Breck to Bu and Back Again

By Bernie Bell

Pics by B&M Bell

I read about an on-line event due to happen in September which has been organised by Orkney Archaeology Society and Orkney Time Travel as part of Orkney Viking Week ….

This prompted us to go for a walk from Breck to the Bu in Orphir.  We’ve done this walk many times before, but, as with any walk, there is always something different to see.  This time, it was the profusion of Devil’s Bit Scabious  flowers – an exceptionally pretty plant, with a slightly sinister name.  I love the rich blue colour, and on the walk along the cliff-top path there were whole clumps of it….

Sometimes mingled with Heather and Angelica…

There was also a white one, and some pink ones, neither of which I had previously know existed…..

Continuing along the path we approached the Bu with its ruin of a Norse church, and a burial ground which is still in use today….

We sat on some big rocks by the beach to eat our sandwiches and noticed a smiley-stone, and one with a city street map?

An information board by the site of the Norse water mill mentions that the mill was built into the site of a Bronze Age Burnt Mound – both need water.

There’s nothing left to see of the original mill apart from the stone water channel – still an interesting site through, and, as always, I wondered if anything with Norse – or earlier –  associations was discovered when the foundations for the farm buildings across the road were being dug? 

By the way – the farm had an honesty box selling free range eggs and homemade chutney….

We were pleased to get some eggs, as our neighbour’s honesty egg box had been empty that morning!

Walking up the road and looking back along the ‘lang road doon’ to the Bu – a road which appears to carry on to the gap in the Hoy Hills…..

……I thought how the whole area gives a strong impression of long term productivity and prosperity.

A good place to live – is a good place to live.

Then, turning right onto the road back to the Breck it’s good to be among trees, especially on a hot day – the road passing through a tunnel of dappled sunlight and shade…..

The sun and shade continued as we dipped into the little patch of woodland to the right of the road, where we found ourselves in an Orkney rain-forest!  Or it felt like it, in among the lush undergrowth and under the canopy of trees….

A hanging cluster of Sycamore keys recalled the ’helicopters’ of childhood…

And – I can never resist a gnarly bit of wood…..

What a day!

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