The power and the glory

Episodes of an Orkney Winter and the Churchill Barriers.

Winter storm at Birsay Bay, 7 February 2017

Five months have passed since the Orkney Mole last surfaced. There should have been at least one post entitled “Orkney Mole goes to Sicily”, comparing island life in two startling different climates. Sadly however, the vagaries of mobile internet connections followed by commitments to everyday life disrupted that literary opus. This latest and brief sojourn to Orkney was suggested by our Orcadian friends who kept telling us that we should experience an Orkney winter. So we packed for cold, wet and windy, and for a large part that is what we have got. What we didn’t expect however was to observe the tenacity with which local people get on with life in conditions that would drive many people to their beds. Not for the first time either, we have experienced highly disrupted mobile phone and internet signal coverage, so getting this first blog out has been a significant achievement.

I need to reprise several of the stories and subjects covered by the Orkney Mole last year. One of the most topical relates to the Churchill Barriers, touched upon in The Pentland Ferries Road Race. During the last few years the barriers are often temporarily closed during winter storms for safety reasons because, depending on wind direction and tide height, storm waves break dangerously over these narrow causeways. Prior to this it was left to driver discretion, but incidents of damaged and stranded vehicles were increasing and it was feared to be only a matter of time before a fatality occurred. Continue reading “The power and the glory”


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