Culture

The Healing of Brodgar

This walk took place before the increased restrictions to movement.


By Bernie Bell

Mike is now working at home – only going into town when needed, to buy essential supplies –  and I’m  being a hermit! But that needn’t stop us from going for walks. So, on Sunday, as usual, we made sandwiches and headed for the RSPB ‘Birdy Walk’ at the Ring of Brodgar, as described at the end of this piece…. https://theorkneynews.scot/2017/04/06/bernie-bell-orkney-walks-with-stories-the-procession/.

We parked in the car park for the Stones of Stenness ….

Stones of Stenness Bell

…walked along by Harray Loch, past the site of the archaeological dig at the Ness of Brodgar, which has been postponed for this year, but will resume in 2021.

Ness of Brodgar Bell

Crossing the road at the end of the lochside path, we go straight ahead onto the Birdy Walk..

Crossing point at Brodgar Bell

Having walked along by Stenness Loch, we sat on a conveniently placed bench to eat our sandwiches, hoping to see an otter, and noticing that there is still some snow on the Hoy Hills, on the 22 March.

Hoy from Brodgar Bell

And, sitting there, looking around me, I got to thinking ………Brodgar will get a chance to heal – a much needed chance…

path at the Ring of Brodgar Bell

The monuments are about people. They were planned by people, and raised and built by people.  They meant a lot to people, and still do mean a lot to people – they are of the people.

One person matters more than even the most monumental monument, and the preservation of an ancient monument isn’t worth even one human life.

What I was thinking though, was – there will be less visitors to the Ring of Brodgar this year –  a lot less visitors – less foot-fall, and so poor, down–trodden Brodgar will get a chance to rest, recover, rejuvenate and …heal.

It was just three months since we were there last, on Christmas Day 2019  https://theorkneynews.scot/2019/12/31/a-cautionary-tale/

A lot has happened in those three months.  On our most recent walk we met some folk, out on a Sunday with their children and dogs, and when we met, I’m pleased to say that everyone did the right thing.  Mike and I at one far side of the path, and the other folk at the other far side.  We’d pass by, with an “Aye Aye” or a “Take care of yourselves”, and a smile. A smile goes a long way.

Maybe , when this crisis is over, and the world settles into whatever normal life will be then, there might be less massive liners coming to Orkney, and a more steady, balanced flow of folk, coming to pay their respects at Brodgar. And the healing can continue. Maybe.

Ring of Brodgar Bell

Stay at Home Brodgar Covid 19 by Stewart Bremenr

Art work by Stewart Bremner

If you would like to see more of Stewart Bremner’s work click on this link: Stewart Bremner

3 replies »

  1. It looks like that was our last ‘getting in the car and going for a‘- walk, for some time. We’ll get a lot done in the garden – a good time for it, when everything’s bursting into life.

    It’s all about containment – and constant vigilance!

    I’ve been thinking about Nelson Mandela – he was in solitary confinement, in a prison, for years, and still came out smiling and cheer-full.
    And there was John McCarthy, who was held captive because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time – he and Jill Morrell wrote about it in ‘Some Other Rainbow’
    https://www.waterstones.com/book/some-other-rainbow/john-mccarthy/jill-morrell/9780552174510

    We still have our freedom. Needs must………….

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  2. Feel a bit like I went on the walk! Thanks Bernie. Yes, for sure, at least nature is having a welcome healing rest here and abroad.

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  3. One thing I’m having trouble with, is not being able to fuss dogs. I love dogs, and since Ben-The-Dog left us, one of the joys of a walk, is meeting dogs and having a good old rumple with them. Now – well – if a dog ran from its owner, to me, I fussed it, then it ran back to its owner, even if we humans are standing well apart, that wouldn’t be a good idea. So, no more dog rumpling, for the duration.
    It’s particularly hard when the dog is a friend of mine. I had a shouting-match with one of my neighbours this morning – a friendly shouting match! We were keeping our distance, and …shouting. But, his dog, who I have known since he was a puppy and always fuss, didn’t understand why I didn’t move to the fence to pat him. I talked to him a lot, instead, from a distance.
    It was particularly important that we all kept our distance, because, my neighbour is elderly and not strong, and I’m – not quite so elderly and a bit knackered! So – high risk – must behave.
    Aye – it’s a bugger – but…needs must.
    And now, I’ll have a cuppatea, to soothe my throat – not because of the virus, just because of shouting!

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