Footpaths and Folk Songs: Part 3

ambertobeedingelevation

Day 3 – Amberley to Upper Beeding, 14 Miles

Listen here -> https://soundcloud.com/elizabeth-bennett-4/folk-songs-and-footpaths-part-3

Sonnet V. To The South Downs – Charlotte Smith

AH! hills beloved!–where once, a happy child,
Your beechen shades, ‘your turf, your flowers among,’
I wove your blue-bells into garlands wild,
And woke your echoes with my artless song.
Ah! hills beloved!–your turf, your flowers remain;
But can they peace to this sad breast restore,
For one poor moment soothe the sense of pain,
And teach a breaking heart to throb no more?
May, 1915 – Charlotte Mew
Let us remember Spring will come again
To the scorched, blackened woods, where all the wounded trees
Wait, with their old wise patience for the heavenly rain,
Sure of the sky: sure of the sea to send its healing breeze,
Sure of the sun. And even as to these
Surely the Spring, when God shall please
Will come again like a divine surprise
To those who sit to-day with their great Dead, hands in their hands, eyes in their eyes,
At one with Love, at one with Grief: blind to the scattered things and changing skies.
References:

The Silvery Tide (tune), John Searle, Amberley, Lucy Broadwood, 1901, http://www.vwml.org/record/LEB/2/29/5

The Silvery Tide (lyrics), John Searle, Amberley, Lucy Broadwood, 1901, http://www.vwml.org/record/LEB/2/31

Silver Tide, Mrs Moseley, Treyford, Clive Carey, 1912 http://www.vwml.org/record/CC/1/159

The Old or Rich Merchant (lyrics), Walter Searle, Amberley, Lucy Broadwood, 1901, http://www.vwml.org/record/LEB/2/32

The Old or Rich Merchant (tune), Walter Searle, Amberley, Lucy Broadwood, 1901, http://www.vwml.org/record/LEB/2/29/8

Young Jockey (lyrics), Mrs Humphrey (given here as Mr Humphrey), Storrington (Sullington), Dorothy Marshall, 1912  http://www.vwml.org/record/CC/1/291

Young Johnny (tune), Thomas Bulbeck, Harting, G.B Gardiner/John F Guyer, 1909, http://www.vwml.org/record/RoudFS/S270976

The Merchant, Harvey Humphrey, Storrington (Sullington) Clive Carey/Dorothy Marshall, 1912 http://www.vwml.org/record/CC/1/284

The Seasons Of The Year, John Burberry, Lyne (Sussex), Lucy Broadwood, 1892, http://www.vwml.org/record/RoudFS/S160555

Vic Gammon http://www.ncl.ac.uk/sacs/staff/profile/vic.gammon#tab_publications

South Downs Yarn http://www.southdownsyarn.co.uk/

http://www.greenman-linocuts.co.uk/chanctonbury.htm

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jan/13/oxford-junior-dictionary-replacement-natural-words

Benjamin Hoare, father of John (I believe) http://pubshistory.com/SussexPubs/Pulborough/WhiteHorseBury.shtml http://www.familytreedesigns.co.uk/Angmering/Houghton%201891.htm

Bob Tailed Mare, Irish Girl, Shepherds Health, Jack Williams, Seventeen Come Sunday, Bonny Bunch of Roses, Preety Ploughboy, Gallant Poachers, Mr Hoare, Houghton, Lucy Broadwood, 1901

The Ones That Got Away:

Spanish Ladies, Mr Cooper, Washington, George Butterworth and Francis Jekyll, 1907

All Round My Hat, Edmund Knight, Washington, George Butterworth, 1907

Our Captain Calls, Seeds of Love, Mrs Golds, Washington, George Butterworth, 1907

Jack Of The Game, Mrs Golds, Washington, George Butterworth, 1907

Down In Our Village, Black Velvet Band, Just As The Tide Was Flowing, Mr Standing, Washington, George Butterworth and Francis Jekyll, 1907

Folk songs and Footpaths: Part 1

Day 1 South Harting to Cocking, 7 miles

Listen here -> https://soundcloud.com/elizabeth-bennett-4/folk-songs-and-footpaths

‘… And they must be the footsteps of our own ancestors who made the whole landscape by hand and left their handprints on everything and trod every foot of it, and its present shapes are their footprints, those ancestors whose names were on the stones in the churchyard and many whose names weren’t.                                                                                                                                          And the tales of them and of men living I would take with me and the songs in my mind as if everything I thought and felt had to be set in words and music – everything that was true in me” – From To Live Like A Man, by F C Ball (Given me to with kind permission by his relative Shirley Collins).

‘ … And that we shall go singing to the fashioning of a new world’ – The Envoi, Woodcraft Folk

The Full English The Full English was a major national digitisation and education project celebrating England’s cultural heritage through traditional folk songs, dances and customs. The project brought together the most important archival collections of folk material, held in numerous libraries and archives around the UK, and made them freely accessible through a single online digital archive. The material was drawn from Victorian and Edwardian folk collectors such as Ralph Vaughan Williams, Lucy Broadwood and Cecil Sharp, and includes manuscripts of notated songs, dances, and tunes, printed broadsides, lectures, notes and correspondence. These items were conserved, digitised, and catalogued before being uploaded to a central digital archive accessible through the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library website. Alongside our exisiting digitised collections, catalogues and indexes, the site now provides the largest, most comprehensive, searchable, database of English folk songs, dances, tunes, and customs in the world, with over 80,000 digitised items from 19 seminal collections. It is rich in social, family and local history and provides a snapshot of England’s cultural heritage through voices rarely published and heard before.   Aims Promote the Study and Practice of the Folk Arts EFDSS’s mission statement includes “To promote, preserve and develop the folk arts”. Through providing this information in an easily accessible way, we hoped it would lead to an increase in the study and practice of the folk arts Folk is an unusual genre in that it is based in heritage. By providing access to this material, it instantly creates a wealth of material for singers, musicians, and dancers to add to their repertoires. We’ve been able to put the original MSS material online. As compared with published works which have been selected and edited, these collections are relatively unmediated. Therefore it provides an accurate look into what exactly “the folk” were doing. Access

  1. Provide access to materials previously difficult to access.

Digital surrogates of original manuscript material hosted on the VWML website – has a world-wide reach (where internet provision exists). Library users no longer have to travel to London to access materials, but can do so from the comfort of their own homes or singarounds, at any time of day or night. To make access even easier, we have started a programme of transcriptions of the text and music from manuscript material, which allows for full-text searching.

  1. Communities where this material originally came from have instant access to records of their own cultural heritage.
  1. Provide the information in a useful and meaningful way

From experience of how library users had wanted to access material in the past, we used this information to dictate how we catalogued and indexed the materials. E.g., performer’s names, where the information was collected; whether manuscripts contain text, music, or both; Alternate titles, etc.

  1. How the information is presented

Options to sort results by ref no., place, performer, collector, and relevance. Options to browse material visually by collection, or geographically through a map function. Preservation of original manuscripts If fewer people need physical access to the originals, then the strain on them is lessened. Conversely, it also means that awareness of the material is heightened and serious researches are still keen to view the original documents!

References:

Lady Maisry, Thomas Bulbeck http://www.vwml.org/record/GG/1/21/1379

Unquiet Grave, Helen Boniface http://www.vwml.org/record/GG/1/21/1390

A Farmer there lived in the North Country, Frank Hutt  http://www.vwml.org/record/CC/1/339

Mother, Mother Make my Bed, Mrs Ford http://www.vwml.org/record/AGG/8/48

Barbara Ellen, Mrs Moseley http://www.vwml.org/record/CC/1/161

How Cold The Wind, George Tilson http://www.vwml.org/record/CC/1/271

Unquiet Grave, Mrs Stemp http://www.vwml.org/record/CC/1/83

The One’s That Got Away:

Thomas Bulbeck, Harting: The Highway Man Outwitted, Bushes and Briars, When First Apprenticed, The Nobleman’s Wedding, Deep in Love, Cupid the Pretty Ploughboy, Come all you Worthy People, The Golden Vanity, The Mermaid, You Seaman Bold.

Mrs Moseley, Treyford: The Drunkard’s Child, The Sailor’s Grave, The Golden Glove, Sheffield Park, Will of the Waggon Train, Now tell me Mary how it is, A Fair Maid in the Garden, The Blind Beggar’s Daughter, The Turkish Lady.

Mr Carpenter, Elsted: The Sun is Just A-Peeping Over the Hills, Master’s Health, Come All you Worthy People That Dwell Within the Land, Both Sexes Give Ear to My Fancy, The Irish Recruit, Merry Boys Merry, The Smuggler’s Boy, The Miller’s Dog.

George Tilson: Pretty Susan the Pride of Kildare, Hunt the Squirrel, On the Banks of the Sweet Dundee, General Woolf, The Bonny Bunch of Roses, The Princess Royal.

https://mainlynorfolk.info/steeleye.span/songs/thewifeofusherswell.html (The Wife of Ushers Well, sung by Gerald Moore)

https://mainlynorfolk.info/watersons/songs/thebrisklad.html (The Sheep Stealer, sung by Diane Ruinet) http://www.vwml.org/record/RoudFS/S160890  

 

Map Orkney Month final contributions: Pict’s houses, Little Pete and feeding the Flotta penguins

Nic Thake: Shapinsay – Stromness 21/03

   

Sometimes the best trails make use of an opportunity to combine lots of elements.

This trail brought together Shapinsay’s electric car, a return crossing on the ferry from Shapinsay to Kirkwall, a return drive to Stromness pier head (via Tesco in Kirkwall and Orkney Fisheries in Stromness), an unlikely meeting with a man from Bute (who was supposed to be somewhere else) and attendance at Dan’s mapping workshop at the Pier Arts Centre.

Lois joined me for my journey but chose to take a sunny walk at Ness and watch the ferry arrive rather than learn about GIS, GPS and the open source software options available to budding map makers.

All in all it was fine day out from which we returned with some new knowledge, cans of dog food and a fine selection of excellent fish for the freezer. That evening was spent learning to use QGIS which Dan had introduced me to during the afternoon session.

 

Maureen Flaws: Wyre 22/03

I marked the Wyre Heritage Centre as it really is a lovely place to visit.  Looking onto Cubbie Roo’s Castle and St. Mary’s Chapel you step into deep history of Viking times. Of the more recent generations on the island, you will find interesting tales, facts and pictures aplenty, whilst the colourful displays of wildlife and seabed fauna are fabulous to look at. Displays from the recent archaeological excavation at the “Braes of Ha’Breck” Early Neolithic settlement are on show.

I continued on from the Heritage Centre, down Testaquoys’ footpath to the Back Shore, around the Taing, and on to the Pier, from where I headed home to Heldie. Was it windy and rainy?  Probably … but I fairly enjoyed the walk and took a few pics.

Linda Heath: Hoy 25/03

A ferry from Stromness to Hoy and climbed Cuilags – the second highest hill in Orkney. I do this regularly for photography, wildlife, & fitness.

Hazel Moore: Westray – Kirkwall 26/03

A trip on the ferry from Westray to town and back with my dad: a photographic journey.

 

 

Mary Harris, Laura Johnston and Trish Avis: Hoy 28/03

We were a bit late but we had decided to go to Rackwick to celebrate the spring equinox. A small group of us try to salute the Orkney seasons by making a pilgrimage to this beautiful bay at the Equinox and Solstice times of the year. We have a walk, pick up beach bruck and finish off with a picnic and a wee dram in the bothy. However, today we had other tasks to do including contributing to Map Orkney Month, check for Skate egg cases, photograph some war time buildings at Lyness for an Orkney web site and take Little Pete* on an adventure.

Our journey started at Longhope – first stop at Lyness. The weather couldn’t have been more hostile with lashing rain and low cloud. Therefore I went back the next day to photograph the Naval Headquarters and Communication Centre on Wea Fea and the Recreation Centre, above. Lyness was the former Royal Navy base during WWII and many buildings from this time still haunt the landscape today.

Leaving Lyness we drove north to Moaness pier and the rain eased enough to tempt us out of the car and have a quick walk along the Bay of Creekland. Trish and I walk this and other beaches on Hoy once a month for the RSPB to record any stranded dead birds. We also look for and record Skate egg cases (mermaids purses) and notify the Orkney Skate Trust of our findings. Today we found 4 and also came across a small stone cist/box structure that is often buried under a bank of beach debris.

As the heavens opened once again we sped back to the car and took the magnificent road to Rackwick. However, today the tops of the hills were veiled in mist and the grey skies seemed to sink into the sodden surrounding moorland. We felt cocooned in cloud.

The Rackwick burn that meanders through the valley had burst its banks and we stared in wonder at the new landscape of silvery pools. And the rain…. rained on and on and we got thoroughly soaked walking down to the bothy on the shore.

 

We sat at the table with the water dripping from us and steam rising from our heads. Some young lads had lit the fire. We shivered through our picnic and, just as we raised our glasses to the vernal equinox, cursed the weather, Map Orkney Month and all and sundry, a shaft of sunlight split the smoky room in half. We are known as the Witches of Rackwick and it looked like our cursing had done the trick. We hurriedly sploshed and squelched outside to the sea. Part of our ritual is to admire and stroke a few of the amazing boulders before we start picking up bruck from the shore. See above for some of the rubbish we’ve removed from the beach over the last few months,

Some of the rubbish we’ve removed from the beach over the last few months, but before we left we introduced *Little Pete to Orkney.

Copy of email sent to me about Little Pete:

Little Pete was recently found at Carbis Bay in Cornwall with an extremely poignant message in a bottle.

He was discovered twice in fact, the second time by Jacob Brain, grandson of retired Newquay fisherman Bill Brain, who brought Little Pete to me. With the family’s permission, we are bringing you Little Pete’s story.

We already have several adventures lined up for him, and have set up a facebook page to record his journey.

Nigel Palmer, Archie and Albie’s dad, told us: “Pete was a sailor at heart having served nearly eight years in the Royal Navy and loved everything about the sea. So as a family we decided to combine two of his loves to say goodbye to him – Cornwall and the sea. As a surprise to all the family my wife Sarah and her mum came up with the idea of knitting a little sailor man to leave behind in Cornwall as a little token of our love and to let Archie & Albie say goodbye in a way they may remember.

We decided to travel to Cornwall for the August bank holiday as a family. Sarah and I told everyone about Little Pete on the Sunday morning and we decided to find a suitable place to leave him and the note at Carbis Bay. We had spent many a family holiday there as kids and it has a very special place in our hearts. We left Little Pete and the note on a little path onto the beach and moved down to the water’s edge to scatter my dad’s ashes. As we were doing so we saw that Little Pete had been found by a couple and their young boys. It was so nice to see this from afar and not be interfering in his next journey. We cannot wait to know what he will get up to in the future. It would be just in my dad’s character this story and something he would have loved to be a part of.”

That is the story of Little (for now…. Peedie…) Pete. He was part of our life the day we did Map Orkney and we thought yes, Rackwick Bay is a special place. Daylight was fading fast and it was time to leave.

On the way home we stopped to look and wave at the Dwarfie Stane and the final stop to pay our respects to poor old Betty Corrigall’s sad little grave. A quick warm up and some Guinness beside a roaring fire in The Royal Hotel, Longhope and job done.

I found this an interesting and challenging day. We often head off to Rackwick and not really think much about the journey or the things we do at the beach. It’s normally a question of lets get there and now we’re here, let’s get on with it. But on this day I looked at what we were doing from a different perspective. I asked myself would other people find this interesting even though we do it time after time? Should we stop here or over there to take a photo? Will we break our journey to look at that and what does it mean to us.

I also know we wouldn’t have bothered going there today with the weather being so awful if it wasn’t for this task. I’m so pleased we went although we got drenched and chilled to the bone. We did stuff that’s important to us, strengthened our friendship bond, finished Trish’s rhubarb vodka and we enjoyed our beautiful island once again. So thank you Map Orkney Month.

 

Doris Shearer: Stronsay 29/03

My husband and I drove from Airy to the end of Housebay road, then started our walk to Lamb Head. On the right-hand side, the farm of Housebay is in the distance. Below is the ‘Dane’s Pier’ – natural or man-made? We made our way to Hell’s Mouth, well named when it is blowing a hurricane. Seals lying on the ledge. Looking to the left is Burgh Head.

Housebay Dane's Pier

Hell's Mouth Pict's House / broch

This is one of the Pict’s Houses (above right). I can remember being in this many years ago and it was quite a job to get back out again, but it has been filled in with stones since then. Pity, because it’s a very interesting place.

Pict's House cell Auskerry

Whaligeo at the other side of Lamb Head with Auskerry in the distance. Copinsay in the background, but a bit hazy for a good photo. We came home via Cleat Cottage and had a welcome cup of coffee. Then we had a drive around the island.

Mill Bay Old Manse

On the left, is Mill Bay with community hall and school on top of the brae. Definitely a spring-like sign at the school with lots of daffodils out when we passed. On the right, old Manse in the foreground, recently renovated, with pier and Whitehall village in the background.

Kenny Gee: Flotta 29/03

West Hill penguins

The day turned out quite well as the sun shone for us, we had our first stop at the West Hill road which comes up from Gibraltar Pier we travelled past it to the south/west, passing Flotta airport and stopped to feed the penguins, then onwards to the south side looking across to the island of Switha then upwards to the highest point called the Witter.

View video panorama from the Witter here

Top of the North road Witter

Stanger Head Stanger Head view west

Finally, on to Stanger Head with loads of relics left by WW1 and WW2.

Lydia Harris: Westray 31/03

A walk around the bay.

Sandquoy houses Sandquoy pier

 

Jennifer Foley: Papa Westray 31/03

Day starts from Hundland at north end of Papay. Hens and dogs fed, pick up Papay Co-op co-worker at ‘The Y’ and head south to Papa Westray Hostel to prepare for new arrivals. Slow down to help divert escaped sheep at Rossigar and Holland. Mornings work at the hostel then back north to drop off colleague. Walk dogs down through the Ness Park, round the Kelp Green, past Neil’s Helly (no groatie buckies today) and Leapers Geo and on to Fowl Craig returning past the Hundland sheepie shelters – snow showers and strong winds en-route. Drive back south to Beltane to deliver drawing board to visiting artists and back north to Kimbland for home help work. Back south to drop off library box to the Steamer, on to Papay School for Crafty afternoon then pick up visitors from the airfield for the hostel and return home via Whitelooms. Walk back south via the North & South Wicks and the Old Pier at Nouster to use photocopier at the kirk then and cadge a lift home along the Top Road to Rose Cottage and return home to Hundland in time to feed hens and dogs again.

 

See my non-digital map of Papay on a normal working Tuesday.


 

Well, we made it! That’s the last contribution from Map Orkney Month to be included in the blog. Sorry to those few who were not included, it has ended up being quite epic! Many thanks to all involved in Orkney and Elsewhere for an amazing month, it has surpassed all my expectations. I’ll be posting soon with a follow-up for the project and the final map. Watch this space … (and map it if you like).

Dan

Map Orkney Month Week 3: Groatee buckies, budgies and re-forming the pearl

Norna Sinclair: Stromness 12/03

A VERY windy start to the day and an invigorating walk to the viewpoint on top of Brinkies Brae, looking over Stromness to Hoy.

Continuing on round the west shore and my special groatie buckie beach (small cowrie shell, the finding of which brings good luck!).

Then on past the Point ‘o’ Ness and through Stromness!

Later a quick ‘nip tae the toon’ via Waulkmill Bay, Orphir.

Neil Ackerman: Kirkwall 12/03

A walk around Kirkwall …

A day of meandering with my son, trying to keep us both amused and stop him running riot in the house. An initial walk through the Willows to see the crows then into the shelter of the garden centre to see the budgies. After this we wondered through town picking up a mother’s day card and few bits and bobs from the shops, through the town centre then home. After lunch, and a nap for the wee one, we braved the weather to post the mother’s day card down to Edinburgh, then a wonder around the harbour then round the Peedie Sea. The weather was enough to give even the Peedie Sea some pretty impressive waves, so we retreated for an adventure into the great known that is jungle world. After dealing with the weather, some familiar smiling cartoon lions in a nice warm soft room was very welcome. A dash home with the buggy zipped up concluded our adventure, a tired dad and son happy to be have a hot dinner and get ready for bed to face another day.

Listen to the budgies

Listen to the wind and rooks in the trees

Beth Murray: Kirkwall to Herston 14/03

I started out in St Ola and headed into the town and up to the college. A lot of the day was spent in and around the college but there was a rather exciting jaunt out. We headed out to Herston in South Ronaldsay to look at what was left of the Monarch (Canmore ID: 101994) as well as to do a preliminary survey of some of the smaller derelict boats on the foreshore as part of the NAS course in Foreshore and Underwater Archaeology. There’s plenty of activity on the beach and up the grass verge as I moved around the boat and to collect pieces of equipment. Herston is also great for sea glass and I managed to collect a piece or two of pottery too! After a trip back to the college it was time for home (and an early night) but first I stopped by the harbour to admire the lovely sunset.

Jenny Campbell: Eday 14/03

 

I chose this day to map Eday as it was my last full day living here, after two and a half years working as ranger and a bird surveyor on the island; I was leaving the following day. It was also my final event as Eday ranger, as part of British Science Week, together with Eday Heritage Centre, we had organised ‘Lichenopolis, the weird and wonderful world of Lichen’. My first trip of the day was from where I live in the north end, Calfsound, to pick up our guest for the day, at the pier. Julian Branscombe from RSPB came along to give us a talk on Lichen for beginners and help us identify some ‘in the field’; the ‘field’ being the old Kirkyard at Skaill a few miles south of the Heritage Centre (itself an old Baptist church).

Back to the Heritage Centre in the afternoon for sausage, egg and chip lunch then a few afternoon activities involving lichen quizzes, microscopes, oldest lichen competition and dyeing wool using lichens!

It was a bit windy but sunny and a fair few folk turned out to join in and learn a bit about Eday’s lichens as well as say goodbye, so it was a really lovely way to spend my last day on Eday.

Alan Craigie: Hoxa Head 15/03

A walk from St Margret’s Hope around Hoxa Head and back.

Rowena Baker: Kirkwall Bay 15/03

My mapping day started with feeding the hens and helping my daughter revise for her National 5’s. We both then went to Hatson slip for rowing practice with the Orkney Rowing Club, rowing a traditional Fair Isle Yoal and getting a Viking eye view of the Orkney Landscape.

Afterwards, back home and more revision followed by a walk down the field to the shore from where we can see the buoy marking the site of the Royal Oak (sunk by a u-boat in WWII ).

While walking along the shore and within sight of the Royal Oak buoy I found part of a poppy wreath that may have been laid down on 14th October to commemorate the loss of 883 young lives.

                   

 Stromness Community Garden: mapping workshop 15/03

We mapped the garden (plots, paths, drain, shed, car park & polytunnel) to create an accurate plan.

Black = Garmin handheld GPS x 2 (5m accuracy)

Red = Lecia Viva GNSS (15mm accuracy)

See here for more details

 

Tonje Birkeland: Bergen // Hoy 15/03

Gulfjellstoppen, Bergen, Norway

60°38’75.3″N 5°59’04.8″W

Ward Hill, Hoy, Orkney

58°54’23.1″N 3°20’10.5″W

I imagine it possible to stand on one of these mountains, both of them the tallest mountain, the peak of the specific piece of land surrounding it.

Both mountains may be covered in mist or clouds, the wind may hit them over and over again. Yet, this particular day in March, the sun shines at Gulfjellet. I imagine the skies being blue all the way to Hoy, as if I may see that mountain if I just gaze long enough in the exact right direction.

Luelle stood on both of these mountains. While standing on one of the peaks; did she long for the other?

 

III. White Hares of Ward Hill                                                              

White shirt clings chest in spirals, as the solid black valleys surround the scene.

Wild wind, whirling in salty waves, fifteen thousand feet above wave and water.

Wild hares with white winter fur, running wild on black land,

emerge as evidence of earlier human presence, easy to forget.

White shirt, whirling wind and wild hares: Ward Hill on the island Hoy.

Luelle Magdalon Lumiére, Hoy, February 1901.

 

LUELLE MAGDALON LUMIÉRE (1873-1973)

Luelle Magdalon Lumiére, stereo photographer, reaches the peak of her career around 1913. Luelle is a restless, yet strong woman that never settles. In her earlier years she wanders among the mountains of western Norway. Later she gets aboard a ship and travels west to the enormous urbanity of New York, the frontiers of Brooklyn and the boardwalks of Coney Island. One day she leaves to travel back north, first here, to Papa Westray, Orkney – travelling forth, driven by mystery, illusion and magic, from one island, one independent reality, to the next.

 

Rosey Priestman & Brendan Colvert: Stove, Sanday 13/03

Re-forming the Stove Pearl …

Due to a GPS technical hitch, the Stove Pearl was re-mapped on 13/03. What a beautiful map!

 

The map so far:

Map Orkney Month Week 1: Ponies, pearls and pancakes at Purtabreck

Jo Inkster: Rousay 01/03

A typical Sunday on the farm for this time of year. Cattle feeding duties followed by a wet and windy hack out on my favourite horse Storm. Rode out to the Westside of Rousay and my Waypoint picture is taken looking out over Quandale (site of the General Burrow’s Clearances) towards the Mainland. The rest of my day was spent with more cattle feeding, a quick dog walk and some work in the workshop.

Chris Gee: Firth 01/03

On Sunday afternoon we set off on our regular Sunday outing. This time we decided to go up the track into the Firth hills to the west of Holland Farm. We have been there a number of times before over the years. On the walk up the track you can see the bedrock exposed and there are what seem to be small stone quarries at the side – probably 19th century in date. The boys have fun pushing each other into the tussacks along the banks while I stare out towards Redland and the sky. We saw a double rainbow on the way up this time.

The first official stop is a small gully formed by the Burn o Geo. Here the boys have made up a game called “level one hundred”. It involves climbing along the steep heathery banks as far as possible without sliding down into the (very shallow) burn. Up stream someone has built a couple of little bridges that are good to go under. Dams are easy to make with the flagstones. The torrent released when the dam is opened quickly can carry turf divets and toy boats far down the rapids.

 

At the edge of the burn on the shoulder of a natural terrace sits a large circular, flat topped mound (NMR number HY31NE 17). Raymond Lamb – onetime County Archaeologist – suggested that it might have been either a burial mound or a burnt mound. There is some indication of an old water channel leading from the burn higher upstream around the other side of the mound as if the water could once have been diverted towards it. And even further upstream a couple of years ago we found what seems to be a dam and pond. If the mound is indeed a burnt mound then the supply of water to it would have been of prime importance. Burnt mounds usually surround or cover a water tank which was heated up using hot stones (which then eventually form the burnt mound).

Even though the boys had wet feet and their spare gloves were a bit thin we continued further up the track. On the journey we spoke about the frog that we had seen a couple of years before at a particular point, I remembered a bit of haematite I had found. It’s interesting how a piece of landscape can seem to hold memories and stories. Looking out towards Redland I remembered Eoin Scott and stories he had told me years ago about buildings there. If you could see all the stories and memories of everyone through the ages impressed on the landscape it would be very full I’m sure.

We walked as far as the old peat track above the Hammars of Syradale, into the Parish of Harray I think. There’s supposed to be a fairy’s pool in the rocks there, I was told. There is a spectacular view over the Harray and Stenness Lochs towards Hoy at this point. People used to walk up the dale to the hamars and carve their names in stone Sundays once. Sometimes it’s hard to separate these Sunday walks in time.

 Sarah Gee: South Ronaldsay and Mainland 01/03

This GPS trail for 01.03.15 shows a re-visit to the mainland locations for an installation work undertaken in 2012 (title: RePlace Orkney https://hegasaer.wordpress.com/). Without actually ending up at the installation sites themselves, we travelled to a point near the northernmost (Brough of Birsay) and then traversed the Mainland taking in locations at the Ring of Brodgar, Ness of Brodgar and Wideford Hill, before driving to the nearest parking spot to the Balfour Battery, which was the southernmost installation site (where I was interviewed for BBC Radio Orkney: Tulliementan by Fion, in May 2012).

In the time available I could not visit my installation’s westernmost (Hoy) or easternmost (North Ronaldsay) locations, but it was brilliant to have a beautiful day and great companions for a nostalgic trip. And we did manage a somewhat potholey experience to visit Shunan Loch to see a Blue-winged Teal!

Fabulous day, beautiful weather. Magic place.

 Rosey Priestman & Brendan Colvert: Sanday 01/03

Helga Tulloch: North Ronaldsay 04/03

Isabella and I went out between planes to feed the sheep at Cruesbreck and hens at Verracott, pick up a dehumidifier and managed to fit in a walk round the West Beach and pancakes at Purtabreck.

Site record for the hen house at Verracott is 59 22 30 north/02 25 39 west.

Jane: Kirkwall 04/03

Earl’s Palace in Kirkwall – I just love this place. I often wonder what it looked like before the roof was taken off. I know that it doesn’t have the best history, but it is still a magnificent building. I always wanted to live near a castle when I was younger (which clearly wasn’t going to happen to someone who lived in Australia) but now at least I can say I do live near a couple of palaces at least! I also love the rooks that are usually sitting in the trees in the palace grounds – it’s like they are holding meetings there when they talk to each other, so I have included a photo of them too.

 

St Olaf’s Kirk archway – I like the archway because of its connection to the naming of Kirkwall. If it wasn’t there, then the town wouldn’t ever have been named Kirkjuvagr (Church Bay) which over the years has changed to Kirkwall. Also the name St Olaf shows the connection of Orkney with the Norse, so for me this is also interesting because I study the Vikings.

Kirkwall Harbour – I feel the harbour is very important to Orkney as a whole as islands rely on the sea so much. It’s always so busy where the ferries come in too, connecting Kirkwall to the rest of Orkney (so I have included Earls Thorfinn and Sigurd ferries in the photos).

Map Orkney Month map so far:

More contributions from Week 1 to follow…