation of St Magnus Cathedral (P1000587 © DY of jtdytravels)

.

Interior of St Magnus Cathedral (P1000558 © DY of jtdytravels)

.

One of the many old doors of the Cathedral (P1000552 © DY of jtdytravels)

Interestingly, this Cathedral is not owned by the church but by the burgh of Kirkwall.  This came about in 1468 as the result of an act of King James III of Scotland when Orkney was annexed by the Scottish Crown.

When construction began, the cathedral was in a diocese that came under the rule of the Archbishop of Nidaros in Norway.  The first bishop was William of Old and it was for him that the nearby Bishop’s Palace was built.  The Earl’s Palace is just across the road.  Both buildings are now in ruins.

.

one of the tombstones in the Cathedral (P1000559 © DY of jtdytravels)

.

A tombstone with a skull and crossbones (P10005641 © DY of jtdytravels)

.

A tombstone within the Cathedral (P1000579 © DY of jtdytravels)

.

The Cathedral has magnificent stained glass windows
(P1000569 © DY of jtdytravels)

.

Light floods through stained glass windows (P1000563 © DY of jtdytravels)

.

More coloured light enters the Cathedral (P1000565 © DY of jtdytravels)

.

EarThe ruins of Bishop’s Palace, Stromness (P1000588 © DY of jtdytravels)

.

The ruins of Earl’s Palace, Stromness  (P1000590 © DY of jtdytravels)

All in all, it had been a very interesting day.  D

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s