Culture

Stromness Rocks!

By Bernie Bell

It was a blustery, showery Sunday – I’d had a bad night – we decided to go for an airing rather than a big walk.

We parked in the car park at Ness Point, Stromness….

…where we came across the first of the Stromness Rocks – stones with words and pictures on them to raise a smile….

Carrying on along the tarmac path along by Hoy Sound, we came upon the Volunteers Battery….

The Stromness Artillery Volunteers were formed in 1862, and reading the information panel ( on which the weather has taken its toll and which, though legible in reality, in a photo would be a bit too murky!) I was reminded of the Birsay Artillery Volunteers training range, of a similar vintage…..

The Napoleonic wars were over, but France was feared again in the 1850s and 1860s.

The other place the Volunteers Battery reminded me of is, bizarrely, the little chapel on top of the Brough of Deerness……….entirely in form, and not in purpose……. https://theorkneynews.scot/2019/09/15/two-go-glouping-in-deerness/

Carrying on along the path we came to defences against the possibility of a more recent invasion, this time from Germany, in the form of the Links Battery…

…with its Nissan hut….

….and nearby searchlight emplacement….

There are only natural rocks around the Batteries, but we then came to the old Stromness Lifeboat Station…

…which has an information board, and a fine selection of decorated stones……….

Some of the stones have been turned over to ‘save the paint’, so you could  try turning over some of the plain ones and – see what turns up!

Then on, to the car park by the Ness Battery…..

Where we carried on along the tarmac path, then turned right on to a grassy track which goes just below the Battery itself, which is not open to the public, but if you’d like a tour, these would be the folk to contact…. https://nessbattery.co.uk/about-us/

Then – back to the car and home. 

A bit odd that this ended up being a piece mostly about structures associated with war as I am a pacifist, but even I accept that sometimes some brutal Dictators have to be sorted out, and they don’t tend to listen to reason.

I’m thinking of the conclusion that the computer comes to at the end of the film ‘War Games’ –

“The only winning move is not to play.”

But that’s referring to Global Thermo-nuclear War.

It’s a good film – as relevant today as when it was made.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WarGames

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