Beyond the tourist façade . . .
Surrounded by pristine waters of the North Sea and the Atlantic ocean and in sight of Scotland, the peaceful, close-to-nature peoples of Orkney flourish.
From historic roots in farming and fishing these individual masters of agriculture and aquaculture have also fostered their own unique culture of hospitality. Together with fresh farm produce and freshly harvested seafood there is an unpretentious welcome of friendship, service and quality provisions. All set against a background of sharing a rich historic legacy of their Neolithic and Palaeolithic forefathers with curious visitors from across the globe.
Monumental constructions have prevailed, from historic feats of mankind’s endeavour to fulfilling roles of vitality in this 21st century community. Paramount in this scene is the 12th century architectural masterpiece of Kirkwall Cathedral. Its historic stature is a centrepiece for all Orcadian peoples, radiating vibrant cultural waves far beyond its religious heartbeat. From piano recitals, Elizabethan choristers, weddings and a glorious setting for an international music festival the iconic Cathedral touches the hearts of both Orcadian folk and admiring visitors alike.
For all of its vibrant culture, its world-class archaeology and its breath-taking topology there is a greater prize for those that pierce the tourist facade. It is peace. Peaceful lifestyles from living in harmony with nature: peace of mind from living in harmony with fellow humans in a low-crime environment: peace of mind to live in fresh air, unpolluted atmospheres, pristine waters and temperate weather patterns which rarely freeze and never blister.
Beyond the tourist sights lies a haven of natural hospitality, warmth and friendliness from a people proud of their culture, environment and close-to-nature lifestyles. From across the planet visitors reflecting upon their ancient roots by viewing Skara Brae, Maeshowe and the myriad of archaeological wonders, should also make time to experience nature. Clifftop walks, hillsides, coastal pathways, birding and the like create enduring memories of refreshing and rejuvenating holidays.
Meanwhile . . .
For those that seek out the true natural splendour and beauty of these islands there are many unspoiled places. On the happy island of South Ronaldsay, sheltered around a natural harbour lies the quaint village of St Margaret’s Hope, unspoiled by the march of time. Here is sheep that have taken their coats off to bask in the sun by the sea.
Alongside its blacksmith’s workshop, craft centre, church and community hall, there is a flourishing vibrancy of hospitality fostered by the new generation of Orcadian service providers. The Murray Arms combines the atmosphere of a traditional pub with local fare of fresh seafood, a welcoming insight into village life for causal visitors and bed and breakfast guests.
Moving with the times Robertson’s Coffee Hoose and Bar by day transforms into an eclectic cocktail bar and live music venue in the evenings.
it's a pleasant place to tarry while sipping Orkney gin or munching a scrummy home-baked coffee and walnut delight.
St Margaret’s Hope is the fast sea-going gateway to Orkney courtesy of Pentland Ferries.
Set in the idyllic rural pastureland of the happy Island of South Ronaldsay is the home of the Missing Bell at Eastward House.
Here is view from above the Missing Bell:-
In addition to traditional fare, high quality local and regional produce become the essence of exquisite international cuisine celebrating the best of other island nations such as Polynesian and Japanese cuisine from The Missing Bell at Eastward Guest House. Maintaining a traditional link with the past is ‘The Orcadian Feast’ with its Palaeolithic elements of seafood, wild boar and venison.
Be happy, Be healthy,
Puffin photo at Birsay courtesy of guest David Kroemer.
"This church had 134 years of weddings, blessings and Sunday school; it must be Inculcated with love, the walls must exude happiness and joy." Keiko Yamaga-White November 2007