Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Touring the Eastern Mainland and Connecting Islands

On Day 3, I toured the Eastern Mainland and the small islands that are connected by the manmade Churchill Barriers. First I visited the Italian Chapel. The chapel is on the grounds of a former Italian POW camp. Among the prisoners were some very talented men including stonemasons, engineers, plumbers and electricians. In addition to building themselves the buildings they required to survive, the banded together to build a place of worship. The result is this beautiful chapel


The men painted decorative pillars and hung carved Stations of the Cross

The reason the Italian POW camp was located where it was was to use the men to build the first of the Churchill Barriers. Used as a defensive as well as linking the small island to the mainland of Orkney

Remnants of the POW camp

Remembering the men who lost their lives building the barriers

Shipwrecks in Scapa Flow - purposely sunk to create a defensive

Ever wonder where the large stones came from to build the standing stone circles? 
They form the shorelines of Orkney

Tomb of the Eagles is at the furthest point south of the islands that are accessible without a ferry. This chambered tomb was uncovered by the farmer who owned the land in 1958. 
Archaeologists found the bones and teeth of approximately 100 bodies. Also in the tomb were the bones and talons of eagles and the bones and skulls of Otters.

Getting into the tombs through the very long, very low entrance passage can be a challenge

My last stop in Orkney was at Maes Howe. A remarkably well preserved chambered cairn. Maes Howe is in close proximity to the standing stones at both Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar. And was likely used by the people who inhabited the village at Skara Brae. Together the four sites make up the heart of Neolithic Orkney and have been given World Heritage Status

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