Another beautiful day, sunny and calm, which was very lucky as we decided to explore two of the smaller islands north of Mainland. We got on the ferry at Toft for the 15 minute crossing to Ulsta, on Yell.
We visited the Fisherman’s Memorial. In July 1881 there was a disaster which devastated the small community of Gloup. Ten boats and 58 men were lost at sea in a freak storm. They left behind 34 widows and 85 children without their fathers.
We then got on our fourth ferry of the day, to return to Mainland.
Today we explored the North West side of the island.
I was particularly keen to visit Eshaness as, several months ago, when this holiday was in the planning stages, I had to pick a place I had never been to and use it as a setting for a story. I chose Eshaness, did some research and wrote a story.
We explored the South East of Orkney crossing several causeways. These were called ‘Churchill’s Barriers’. In WW2 ships were sunk to stop German U-Boats getting into Scapa Flow. Unfortunately, in 1939, one got through and sunk the ‘Royal Oak’ killing 834 men. Churchill ordered the construction of the barriers, which was carried out by Italian prisoners of war.
We ended our busy day at the Murray Arms Hotel, in St Margaret’s Hope, with a seafood platter. The hotel has their own boats and the seafood is caught fresh, daily.
We left Wick and drove to Scrabster to get the ferry to Stromness on the Orkney mainland.
The journey took one and a half hours. The weather was perfect. It was quiet on the ferry with less than half the usual number of vehicles.
The cottage looks out onto Scapa Flow, a body of water sheltered by the mainland and other, smaller islands. In 1919 the captured German fleet of 74 ships was scuttled by their crew to prevent the vessels falling into British hands.
The Vikings anchored their longships in Scapa Flow more than 1000 years ago. It is one of the world’s great natural harbours.
Tomorrow we will visit some of the smaller islands via causeways built by Italian prisoners of war.