Wednesday, 13 September 2017


Although only 30 miles across the Pentland Firth, Orkney feels a world away. Life is quieter, calmer and less hurried. The people are a community people - open and welcoming. The world is smaller and the sense of community more intimate. There are single track roads, wide open farms and cows in the city. 

The harbour at Stromness is a busy one, yet the scenery rarely changes. The only difference from one hour to the next may be the presence or absence of the Ferry. There is a serenity about sitting and watching the activity. Never hurried. Calm and comforting. 

This city is rich in history, as evidenced by blue plaques and the odd statue. 

Much of life revolves around the sea, the tides and of course, the weather. All of it taken in stride and never grumbled about. Because of it's place on the map, Stromness also has a long history with the Hudson's Bay Company. For it was here that the ships came to take on fresh water, fresh supplies and men to work for them back in Canada. 

The men were hard working, adaptable and eager to learn. They were skilled at living off the land or the sea. They were known to take " Country Wives"  and many had families in Canada, generally with Inuit women. The wives back in Orkney knew this yet again, this was taken in stride. Most men worked for the length of their contracts and then returned to their homeland. Those who stayed in Canada often remained in the employ of the HBC. 

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