This evening, I am re-posting my blog for May 9th as such failed to publish on the day.

Today, our tour progressed as follows:

Firstly to Italian Chapel which dates from 1943-5. The structure comprises two Nissan huts which were used by Italian prisoners of war to construct  a chapel. Similar improvisation skills were used to furnish and decorate the chapel interior. The original builder/decorators returned in the 1960s and the 1990s to undertake repair work. The chapel is now in good repair and a major tourist attraction.

Italian Chapel, Orkney

Italian Chapel, Orkney, Scotland

Inside Italian Chapel, Orkney

Inside Italian Chapel, Orkney, Scotland

Next to Scapa, principally to visit the Scapa flow memorial at Scapa beach. It was close to this site that the British battleship Royal Oak was sunk by a German torpedo from U-47 in 1939 resulting in a huge loss of life. In reaction to that disaster so-called ‘Churchill’ barriers were built to act as a barrier to U-Boat intrusion. The Italian prisoners mentioned above were employed on this major construction project.

Scapa Flow Memorial Garden, Orkney

Scapa Flow Memorial Garden, Orkney, Scotland

Close by is located Scapa Distillery, one of two such whisky distilleries in the Orkneys.

Scapa Distillery, Orkney

Scapa Distillery, Orkney, Scotland

Windsurfing, Scapa

Windsurfing, Scapa, Orkney

Finally, we returned to Kirkwall, capital of the Orkneys, to visit St. Magnus Cathedral, the Bishop’s Palace and the Earl’s Palace.

St Magnus Cathedral dominates the local skyline. It was founded by the Viking, Earl Rognvald in AD 1137 and took 300 years to complete. St Magnus was the martyred uncle of Earl Rognvald. A truly stunning building. Here is a video clip of the interior

St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall

St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney

Entrance to St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall

Entrance to St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney

Stained Glass, St Magnus Cathedral

Stained Glass, St Magnus Cathedral, Orkney

Here is the Earl’s Palace which was built using the islanders as slave labour around AD1600. Result was extraordinary beauty and refinement, without parallel in Scotland.

Earl's Palace, Kirkwall

Earl's Palace, Kirkwall, Orkney

The day rounded off with a walk around Kirkwall and its harbour.

Street Scene, Kirkwall

Street Scene, Kirkwall, Orkney

Kirkwall Harbour

Kirkwall Harbour, Orkney

This concluded a fascinating four day of Orkney which offers a rich diversity of history and heritage. I hope to return!

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