Norway (Day 15, Part 1)

July 2

Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland

Orkney, I knew of.  Orkney, I knew not about.  Orkney, I knew as Scottish Islands, like Shetland.  Orkney, I knew not was rife with photo ops . . . 

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[Land Ho!]

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[Orkney, also known as the Orkney Islands, is an archielago in the Northern Isles of Scotland, situated off the north coast of the island of Great Britain.  The largest island, Mainland, is often referred to as “the Mainland”, and has an area of 523 square kilometres (202 sq mi), making it the sixth-largest Scottish island and the tenth-largest island in the British Isles.  The largest settlement and administrative centre is Kirkwall (Wikipedia).]

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[A form of the name dates to the pre-Roman era.  The islands have been inhabited for at least 8,500 years, originally occupied by Mesolithic and Neolithic tribes and then by the Picts.  Orkney was colonised and later annexed by Norway in 875 and settled by the Norse.  The Scottish Parliament then absorbed the earldom to the Scottish Crown in 1472, following the failed payment of a dowry for James III’s bride Margaret of Denmark (Wikipedia).]

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[The climate is mild and the soils are extremely fertile, most of the land being farmed. Agriculture is the most important sector of the economy.  The significant wind and marine energy resources are of growing importance, and the island generates more than its total yearly electricity demand using renewables.  The local people are known as Orcadians and have a distinctive dialect of the Scots language and a rich inheritance of folklore.  Orkney contains some of the oldest and best-preserved Neolithic sites in Europe, and the “Heart of Neolithic Orkney” is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is an abundance of marine and avian wildlife (Wikipedia).]

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[I have reason to suspect this is Helliar Holm lighthouse . . . ]

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[Helliar Holm is an uninhabited island off the coast of Shapinsay in the Orkney Islands.  It is home to a 42-foot-tall (13 m) lighthouse, which was built in 1893 and automated in 1967.  It is a tidal island that used to be connected to Shapinsay.  It is still possible to walk across from the mainland during very low tides.  The island also has the ruins of a broch, cairn, and chapel (Wikipedia).]

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[Suspected to be Balfour Castle . . . ]

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[Kirkwall is the largest town of Orkney.  Kirkwall is the administrative centre for Orkney, and is the home of headquarters for Orkney Islands Council and NHS Orkney.  It is the most populous island settlement in Scotland.  The population was 9,293 in 2011.  The population was predicted to be about 10,000 in 2018.  After extensive work on harbour facilities, the town has become a popular cruise ship stop, with several ships arriving each week in the season.  This has added to the prosperity of the town and allowed a thriving sector of independently owned shops.  Each year now, 140 cruise ships visit Kirkwall and Stromness (Wikipedia).]

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[And this would be one of the 140 annual cruise ship visits . . . ]

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[But before we go ashore, this is Thom Remington.  You do not know Thom.  We do not know Thom.  But as so often happens, meal discussions with fellow cruisers can lead to a connection.  It turns out that Thom was a high school classmate of my cousin Herb in Wilmington, Delaware.  Now we all know . . . ]

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[In Scottish it reads:  “Welcome to Orkney . . . “]

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[Ole and the Super appreciate being welcomed . . . ]

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[Where we were . . . ]

 

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[Ahh, the quaint medieval streets of the Old World . . . ]

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[Bill crossed the street for a photo op, staying alert for any passing jousters . . . ]

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[The Super spots our destination, St. Magnus Cathedral . . . ]

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[Anne photographs St Magnus Cathedral, [which] dominates the skyline of Kirkwall.  It is the most northerly cathedral in the United Kingdom, a fine example of Romanesque architecture built for the bishops of Orkney when the islands were ruled by the Norse Earls of Orkney.  It is owned not by the church, but by the burgh of Kirkwall as a result of an act of King James III of Scotland following Orkney’s annexation by the Scottish Crown in 1468.  It has its own dungeon.  Construction began in 1137, and it was added to over the next 300 years.  Before the Reformation, the cathedral was presided over by the Bishop of Orkney, whose seat was in Kirkwall (Wikipedia).]

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[Commerce . . . ]

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[Not so much commerce . . . ]

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[In all our travels, I estimate we’ve been in about a million churches and cathedrals.  While they are all examples of extraordinary architecture, after a while your eyes glaze over.   On one trip the Super exclaimed she did not want to go into another church!  But there was something about this one.  I thought it really cool . . . ]

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[The Super signed us in so the ghosts and goblins therein could have followed us home?]

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[John Rae is undoubtedly one of Orkney’s greatest unsung heroes.  Although his memorial is prominent in St. Magnus Cathedral, the truth is that, until recently, few Orcadians knew of the man, or his deeds . . . ]

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[Dr. John Rae – the unsung arctic hero (orkneyjar.com/history/historicalfigures/johnrae/).]

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[Cool stuff in the church . . . ]

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[The namesake . . . ]

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[Who knew???]

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[The Super creating her own memories . . . ]

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[Back out in commerce, can you guess?  Yup, a flower shop . . . ]

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[Usually I shoot the exterior before the interior.  Whatever . . . ]

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[And this is Bishop’s and Earl’s Palaces . . . ]

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[The Bishop’s Palace, Kirkwall is a 12th-century palace built at the same time as the adjacent St. Magnus Cathedral.  It housed the cathedral’s first bishop, William the Old of the Norwegian Catholic church who took his authority from the Archbishop of Nidaros (Trondheim).  The ruined structure now looks like a small castle. (Wikipedia).]

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[Let’s wander around and take a peek.  Maybe we can figure out what ole William the Old was up to here . . . ]

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[Hey, there’s our ship neighbor from Toronto!]

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[Not unlike the hallways of our ship . . . ]

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[The Super found a storage cellar . . . ]

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[If only it had central heating . . . ]

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[Well, it was inside . . . ]

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[The steward’s room, in the middle of the palace for ease of running the place . . . ]

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[The outer courts of Wimbledon?]

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[PIG OUT!!]

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[The Super went higher than I cared to go . . . ]

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[The next seven photos were taken by the Super from her position on high . . . ]

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[Nice overviews of Kirkwall . . . ]

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[Back to me in the bowels of the palace . . . ]

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[Historians have determined that this was the first time the individual words “hanky” and “panky” were used in conjunction with one another . . . ]

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[Super, the Explorer . . . ]

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[Oh yeah, Bill was a climber too . . . ]

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[And the kitchen chimney . . . ]

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[Is this the way out?]

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[A final look around . . . ]

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[Back out on the town, beware the Broad Street Bullies!]

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[Tankerness House Gardens . . . ]

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[The Orkney Museum tells the story of Orkney from the Stone Age through the Picts and Vikings to the present day.  The Orkney Museum is in Tankerness House, an A-listed building.  The Baikie Library and Drawing Room show how the house looked when it was a family home, which it was for three centuries (https://www.visitscotland.com/info/see-do/the-orkney-museum-p251611).]

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[Let’s just stroll through the garden . . . ]

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[We would exit that way . . . ]

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[Then yield . . . ]

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[Walking past the library on the way to . . . ]

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[The bus stop for a ride back to the ship.  And hey, there’s Toronto guy again!]

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Somebody sent me a British magazine listing the 20 worst dialects ever done in movies.  I was No. 2, with the worst Cockney accent ever done.  No. 1 was Sean Connery, because he uses his Scottish brogue no matter what he’s playing.  ~  Dick Van Dyke                                                                                                                                                                                                         Up Next:  Part 2 in Orkney

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