Stromness Necropolis To Warebeth Beach….Matters Archaeological.....

by Bernie Bell - 09:24 on 28 November 2022

Stromness Necropolis To Warebeth Beach….

A fine sunny Sunday – we parked in the carpark for the Stromness Cemetery at Warebeth and walked down the wide grassy track to the left – behind the toilet block.  Then, just as we turned right along the path we noticed a short track down to the beach, where coastal erosion is much in evidence.  The cliff face has been shored up with massive blocks of stone but the sea laughs at our human efforts to restrain it and a big lump of the cliff, blocks of stone and all, has fallen onto the beach……

At the base of the cliff is a section of boat wreckage, and other sections are strewn along the shore….

In ‘Sylvia Wishart – Orkney Drawings 1968-1977’, published by the Pier Arts Centre… https://www.pierartscentre.com/, page 113 has a drawing labelled ‘The West Shore Stromness 1977’ and the accompanying text by Bryce Wilson tells of how a Norwegian trawler – Northolmen – came ashore below Stromness kirkyard, an event which Sylvia Wishart describes herself as being ‘taken over by’.  The ship was eventually broken up for scrap, but there are still some remnants of it.

I see this one as an example of when bruck becomes beach art…

Returning to the path, passing the older part of the cemetery and noting how the Victorians had a liking for a draped urn…

The path along here is falling away in places.  At one point I clung to the fence to get past a big ‘bite’ taken out of it - but I’m a wuss, and plenty of folk would just stride across it.

There is an information board at the Warebeth car park…

…which mentions that the site of the present kirkyard used to be called Monkerhoose Green after a monastery which is reputed to have been there – neither of us had heard of this before, though we have walked here many times. We checked with Canmore, and there it is..... https://canmore.org.uk/site/1554/monkhouse-green

The information board also mentions an old lead mine on the shore.  Some years ago Mike and I located the site of the mine and Mike picked up a piece of stone with what looks, and smells, like lead in it.  Raw lead ore, in a piece of stone.  And that got me thinking about bones and stones again… https://theorkneynews.scot/2018/04/28/on-being-more-than-the-sum-of-our-parts/

Bones with traces which show or tell us something - giving us information - and stones which contain traces of other substances which, with some thought and human ingenuity, can give us useful or beautiful things.  Stones and bones.

The lead mine is listed on the ever helpful Canmore… https://canmore.org.uk/site/1571/clook-lead-mine

...which also gives details of the remains of a broch in this area….. https://canmore.org.uk/site/1560/warebeth-cemetery

The position of the cemetery on top of the broch, echoes St. Michael’s Kirk in Harray Parish….. https://theorkneynews.scot/2018/10/25/the-old-kirks-of-orkney-part-3-bits-pieces/. 

Broch - monastery - still functioning kirkyard - layer upon layer of history.

We walked along the path a short way towards Breckness House…. https://theorkneynews.scot/2017/03/16/bernie-bell-orkney-walks-with-stories-warbeth/ , then back and along the broad track by the cemetery to the car park – and Leigh’s food van in Finstown for veggie burgers for lunch, eaten while sitting looking out across the Bay.  Grand.


A Couple of Matters Archaeological…




Here’s one I made earlier…. https://theorkneynews.scot/2019/09/15/two-go-glouping-in-deerness/




Add your comment

Your Name

Your Email (only if you are happy to have it on the site)

Your Comment - no HTML or weblinks

Enter this number in the box below and click Send - why?Unfortunately we have to do this to prevent the system being swamped by automated spam

Please note that whenever you submit something which may be publicly shown on a website you should take care not to make any statements which could be considered defamatory to any person or organisation.
Click for Map
sitemap | cookie policy | privacy policy | accessibility statement