Sunday, 21 September 2014

TUESDAY: DISCOVERING SWANBISTER BAY


Swanister House in the middle distance
It was a grey and murky day so we headed into Kirkwall to do our business affairs and emails and came home to lunch. Immediately lunch after the sun came out and the sky was at its bluest.

Nothing for it but to consult the O.S. map for an adventure; Swanbister Bay is a few miles from where the road from our place by the Loch meets the A964. Drive along Westwards for a mile or so and then turn off down a farm track for a mile or so.

We parked off the track just past the entrance to Swanbister House, lovely grand farmhouse that looks out to sea. It was a walk in warm sunshine along the footpath by the line of low cliffs that often fell way to the beach.

On, past some farm buildings and one large ruin that we surmised might have even been part of a fish handling building? At the end of the bay there is what is left of a long pier. It looked to have been extended for naval activity and then fallen into disrepair. All along the beach on our way round we could see old rusting torpedo nets forming a frieze along the sand underneath the cliffs.


En route we nearly tripped over what was left of an old naval mine in the long grass. There is history at every turn on Orkney and the delight of discovering it. And halfway down the pier someone had thoughtfully placed a bench, facing the sun, for us to rest, before the walk back.