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pass the most southerly of the Ork-
neys, the Pentland Skerries, with
their twin lighthouses, and skirt the
E. cliffs of the fertile island of South
Pionaldsay, in the N. end of which
the clustering masts of the fishing-
fleet mark the little town of St. Mar-
garet's Hope, where Queen ]\Iargaret,
the Maid of Norway, died (1290) on
her way from Norway to Scotland,
the sad prelude of the long wars of
Scottish independence. A very curi-
ous Burg, which gave name to the
sandy island of Burrey (Borg-ey) has
been opened, and over it again ap-
pear the hills of Hoy and Orphir,
the highest in the Orkney Mainland.
Passing the entrance of Holm Sound,
where there is an excellent anchorage
near Graemshall (A. S. Graem, Esq.),
the steamer runs between the E.
shore of the peninsula of Deerness,
fertile and cultivated to the beach,
and the strangely-shaped island of
Copansey, whose green W. slopes
contrast strongly with its E. preci-
pice, the noisy nest of myriads of
sea-birds. In the Bay of Sandwick
(1.) Thorfui-Jarl defeated the "gra-
cious Duncan," nicknamed by the
Norsemen Carle-King, and in its
ruined burgh Thorkel Foster exe-
cuted wild justice on the tyrant
Einar-Jarl II. Bounding the ]\Iull
of Deerness (the oftnamed Kaujian-
danes of the sagas) (1.), we have a
distant view (rt.) of the N. isles of
Stronsey, Sandey, Edey, and Rousey,
and nearer the eye, Shapinshay and
Aukskerry, with its lighthouse. The
fine natural harbom' of Deersound
(the ancient Ptorvag) (1.) is full of
legendary interest. Here Olaf of
Norway surprised Sigurd-Jarl II.,
and forced on him Christian baptism.
At the head of the Sound rises the


Route IL — Orkney : Kirkwall.

Sect. A^II.

sepulchral tumulus called Dinguy's
(Ninian's) Howe, where that saint
drove out the evil spirit which had
for weeks reanimated the corpse of
Amund, in unnatural strife with his
devoted sworn brother, who had in
his love entered its recesses to share
his grave. Farther down stands
Tankerness (Robert Baikie, Esq.),
where Sir James Sinclair of Sandey,
the Wallace of Orkney, lived, and
whence his daughter, the greatest
heiress of Orkney, eloped on her
bridal morning with young Halcro of
Brough, to escape a forced marriage
with the old and ugly Tulloch of
Sound. Tradition affirms that Mary
of Guise dismissed Tulloch's appeal,
with sympathetic approval of the
young iDride's choice. At the mouth
of the Sound is the curious chasm,
called the Gloup of Linksness, into
Avhich Sir James threw himself in
madness, or despair of his country's
liberties, when James V. of Scotland
came to the Orkneys (1540). But
the steamer only passes the mouth
of Deer Sound and of the still
finer anchorage of Inganess, Bir-
stane House (Mrs. Balfour), and
threading the narroAV channel be-
tween EUer Holm (Hellirsey) and
the Ness of Work (Ore) enters the
Sound, Avhich Scott may well call
"beautiful," between the mainland
(1.) and the well-cultivated Island of
Shapinshaij ; passing the fine harbour
Elwick (rt.), the rendezvous of
Haco's fleet before his fatal raid to
Largs (1263), and the imposing S.
front of Balfour Castle (Col. D. Bal-
four of Balfour and Trenabie), who
has redeemed the island from waste,
and by agricultural improvements
converted it into a profitable domain
of 29, 054 acres. Here was the cradle
of Washington Irving, at least his
forefathers occupied the humble
cottage of Duholme, and he himself
was born on board an American ship
on its passage hence to New York.

Next the noble Bay of Kirkwall
opens before us, and the massive

Cathedral of St. Magnus looms
grandly over the quaint little capital
of the Orkneys, and at its excellent
deep-water pier the steamer moors
long enough to allow the tourist to
visit its objects of interest before she
starts for Lei'wick.

Kirkivall (Kirkvolldr, Kirkfield) —
Inns : Kirkwall Hotel (Connon's) ;
Castle Hotel (Muir's), and Temper-
ance Hotel (Adarason's) ; Pop. 3434
— stands upon the narrow neck of
land between the Bay of Scapa S.,
and Kirkwall N. It is a picturesque,
old-fashioned, dull little town, the
older streets being very narrow and
flagged in the centre, built long be-
fore wheeled vehicles were known in
the islands. Many of the houses
are still curious and picturesque, but
modern improvements are 3'early
sweeping away some of those most
interesting to the artist, the antiqu-
ary, and the architect, but at least
one still remains nearly opposite to
the Cathedral.

Kirkwall was made a ro3^al burgh
by James III. (1486), and was visited
by James V., who held various meet-
ings with the island magnates in the
" Parliament Close," a curious build-
ing, removed to make way for the
handsome Commercial Bank. He
lodged in the Bishop's House, still
standing opposite the present Post-
office. In the Poor House Close is
an elegant arched doorway, the sole
remains of the original parochial
church of St. Ola, burnt by the Eng-
lish fleet of Henry VIII. in his rude
courtship of the infant Queen Mary
as a bride for his son (1544).

The street near the Castle Hotel
passes over the site of the old Castle
of Kirkwall, once so strong that its
builder Earl Henry was believed to
have been helped by the devil. This
stronghold was held against the
fugitive Earl of Bothwell by Balfour,
Governor of Orkney (1567), but on
the suppression of the Orkney Ee-
bellion (1614) was so thoroughly
demolished that only a fragment


Route 74. — Kirkicall ; Cathedral.


remained to be removed in the for-
mation of Castle-street. Near the S.
end of the town stands the useful
but unpretending Balfour Hospital
for the sick.

The Cathedral of St. Macjims * is
built of red and white freestone, and
is perfect, with the exception of the
spire. It is a cross ch. consisting of
nave of 8 bays and chancel of 6, both
Avith aisles about 45 ft. wide, sur-
mounted by a central tower 133 ft.
high. Magnus- Jarl of Orkney Avas
murdered in the island of Egilsey
(1110) by his cousin Hacon-Jarl, in
one of those strifes of succession to
which Odal-ret was so liable. Rogn-
wald-Jarl III., the nephew and heir
of St. Magnus, vowed that if ever he
recovered his rights he would build
and dedicate a church to his sainted
uncle, and accordingly (1138) he
commenced the central nucleus of
the cathedral after the design of
those which he had seen in his pil-
grimage to Rome and Palestine ;
probably with a rounded apse (of
which traces still remain), and two
parallel aisles on each side of the
nave, as indicated by the arches (of
which two are built up) in the E.
wall of what afterwards became the
transept. Bishop Stewart added the
E. window (cir. 1511). Bishop ]\Iax-
well (1525) built the central tower,
which rests on early English arches,
and fnrnished it with a fine bell, cast
by Robert Bothwick, the master
gunner who tried so hard to save his
master James IV. from his own folly
at Flodden. Bishop Reid (cir. 1550)
added 3 Romanesque arches to the
W. end. The extreme length is 226
ft., but the narrowness of the choir
and nave adds to their apparent
height, though, considering that 400
years elapsed from the original foun-
dation to the completion of the build-
ing, its uniformity of style is remark-
able. The steeple was used some-

* See the Cliurch of St. Magnus in Ork-
ney by Sir Henry Dryden, Bart., Daventry,


times as a prison and sornetimes as a
fortress, and the Cromwelnan soldiers
made a barrack and a stable of the
nave. The carving has suffered as
much from violence as from time and
the softness of the stone.

The j\Iaid of Norway was buried
in the cathedral, and the body of
King Haco rested there till a more
permanent tomb was prepared for
him in Drontheim. A huge slab of
white marble covers the bones of
Earl Robert, and repairs in the choir
brought to light fragments of the
finely crocheted tomb of Bishop Tul-
loch in the S. aisle, which bore his
name. In the N. transept stands a
handsome monument to William
Balfour Baikie, the explorer of the
Niger, and translator of the Bible
into many African languages, and in
the N. external aisle a mural slab
in memory of another distinguished
native of Kirkwall, the historian
]\Ialcolm Laing, whose residence of
Papdale (Hon. J. C. Dundas, M.P.)
looks down from the hill N.E. of the
town. The cathedral was saved from
Reformation violence by the afiee-
tionate zeal of the townsmen, and
Kirkwall continued to be an episco-
pal see under a succession of 7 Pro-
testant bishops till the Revolution.

S. of the Cathedral stands the
ruined Bishojy's Palace, in an upper
chamber of which the unfortunate
King Haco broke his heart after
his disaster at Largs (1263). The
principal feature of the palace
(which was probably in ruins before
the date of James V. 's visit) is a
tower, round -syithout and S([uare
within, supported by very strong-
buttresses, and ornamented with a
small statue, probably of some saint,
but vulgarly attributed to the dis-
tinguished scholar, lawyer, and dip-
lomatist. Bishop Robert Reid.

To the E. of the Bishop's Palace
stands the ruined EarVs Falace or
Place of the Yards," built by Earl
Patrick Stewart (1600), a good spe-
cimen of the baronial style, when


Boute 7 L— Kirkwall ; JVlchforcl Hill Sect. VIIL

tlie castellated form came to be used
more for %rnament than defence.
The entrance is low and dark, and
over the door is a Latin inscription,
hut its situation is so darkened by
the trees which overhang it as to
make it illegible. The main body
of the building is rectangular, with
turrets thrown out from the angles
of the first floor. The dining-hall is
very handsome, with a three-light
window to the S., and 2 bays to the
E. The fire-place is a fine example
of the straight arch, its pillars bear-
ing the initials P. E. 0. (Patrick, Earl
of Orkney). These ruins shared with
the Cathedral steeple and the demo-
lished castle of Kirkwall the interest
of the historical episode of the Orkney
Rehcllioa of 1614, under the unfortu-
nate Robert Stewart, the Bastard of
Orkney, the gallant son of a bad
father. Earl Patrick ; and in the
ruined dining-hall Sir "Walter Scott
places the scene of Cleveland's inter-
view with Bunce in " The Pirate."

Bpiscopal Churchh.eTe. The United
Presbyterians, being the largest body,
have a church which is said to be
the largest belonging to their sect
in the kingdom.

Carriages may be hired for about
10s. a day. A mail car runs be-
tween Kirkwall and Sti'omness daily.
Steamers runs to the N. isles twice a
week, and sailing packets almost

iSTo tourist should fail to climb the
easy ascent of the Widcford Hill, to
enjoy its splendid bird's-eye view of
the Orkneys, the Pentland Firth,
and the distant peaks of Caithness
and Sutherland. The excellent road
to Stromness runs not through the
narrow streets, but passes W. be-
tween the Bay and the Peerie Sea
(a salt-water lagoon) by one of those
natural causeways called Ayres,
which are so striking a feature of
Orkneyan scenery, and crossing a
bridge winds to the right ; but a
by-road strikes off on the left di-
rectly from the bridge up the hill,

passing (1.) Grainbank (Earl of Zet-
land), and (rt. ) a Pict's house, in
which was found a silver armlet ;
an easy walk, little more than a
mile, leads to the summit. The
tourist is now in the centre of the
Orcadian scenes of "The Pirate,"
and will form his own estimate
of the truth of the great artist's
sketches ; but instead of indulging
in self-complacent criticism on the
discovery of some mistaken, defective,
or too ideal feature, will probably
rather do homage to the genius
which could hit off such a likeness
at one sitting, so brief and so excep-
tionally unsatisfactory as Scott's
visit in 1814 ; especially if allow-
ance be made for the changes
wrought by a still greater magician
— Tiine, and for half a century of
improvement which has altered or
effaced so much of the picture pho-
tographed for ever by the author of
" Waverley."

From tiie top of Wideford Hill
nearly all the islands may be seen ;
and no one who goes there on a clear
day will hesitate to admit that the
scene before him, looking seaward,
is one of exquisite beauty. In calm
weather, the sea, land-locked by the
islands, resembles a vast lake, clear
and bright as a mirror, and without
a ripple save from the gentle impulse
of the tide. Here, a bluff headland
stands out in bold relief against the
horizon ; there, the more distant
islet is lost in sea and sky ; on one
side a shelving rock sends out a black
tongue-like point, sharp as a needle,
losing itself in the water, where it
forms one of those reefs so common
among the islands, and so fatal to
strangers, but which every Orkney
boatman knows, as we do the streets
of our native town ; while, on the
other side, a green holm, covered
with cattle and ponies, slopes gently
to the Avater's edge. Then there is
the dovetailing and intercrossing of
one point with another, the purple
tints of the islands, the deep blue of


Route li. — Orhiey : Maeshoic.


the sea, the indentations of the coast,
the boats plying their oars or linger-
ing lazily on the waters, the ^yhite
sails of the pleasure-yachts contrast-
ing with the dark-brown canyas of
the fishing craft, and here and there
a large merchant vessel entering or
leaving the harbour : — all these com-
bine to make a most lovely picture,
in which the additional ornament of
trees is not missed. — J. Kerr.

An excellent road leads from Kirk-
Avall to Stromness, passing the Ayre
and bridge, and winds westward be-
tween Wideford Hill and the sea-
coast, affording many 2:»retty bits of
landscape. On the N. face of the
hill stands the remarkable Pict's
House at Quanterness (1.) described
and pictured in Barry's "History of
Orkney," which is well worth exami-
nation, and a little higher up another
still unopened. But Pict's houses,
burgs, and howes or burial mounds
occur so frequently, that we shall
not hereafter notice them, unless they
are in some way remarkable. Re-
turning to the main road, nearly
opposite the pretty green islet of
Danisey and its ruined burg, so often
named in the stirring legends of the
Sagas, we pass the Kirk of Firth (1. )
and a branch road to Evie strikes
off (rt.), just before entering the vil-
lage of

Finstown (6 m.) {Inn: Gray's
Temperance), a good centre for ex-
cursions to the N". mainland.

Above a picturesquely wooded pass
stands Binscarth (R. Scarth, Esq.),
which commands a magnificent view.
A little farther on a branch road (rt. )
leads northward to Harray and Birsa,
but our direct road enters the parish
of Stenniss. Among the hills to the
S. lies the valley of Bigsivell or
Sominerdale, the Bannockburn of
Orkney, where (1530) the Orkneyans,
under Sir James Sinclair, vindicated
their odal rights, by an exterminat-
ing victory over their Scottish inva- •
ders under John, Earl of Caithness,
in a field still marked by many a
battle mound.

A few yards from the road (rt.)
stands one of the most remarkable
ancient monuments of Orkney, the
sepulchral mound of*Macshotv (Mcstr,
great ; Haugr, tomb). Many a legend
still lingers around Maeshow and its
strong but stupid Hog-boy {haighui,
larva sepulcri), the guardian of its
treasures and its secrets. His treasure
has been stolen long ago, but he still
keeps his secret. Perhaps, like Lady

"He will not utter what he does not know."

Its sculptured dragons may point to
serpent- worship, and the Runes which
cover its walls may long exercise the
ingenuity of Scandinavian scholars :
but as they were not wi'itten till
the tomb had been ruined, they
can throw little light on its origin,
objects, or date. The mysteries of
Maeshow and Stenniss will probably
be solved with those of Stonehenge,
Avebury, Karnac, and Gavr-ynis,
and not sooner. Maeshow is about
92 ft, in diameter, 36 ft. high, and
about 300 ft. in circumference, sur-
rounded by a trench 40 ft. wide, and
about 6 ft. deep. It had undoubtedly
been rifled by the Northmen, who
were deterred from opening no place
likely to repay their trouble. "Whether
they found it a ruin or not, it is
evident that the Runes were not in-
scribed till the roof was uncovered,
and probably not till ages of exposure
had decayed the surface of the stone,
and they evidently showed little re-
spect to the dead, for the stones
which once closed the cells were found
torn out and buried in the ruins of the
fallen roof, A passage, opening from
the W., 26 feet long, 3^ ft. wide,
and 4g ft, high, leads to the central
chamber, which is a cube of nearly
15 ft., having sepulchral cells on
three of the sides, the cells being
respectively 6 ft. 10 in,, 5 ft, 7 in,, and
5 ft, 8 in, in length. The roof, floor,
and walls of each cell are formed of
a single stone, and the stones that
formed the doors were found on the
ground in front of them. The four

452 Eoute 74:. — Orhmj : MaesJioio ; Stenniss. Sect. VIIL

walls of the central chamber are
formed of immense slabs of stone or
flag 15 ft. long, and about 6 ft. above
the floor they commence to converge
towards the centre in the manner of
a Pictish arch. But the present roof
is composed of brick for lightness and
protection, as it was found that a
roof of the original material was too
heavy for the time - wasted walls.
In each angle is a large buttress of
a single stone about 10 ft. high, the
face of which, as well as the edge of
those composing the walls, are co-
vered with about 935 Runic charac-
ters, besides a dragon of very lively
action, and a knot of serpents, pro-
bably of a different hand and age
from the Runes. The whole sti'uc-
ture is without mortar, of undressed
stones of huge size, of the same kind
and quarry as the monoliths of Sten-
niss, which, it is not impossible, may
have been taken for the purpose, and
may thus account for some blanks in
the circles ; and the whole is covered
by an immense cone of earth, which
is"^ well entitled to the distinction of
the Highest Tumulus, or 3Icstr

Passing the Kirk of Stenniss (rt.)
and the ruins of the House of Sten-
niss, the ancient Bu, where Havard-
Jarl was murdered by his wicked
wife, the Princess Gunhild (cir. 990),
and the imaginary site of some of the
most stirring scenes of "The Pirate "
(in which, however, Scott seems to
have confused his topographical me-
moranda of Stenniss with those of
Clestrain on the other side of the
Oi-phir Hills), the tourist is now in
the midst of the remarkable region
of circles, monoliths, tumuli, and
other mysterious antiquities of Sten-

A byroad turns from the farm of
Barnhouse to the rt., leading direct
to the Stonehenge of Orkney. Fol-
lowing this path a few hundred yards,
we reach (rt.) the small circle of
Stenniss, composed of 12 stones
about 15 ft. high, of which only two

are standing and two prostrate. The
radius of this stone-circle, when com-
plete, was about 50 ft., and that of
the surrounding embankment about
120 ft. The plough has efiaced
nearly half of the once circular val-
lum — a sacrilege probably committed
by the same Highland farmer who
destroyed the interesting stone of
Odin, which stood (till 1814) a few
yards to the E. of this group. A
little farther on stands the watch-
stone, the highest of all the standing
stones, immediately before entering
the narrow causeway between the
fresh-water Loch of Harra and the
tidal Loch of Stenniss, called the
Bridge of Brogarth, which leads
direct, past many tumuli and mono-
liths, to the great circle or Ring of
Brogarth, or Brogar.

This is a deeply-entrenched circu-
lar space of about 2^ acres, \di\\ a
diameter of 366 ft. The trench
which surrounds it is 29 ft. broad
and 6 ft. deep, crossed by two nar-
row earth banks. The erect stones
in the circle stand about 18 ft. apart,
and about 13 ft, within the trench,
of various sizes from 6 to 13 ft.,
totally unhewn, and all of the old
red sandstone. The probable num-
ber when complete was about 60,
but only 13 remain standing, 10 pros-
trate, and the broken stumps of a few
others. Near Brogar Bridge, one
of two standing stones has a hole
through it. It is mentioned in
Scott's " Pirate, " and until recent
times, an oath taken with hands
joined through the hole in "Wo-
den's Stone," was deemed binding
in the law-courts of Orkney, Inde-
pendent of its antiquarian interest,
the situation of the Ring of Brogarth,
standing on a narrow peninsula,
sloping on both sides to the Lochs
of Stenniss and Harra, and the views
from it in every direction, are strik-
ingly beaxitiful. The neighbourhood
seems to have been the Orcadian
Campo Santo ; for within a short

distance there arc

jles of stand-


Route 74.-

-Stenniss ; Slrommss.


ing stones, 4 separate monoliths, 2
other circles, of which all the stones
are prostrate, and scores of tumnli,
in one of which was found a very fine
urn of micaceous schist, and various
other antiquities.

Returning to the main road at
Barnhouse, we pass through the
township of Clouston, curiously illus-
trative of infinitesimal subdivision
of odal land and its effects. Keep-
ing generally close to the Loch of
Stenniss, we cross its shallow en-
trance by the Bridge of IVaith
( Vaedr, a shallow stream), a hand-
some stone bridge, which has replaced
the ancient and dangerous structure
of wood. Here the carriage-road to
Stromness winds round the hill of
Clouston, aff'ording pretty views of
the Loch of Via, etc., the banks of
which furnished the stones of Sten-
niss, if we may judge from some of
similar structure submerged in the
water. But pedestrians should fol-
low the rough but shorter track over
the hill to enjoy the beautiful views
of Cairston Bay, Hoy Sound, Hoy
Graemsey, and the picturesque en-
virons of

14| m. Stromness. {Inns: Masons'
Arms, and Commercial; both good.)
This is a busy little town of one very
narrow street, with steep branches
running directly up the granite hill
which shelters it from the Atlantic,
and the many jetties to its fine and
important harbour. There is still con-
siderable activity from the concourse
of shipping, shipbuilding, and fish-
eries. It is the Orkney port of the
daily mail steamer to Thurso, and the
northern port of call for the Hudson's
Bay and whaling fleets, the poor re-
presentatives of the hundreds that
rendezvoused in its roadstead in the
days of war and convoys. The Mu-
seum well deserves a visit, and the
Cemetery is remarkable for the savage
and lonely grandeur of its situation.
On the high authority of Hugh Miller,
this district is to tlie geologist not
only the most interesting in Orkney,

but surpassed by few in the N. of
Scotland, yielding among its Ich-
thyolites the Asterolepis or star
scale fish. Stromness is also the
most convenient centre for excur-
sions to Hoy, Graemsey, and Walls,
Sandwick, and Birsay, rich in inte-
rest for the botanist, geologist, and
antiquary, as well as to the lover of
picturesque scenery.

From Stromness the mail steamer
runs daily in summer at 5 a. m. to
Thurso (Scrabster Bay), occupying in
good weather 4 hours. On its return
it leaves Thurso at 10.30 a.m.

[Bxcm'siom from Stromness. — To
the N". to Birsay, 12 m. This road
has been re-made for the first 5 m.,
but walkers and riders may shorten
it by keeping to the old one, which
crosses the hills instead of going
round them. There is also a walk
along the edge of the cliff's, and some
natural curiosities Avorth seeing, such
as a lofty insulated pillar, the natural
pavement of Skail, which was long
believed to have been formed by art,
and the Hole of Row, a natural arch
formed by two whin dykes, the ma-
terial between them having been
washed out by the sea. The rude
ancient Picts' houses, which have
been disinterred and exposed on the
shore of the Bay are of the highest
historic interest.

4 m. by the ordinary road is the
Mill of Voy, where we enter the
parish of Sandwick, some of which
has been reclaimed, but the greater
part is still a sandy plain, studded
with heather bushes. Among this
heather, on an eminence 1 m, to the
rt., beyond Loch Clumly, are the
Stones of Via, and a group of tumuli
which have been opened and the
flagstones that lined the graves ruth-
lessly scattered.

On the main road, 6 m., is the
house of Mr. Watt of Breckness, on
the side of Sandwick Hill. Through
Marv/ick the road is not so good.

12 m. Birsay Palace, though now
in a deplorable state of ruin, was

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