Culture

What used to happen at the Ness, is still happening at the Ness

By Bernie Bell

I was thinking……….

What used to happen at the Ness, is still happening at the Ness. Here’s  the tale……….

Year before last, Mike and I went to the Ness of Brodgar   in time for the 1 o’clock tour. While we were waiting by the shop, we got talking with people. This began because there was a woman there with a dog, and the dog came over to say hello to me. So we got talking with the woman. She and her husband moved to Orkney in February. They have a son who would love to live here too, but the problem is work. She was un-aware of  the academic institutions, and also the renewable energy companies etc. etc. – possibilities for work on Orkney.  So, Mike gave her his card.  ICIT probably wouldn’t be the place for her son, but she can contact Mike and he can give her some info about possibilities.

Meanwhile, I was ear-wigging at the young chap standing behind Mike. He was very interested in the Barnhouse stone – didn’t know it as the Barnhouse stone, was saying he wondered about the big stone which lines up with Maes Howe. So, I said if they’d excuse me for being a flappy-eared person, I could tell him something of it. They were all v. interested. One couple from Kentucky, the other couple originally from Yorkshire, now living in Leicestershire. They asked about the Watchstone and had to admit that I know very little about why that might be where it is. Many questions  were asked, some I could answer, some I could conjecture about, some I had no idea! (I have since had some ideas about the position of the Watchstone – see P.S.)

The tour was about to start. The folk from Kentucky only had one day on Orkney – mainly staying in Edinburgh – so I advised them to have a look at Orkneyjar. The woman from Yorkshire and I exchanged cards. I’ve since sent her and her chap some of Euan ( MacKie’s) papers which I have in the ‘pooter as Euan sent me them.  The chap is v. interested in the whole alignments thing. I’ve sent them some other bits and pieces, and also suggested they look at Orkneyjar.  Thank goodness for Orkneyjar – it’s an easy word for people to remember. It turns out that Charleen is also a fellow weirdy-lady, so we have other things in common.

On the way back to the car, which we left in the Stenness stones car park, we noticed a young woman plodding along the road, carrying two bags. So, I asked did she need a lift? She’s from the Lebanon, was in London on business, and came up to Orkney to see the Ness! She did need a lift, to the Standing Stones hotel.

What I’m on about is…….what used to happen, still happens.  Folk come to the Ness from all over, meet, exchange ideas, information, some personal stories, part, taking their souvenirs with them! Some maybe keep in touch in one way or another.

Continuity.

Ness of Brodgar B Bell

PS  – Written to a patient archaeologist…………..”I did have a look at the ‘Friends of ……’ Facebook page – as much as it will let me as I’m not signed up to the dratted thing!  But…..one thing I saw on that Facebook page, which I hadn’t been aware of, was the little mounds in the old painting of the Watchstone, looking toward Brodgar.  For one thing, seeing that the large mound, which is now so prosaically called ‘Trench T’ was so big – until it was flattened – that’s interesting, but also the little mounds along from the Watchstone.

I’ve long been intrigued by the little spit of land there. I know it probably wasn’t a spit of land, when the lake was lower, but it is a spit of land now, and when you walk out on it, gives a great ‘view’ of Brodgar and the whole she-bang.  I like to walk out on it, and stand and look about me. The only thing I’ve found there is a little rubber ball on a bit of metal, which I think is something to do with fishing. I brought it home anyway, as a link with the place.

If anything, I see a twin to the Watchstone, and the idea was to look through the gap, at the whole Brodgar ……business.

It really does give a great perspective, a great frame to the place.

As you can see, this is what I’ve found of most interest on that Facebook page, and I now want to go back to the little spit of land again, and look again, with the idea in mind that there was another stone, and that the space between the stones may have directed the line of vision, and of thought, to the whole big rise in the land which holds the Brodgar……doings.

Just some thoughts.

I’m now intrigued by the idea of another stone. I don’t see why the two little mounds though?  Unless they’re simply the earth left by the disturbance of the work being done, which uncovered the stump of the second stone in the first place?  A great thing to have found out about though.

Have you ever walked out onto that spit of land – you probably have.  I like it, and have always hoped to find something marvellous there.  You never know…….

The Watch Stone Stenness

The Watch Stone Stenness

I’ve just thought of something else – another little spit of land which I like a lot, is…..if you go to Lochside Viewpoint, and walk through the first, marshy, bit, then, you can either walk left or right along the side of the  loch, or, go straight ahead and out onto a little spit of land. Again, I know it won’t have been a spit of land way back, but it is now. It’s the first place we stopped, the first time we came to Orkney – having got off the ferry in Stromness, we stopped there for Ben-The-Dog to empty his tanks, and found this place. When you walk out on that spit of land – it’s all there to your left, with an awareness of Staney Hill to your right, across from it all. And that cairn, by the marshy bit.

Another very appealing spit of land, with a great perspective  I have been known to walk out into the loch there and cast a couple of stones into the water, just because……………”

Harray Loch

Harray Loch


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