‘Crawls’……Liners……The Ness…..The Bears…..

by Bernie Bell - 09:32 on 20 August 2022


Having read Peter Breingan’s piece about following the Michael & Mary Lines …. https://theorkneynews.scot/2022/08/17/archaeological-mysticism-or-what/ , I’ve been thinking about people doing ‘Crawls’.

When we lived in Suffolk Mike and I followed the Mary line on what we called a ‘Church Crawl’ as there are a lot of churches built along the line. We don’t have a religion – but what’s there is what’s there, and there’s a reason why these places have been reverenced through the years. Somewhere back in the photo albums we have photos of the places we visited along the line – some still in use, some ruinous and some something in between – much like the Old Kirks of Orkney….. https://theorkneynews.scot/2018/10/07/the-old-kirks-of-orkney-part-one/

We bought T-towels in the churches and still have them, including one from St. Mary’s, Somerleyton which was just along the road from where we lived – a lovely place…. https://www.britainexpress.com/counties/suffolk/churches/somerleyton.htm ...and I quote.....  “On the north and south extremes of the screen are likenesses of St George and St Michael killing dragons.”   Hmmmm… “The Sun and the Serpent”  by Hamish Miller and Paul Broadhurst?

From sacred to profane…..I was at Uni with Ian Marchant who wrote ‘The Longest Crawl’ – a very entertaining read about a pub crawl right up through Britain, ending in Shetland – can’t have been good for his liver!  https://ianmarchant.com/

And now, Bartholomew Barker https://bartbarkerpoet.com/ is doing a ‘Grave Crawl’ – visiting the graves of dead poets – which is proving to be of great interest.

Possibly folk come to Orkney to do a ‘Viking Crawl’.  As part of ‘Viking Week’ … https://brodgar.co.uk/vikingweek/ Dr Ragnhild Ljosland - author of The Orkney Book of Runes - is conducting a Rune Round on Saturday 10th of September – which she describes as a guided tour of Orkney’s runic inscriptions with an element of scavenger hunt – hoping for good weather - a sweet September day would be perfect.

Or maybe folk come for a  ‘War Crawl’ of the WW2 sites, or a ‘Standing Stones Crawl’ – for which this might be helpful!


A Broch Crawl is a possibility – Caithness Broch Project

https://www.thebrochproject.co.uk/ might consider setting one up?

I suppose ‘Bagging the Munros’ is a kind of a Crawl.

It looks like it’s something we like to do, we humans - to mark or observe a sequence of places – go from A to B to C - and I wonder why?


I got up this morning to see one very big Cruise Liner already ‘parked’ at Hatston and another sizeable one on its way past Shapinsay, and I remembered my ‘Big Old Bad Old Liner Blues’…. https://theorkneynews.scot/2021/08/13/poetry-corner-got-them-big-old-bad-old-liners-back-blues/

While I’m on the subject of Liners I’ll include an extract from an email I wrote to a friend recently….

“Did you see the non-sense about the palettes of unwanted food from the Liner?  What’s presented as the situation just doesn’t add up. They say there wasn’t enough room for the ship to take the palettes with them – but – why not? 

I could understand if a ship arrived somewhere, unloaded passengers who were going to stay where they landed, and found they had excess food for a return journey without passengers. But they were sailing away with a ship-load of passengers, so it looks very like the situation actually was that as the food was near to use-by date it was a case of  “Oh no, our passengers can’t be expected to  eat this rubbish – but you lot can”  or   “Let them eat cake - or manky chicken”. 

It’s good of the liner people to give away the food rather than it going to waste.....but...but...but….this attitude fits the whole ethos of the big Liner industry - they are users – users - users.  Using up resources, using the world.  There’s a whole succession  of things wrong with what happened - starting with the question of where did the chickens come from originally and therefore the standards applied to how they were raised - to the attitude of the liner owners and passengers - to the attitude of the folk getting excited about the free food without questioning any of it.

Today’s world is becoming a cycle of using and dumping.  ‘Not sustainable’  doesn’t begin to describe it.

And, as folk were pointing out – if the liners were as caring sharing as they like to seem to be – they could have arranged something about distribution – they have the resources to do so. I don’t know the details, but it looks like they just left the palettes there and it was up to the good folk of Orkney to arrange distribution - though the ones most likely to need the food would be least likely to be able get to Hatston.

How had they come to mis-judge their supplies so badly?  Unless they don’t care about wastage. None of it adds up or makes sense.”

I’ve since heard two aspects of the story of the ‘free food’ - one is that it was made much of in the Media as a generous ‘gift’ from the Liner company – thereby getting positive publicity for a change.

The other was from a young couple who went along to avail themselves of the offer - as he said…..“Well, in these times - free food” - but commented that the much lauded free chicken was only fit to make stock with - so they took some veg, which they were pleased enough to have - though it is worth remembering that fruit and veg from some countries is questionable due to the use of pesticides and herbicides which are banned in more environmentally aware nations.

Free food - but at what cost to life generally?

The saying is - 'Never look a gift-horse in the mouth' - but I do if its breath stinks!


As it’s over for this year maybe you thought I’d stop going on about the Ness…....I’ll never stop going on about the Ness!


If you’d like to help to keep the dig going…..  https://www.nessofbrodgar.co.uk/thats-all-folks-see-you-next-year-funding-permitting/


The year moves on……

The Way Home

Night sky reels over into darkness at last, as

North leans away from Sun.  And

Look, the Bears are back!

Summer’s done

Fulfilled, we look back over Light Years to

Where they point the way Home

McB - August 2018


Here’s one I made earlier….. https://theorkneynews.scot/2018/03/09/didnt-we-have-a-loverly-time-the-day-we-went-to-birsay/

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