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Orkney: The Finale

UNITED KINGDOM | Wednesday, 11 June 2014 | Views [362]

St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney

St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney

THE REEL IS AT THE EPICENTER OF TRADITIONAL CELTIC MUSIC in Orkney - not, as I naively thought, a fishing tackle shop - a place where the folks of Kirkwall gather for a beer or fiddle lessons.  Last night we sardined ourselves along with 70 or so locals into the tiny cafe for the monthly charity concert  The music was eclectic and the performers ranged in age from pre-teen fiddlers to two silver-haired ladies, one of whom could barely pump her accordion.  It turned out to be a late night for us, but a pleasant one.


    Fiddlin' around at the Reel

We got an early start today, hoping to beat the tour buses.  A cruise ship docked overnight and the passengers spread out to all the places we visited yesterday.  We arrived at St. Magnus Cathedral and the Victorian Bishop’s Palace ahead of the mobs.  The massive red brick St. Magnus was begun in 1137 and took 300 years to complete and the remains of the martyred Viking saint are interred within one of the walls.  


    The Italian Chapel

We drove out of Kirkwall just as the first mob from the cruise ship arrived and paid a visit to the Italian Chapel, a quonset hut converted to a church by Italian POWs interned on the island towards the end of WW II.  With several hours left before our ferry back to Scotland we went out to brave the elements at Marwick Head.  We balanced against the wind high above the nesting seabirds and looked out at Brisay where we had been on our first day in Orkney before heading to Stromness and lunch.



    Brisay from Marwick Head




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