Built out of two Nissen Huts placed end to end the Italian Chapel is a labour of deep love, one that brought its creators and its congregation closer to home and certainly to their maker.
In WW2 as many as 700 Italian prisoners of war were held on Orkney, their principle role was to help in the construction of the Churchill Barriers; long lines of concrete blocks which carried roadways from Orkney connecting the South Holm, Burray and South Ronaldsay.
A group of POWs created this lovely chapel. One of its principle features is an external west façade visible from some way off. Inside you see trompe d’oile paintings walls and ceilings. There are Stations of the Cross were carved from scrap wood, Sanctuary lights made from tin cans and a lovely wrought-iron screen; it is a treasure box.
Skara Brae, the most complete Neolithic settlement in Europe. As exciting was our discovery Explorer Tickets from Scottish Heritage (many of their sites at a reduced entry price). We immediately purchased two. Two other good things about Scottish Heritage; you get ‘senior’ concession at the age of 60 (unlike over priced Tomb of Eagles – Tuesday) and Christopher.
At Skara Brae sentinel-like Christopher from English Heritage stands watch over the site itself. Pretty and in his late-20s, charming, he has the gift of the gab (he bought Pound Land’s entire stock) and ready to explain anything about the site. Christopher has an air of confidence that comes with practise and is put into context when you know his other job is working on the Cruise Ships hereabouts. He is part of the team that ‘delivers’ Orkney to the ‘boat people’ in just four hours. Christopher: a warm heart, tartan tie, and machine-gun wit.