By Bernie Bell
Pics by B&M Bell
NB – For this walk an OS map and wearing wellies is strongly recommended.
It was one of those days that can’t make its mind up. We drove along through thick mist, thin mist and bright sunshine, noticing that the Daffodils in the road side verges have been replaced by Bluebells, Dandelions and those big orange Oriental Poppies which are a sure sign that summer is on its way.
We were heading for a walk along by the Oyce of Quindry in South Ronaldsay, and were wondering if it might be a bit murky when we got there, but it was fiiiine – a bit misty, which suits the atmosphere of the place anyway.
We turned off the road and onto a track, at the sign for the Ronaldsvoe Kennels and Cattery, passing an odd little structure on our right – probably a remnant left over from WW2. No idea what it is?
There is a small space to the side of, and just on the curve of the track – just big enough to park a car without bothering anyone or blocking any gates.
We then walked up the track, past the kennels, and, instead of carrying on with the track, which turns to the left and leads to someone’s house, we went straight ahead along a slightly indistinct path, along by the sea inlet known as the Oyce of Quindry.
There were beautiful clumps of Pink Campion along the way….
Also White Campion, with what looks like a flying snail!
And Oystercatchers, taking off from by the shore…….
We carried on along the path until we came to the area just down from the farm of Kirkhouse, and wondered, why Kirkhouse? There’s no sign of a Kirk – maybe there was one there, long ago? We then noticed, just up the road, what looks like an old mill which has been carefully restored, though not marked as such on the map.
We walked up the road to have a look at it, taking care not to stand and stare – but then, we couldn’t do other than stand and stare, when we saw a piece of sculpture attached to the side of the building………..
We recognized this as a piece by the artist known as Robinson R R, which Mike had last seen on the wall in Northlight Gallery in Stromness…. https://theorkneynews.scot/2017/06/10/robinson-rr-news-to-orkney/
The sculpture represents refugees, crammed into flimsy boats, desperate to reach safety…
Any comment by me would be superfluous.
Back down the road, passing a lot of farm detritus on our way as we turn to the right and walk along the beach. Isn’t it odd how rubbish can eventually become interesting beach or land art?
Sydney Opera House?
And a different kind of Ripple Rock……
Past the general detritus, it’s a fine walk back along the waterside of the Oyce – depending, of course, on whether the tide is out or not….
Approaching where we parked the car, we found an exceptional number of old glass bottles, jars, and bits of old crockery embedded in the sand. We had a fine haul, which we took home with us, including an old Brylcreem bottle, and an old Robinsons fruit juice bottle.
It’s a treasure trove for folk who like such things, and it’s better to take them home, than leave them to get broken. If you have children or dogs – take care – there is broken glass there too, some of it pointy and sharp.
From this situation, I tried to take a photo down along the stretch of the Oyce, but I think it defeated me – it’s an extra-ordinary place, made more so by the mist – here’s my attempt….
It’s a good walk, full of interest, with the added bonus of treasure at the end. Alternatively, you could just go there and scavenge – there are good bits off wood there, too – a scavengers paradise!
A treasure trove walk. Thanks for sharing all your findings and for Robinson RR (my maiden name with one R) for memorialising the refugees – heartwarming on the outside wall of a homestead. Rosie
Thanks, Rosie – it was a bit heavy going in places – gloopy sand which tries to suck you down – but worth it!
And apropos Robinson RR…..
Re. the possible WW2 structure……
Ian Collins – a man as knows about such things… https://theorkneynews.scot/2021/05/12/the-hoy-walls-wartime-trail/ – tells me that…….
“Word on the web is that this was a bomb-resistant telephone exchange that served the nearby military installations eg at Hoxa Head. The chimney pots are non-functional and part of a disguise (I’m told) to make the building look less obviously military when viewed from the air. I think it’s rather cute!!”
And I agree with him – it does look cute, another little Hobbit-house, like the one at Rerwick. https://theorkneynews.scot/2020/11/14/rerwick-revisited/
Aaaaand – as Ian mentioned Hoxa Head………..