Orkney photos 1968
In the Gloup Leaving the Brough of Deerness Stromness © Pat Brothwell The road to Newark Bay © Trevor James Camping at Newark © Pat Brothwell
With thanks to Ingrid: these are edited comments from a letter she wrote home in 1968. … many memories including the shells apparently placed over ears of skulls which we were never sure were intentional. Also swimming in the icy water and drinking Highland Park of an octane I’m told is no longer produced. The sunny Orkneys: they have had 2 wet days in the last month, apparently and I am browner than I have ever been in my life – or perhaps it’s dirt as there’s no shower or bath and only 2 washbasins with hot water between 20 of us – and those are in the entrance hall. Still it’s incredibly healthy swinging picks & wielding shovels. We have uncovered a large part of a very nice little building on the shore, we’re not quite sure what it is. Plenty of bones and skulls, we are now quite sure it’s Viking. We’ve seen a couple of other sites on the island including a burial mound called Maeshow which is exactly like the Mound of Vandwy in Elidor; you have to bend double to get in and inside there were 3 sinister recesses leading off to burial chambers all dripping with slime. Yesterday we were taken by a fisherman in his boat along the coast and into various sea caves you wouldn’t have thought a boat could get into. There were lots of shags, and someone also saw a puffin. The island is very beautiful with the most lovely hayfields full of purple clover and blue vetch and mauve self-heal and buttercups and pale pink long grasses and huge daisies. The land is very flat and undulating and there are no trees. All the houses are nooked into the land low down to keep warm in winter I suppose. The weather is so calm now that the sea is still and you can see the offshore islands reflected in it. One of the most strange effects of the flatness is that you tend to feel very high up and squashed against the sky. There are lots of curlews. Click on photos to enlarge