Culture

Kirkhouse Revisited – 1. 1. 2021.

By Bernie Bell

New Year’s Day 2021 started with some heavy rain showers – verging on sleet – but, if we let showers stop us we’d never go out!  So, we weighed up where might be good to go on a day like that, and decided on re-visiting Kirkhouse, South Ronaldsay.

As we drove south, the weather improved, and, crossing one of the Churchill Barriers, we saw a group of people having a New Year’s dip in the sea, and wondered if they were the Orkney Polar Bears  https://www.facebook.com/groups/144316178965047/  – hardy souls!

Arriving at Kirkhouse….

……..and parking by St. Peter’s Kirk, we set off along the path to the beach on what was turning into a fine, sunny day.  Walking along, looking back at the Kirk, and the structures on the promontory…

…..the clouds broke, and a rainbow appeared – a sign of hope for the year ahead?

The sandy beach has little stony streams flowing through it to the sea – I like the contrast in shapes and textures………

We walked as far as the curve at the end of the Bay, then back, stopping and standing – appreciating the place, the light, the light on the sea…..

….and the headlands, lined up along the coast……….

The little old building which I mentioned in my previous piece about Kirkhouse is still there, with its garden.  We were pleased to see that the bright yellow ‘KEEP OUT’ and ‘CAUTION’ notices have been taken away – we didn’t see the need, and they were very intrusive, attached to such a fine old building.

We hadn’t noticed before, that there are steps half way up the side of the gable-end of the building, leading to a doorway…

…and wondered what were they for?  The building is small for a barn, and, looking at the front,  does look like a domestic dwelling house, but, looking at the steps and high-up doorway – that hints at some kind of loading or delivering going on there?  We’re puzzled!

The other structure on the promontory, remains a mystery.  It has no doorway, no steps. What is/was it???

Nearby, I found what Mike tells me is a WW2  .303 rifle cartridge – how does he know that?  As a little boy, he avidly collected them – there were more to be found then, and were considered to be ‘treasures’.

These little bits of history, all around us.

We walked as far as the Millennium Stone, which ‘comes of age’ this year, and Mike took a photo – me – with rainbows round my head and at my finger-tips – more hope, for the coming year?

7 replies »

  1. This was the first beach I visited, the first time I visited Orkney. I know it as the Pool of Cletts. Has a special place in my heart. Rabbits are creating havoc.

    • A Windmill!!!!! Yes, of course, I just don’t think of windmills in Orkney, though I know there were some – there’s a picture of one, in Tankerness House Museum.

      A store for the fishing – that figures, as there is a winch for a boat, and the lower layer of stone from some kind of structure which could also have been associated with fishing?

      Why didn’t I look on Canmore? I usually do – I is getting older and vaguer!

      Thank you, Martin, for thinking for me!

  2. Thanks again Martin – there are some crackin’ pictures!

    I realised that – I think I look to Canmore for older sites – lesson learnt!

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