What We Glimpsed At Glimps Holm

By Bernie Bell

Images by Bernie & Mike Bell

There are walks which are a bit short to be considered as ‘proper’ walks, but which are very good if you’re not feeling too good, and would like to get some fresh air.

We’d both had bad colds (every one’s had bad colds!), were both picking up a bit – it was a sunny Sunday, so we drove down to Glimps Holm and parked in the small car park by the road at the beginning of the Third Barrier.  The Churchill Barriers were built during the Second World War, mostly by Italian Prisoners of War, based locally.


When you go down the steps to the beach, you can see the solid construction of the Barrier

Churchill Barriers Bell

They need to be solid, as they have been there, doing their job,  for some time now, and they take some battering from the storms which hit these coasts – sometimes the Barriers have to be closed to traffic, as the waves over-top them.

You will also notice two remnants of the Blockships which were sunk here during the Second World War, to block access to Scapa Flow, before the Barriers were constructed.

They are now home to various forms of marine life, provide a welcome roost site for birds, storage for creels, and, in my view, are a kind of aquatic sculpture park – as there is landscape art, here we have seascape art.

We also saw some bird life – firstly what Mike thinks is a Great Northern Diver – I’m sure someone will correct me if he’s wrong!  Then, two Red-throated Divers – you can see the red throat, right there, as the bird is preening.

And, a Long-tailed Duck, which I simply  like for being such a neat, smart little bird

long tailed duck Bell

We carried along the beach and noticed, across the bay,  another reminder of World War Two, in the shape of one of the many concrete look-out posts which are dotted along the coastline of Orkney

World War 2 structure Bell

And across from that, Rose Ness – which is on our list of walks we haven’t done yet.

Rose Ness Bell

Curving around the beach, we encountered the Second Churchill Barrier, which blocks the way, and effectively finishes this short walk – accompanied by another rusty ship wreck, with a mast which to me, appears to be making some kind of statement or exclamation !

Barriers Bell

It’s not a long walk, but, on a fine, day, it’s a fine one, with bits of history, and natural history. We had meant to go to Robertson’s in St. Margaret’s hope for lunch  https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g551791-d10661724-r558550881-Robertsons-St_Margaret_s_Hope_South_Ronaldsay_Orkney_Islands_Scotland.html

But we met a young couple we know, who told us it was booked solid, for Mother’s Day – which shows how good it is!  Time was passing, we were hungry, so, back into Kirkwall to Judith Glue’s, a yummy lunch, and two dogs to tickle.

An outing which did us both a world of good – helped to clear the coldy cobwebs.

2 replies »

  1. Bernie, just getting out of the house is good for you. Re pics of ‘block-ships’, I’m amazed to see that the shot with the mast still poking out of the water, I’d have thought that would have been gone a long time ago. Last time I saw it some 40 years ago it looked as if it was about to collapse into the sea, just goes to show how wrong one can be.

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