Around Kirkwall

By Bernie Bell

Pics by B&M Bell

We were both feeling weary – needed a gentle sort of outing – were wondering what is happening at Arcadia Park in Kirkwall? .  Are there any spring flowers out?  Did all that daffodil planting yield results? So, we decided to go and have a look….

We parked in the car park for the Balfour Hospital – there wasn’t a Covid Vaccination Clinic last weekend, so there was plenty of space to park.  And a spacey myth-mobile was parked there too!

Crossing the road, we started up the path into Arcadia Park, where we were greeted by a display of fresh spring flowers………

The land is owned by Orkney Islands Council, and the Counselling Service OACAS played a large part in the inception and initial development of the area as a community garden. Unfortunately, OACAS was closed down due to lack of funding, and funding for the Park pretty much dried up too.  I believe that the work there is now carried out by a handful of volunteers.

It will be some time before Arcadia Park realises its full potential, as gardens and parks don’t come into being and mature over-night!  It would be community spirited of OIC  to take an interest again and help to take the Park to its next stage.

It is possible to see the ‘bones’ of the place and imagine what it will be like and what will be there.  There are pools…..

…with ducks…..

We also saw Rooks bathing at the edge of one of the pools, and there was a Jackdaw hopping along a path – The Wild comes to  town!

There are seats dotted about very conveniently for folk to sit on, look about them, meet up, have a ( socially distanced) chat…

My favourite piece of landscaping is the spiral mound, with boulders marking the way up…

This is Orkney, and I can’t help thinking it looks like a hill with standing stones and a cairn – that’s an illusion created by the presence of a distant hill – but that kind of alignment with distant hills is often also present at ancient sites.

From the top of this mound can be seen the layout of what will hopefully, one day, be reed beds….

…if The Fates, and funding, allow.

Plenty of young saplings have been planted, and there are also a few mature trees, including an Alder – catching the sun…..

…..with a Dragon-fly catkin!

The mass-volunteer daffodil planting which took place a couple of years ago is now bearing fruit, with clumps of daffs here and there around the park…

Arcadia Park will take time to mature, but meanwhile it provides a very pleasant space in which the people of Kirkwall, and folk working in or visiting at the Hospital, can take a stroll, take the air, and just….BE.

What will it be like in, say, five years’ time?  when the trees and shrubs have grown, plants have clumped up and others have mysteriously arrived, as they do in gardens?  It’s a place of interest, and the interest will continue to grow.

Having looked across to Scapa Bay, we then drove there and parked by the Royal Oak Memorial Garden .  At one end of the Bay, the pier and fishing boats…..

Along the top of the wall above the beach, there were colourful painted stones – some with messages of support and hope….

It was a beautiful sunny day – wind surfers were cruising back and forth across the Bay….

We strolled along the sand as far as the waterfall beneath the Scapa whisky distillery…….

Then back to the car, and home. It had been just right – just what we needed.

Arcadia Park

Volunteers Transforming Arcadia Park

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