Maps…. A Tale Of Two Parts…

by Bernie Bell - 09:09 on 03 April 2023


I read Jackie Morris’  Tweets about drawing maps….


….and sent her this….which was in my blog last August….

 ‘Notes From An Island’……

Mike came across a book by Tove Jansson that I didn’t know about – tho’ I should say by Tove Jansson and Tuulikki Pietila as ‘Tooti’ did the paintings, some of which put me in mind of the images in ‘After Orcadia’….. http://www.spanglefish.com/berniesblog/blog.asp?blogid=15888. Not surprising, really.

I’m jumping ahead of myself -  here’s the tale……

Mike had called by Stromness Books & Prints  https://theorkneynews.scot/2020/06/21/stromness-book-shop-scotlands-only-drive-in-book-shop/ to collect a couple of books which we’d ordered and there, on display on the counter was  ‘Notes From An Island’ so, being the good man that he is, he bought a copy and brought it home for me.  I had no idea this book existed, though I’m a great admirer of Tove Jansson, not just the ‘Moomin’ books,  but also her ‘Summer Book’ and ‘Winter Book’.

I’d started to re-read ‘Contact’ by Carl Sagan, but that beautiful book, lying there on the table next to me…..

...... I had to embark on it and visit the isle of Klovharun with Tove and Tooti.

What’s it about?  It’s about Tove & Tooti living together on a small, wild island and being happy - and all the things going on around them.

One of my very favourite things is the illustration on the front cover by Tove’s mother Signe Hammarsten Jansson and, in particular, the detail of the two little ‘seahorse’ creatures which to me represent Tove & Tooti - swimming along together through their lives.”

Then Jackie posted this on her blog …..


 And there’s this, too…


And – Marchant’s Map…….


I likes maps.


A Tale Of Two Parts…

Part One – in which I get cross…

For years, the car park for the Stones of Stenness was a mess - big pot-holes, big puddles, then – hurrah! - someone – presumably the Council – paid for a fine new car park, which is described in this piece in ‘The Orkney News’….


So far - so good.  But…today…. Sunday the 2nd of April, we went to park there and found that there is a one way system in place – seemed a bit extreme, but then we  realised why.  The car park now has an area at the end with double yellow lines - No Parking…

Then an area that is to be ‘Kept Clear’ – presumably for buses turning…

Then a great long stretch which is Buses Only…..

There is room for 9 cars to park, by the wall – just nine cars…..

To me, this speaks of the ever-increasing emphasis on tourism in Orkney being aimed at Cruise Liners and the associated big coaches.

The people who come to Orkney,  stay in an hotel or B&B, hire a holiday let, etc etc – who  contribute to the economy of the islands, who want to park their car at Stenness Stones - will be lucky to find a space to do so. This was at the beginning of April, and there were just two spaces when we arrived, then one - when we parked up.

What will it be like in the high season?



Part Two – in which balance is restored…

Stenness Stones – we haven’t stopped, engaged, said ‘Hello’ properly for some time.  So we did…..

The on -  to Barnhouse to say ‘Hello’, as we’re always welcomed there.  It’s for what my Mum would refer to as ‘The time that’s in it’.  Paying a visit – almost expecting to be offered a cuppa.

Back down the grassy path - past where the Odin Stone used to stand – past the Watchstone - along by Harray Loch -  pausing to look over the gate to the site of the Ness of Brodgar – which is preparing to reveal again, soon….


On, to say ‘Hello’ to the Comet Stone - and back to the Stenness car park.  A Preparatory Pilgrimage – for the time that’s in it.


Here’s one I made earlier……. https://theorkneynews.scot/2020/08/17/theres-nothing-new-under-the-sun/


Comment from Nigel Jennings at 21:42 on 24 August 2023.
It’s nearly August Bank Holiday, so extraordinarily belated to be responding to your April blog Bernie. But I do share your frustration. My wife and I have visited Orkney as independent travellers regularly since 2012 and it is now our adopted second home. We now assist with archaeological research at UHI and the Ness of Brodgar and our visits often extend to many months at a time. The point behind this introduction is that we have witnessed the growth of the cruise industry in Orkney virtually from the very beginning. “Orkney News” was kind enough to publish my ‘opinion piece’ on the subject in 2016. We share the frustrations experienced by the independent traveller (eg being told at Skara Brae to ‘go away’) and the Orcadian resident battling to shop in Albert Street among hoardes of cruise passengers. We too witness other more subtle signs of deference.

I was slightly heartened though by the recognition in the recent OIC cruise booking policy document, that the forecast growth in cruise will put further pressure on local resources and infrastructure and result in overcrowding and dilution of the overall tourism experience. It also delicately recognised that the increased numbers of passengers on some days ‘allows for a negative view of cruise which offsets both the economic impact and the substantial effort dedicated to cruise calls.’ Equally surprising is the recognition that this policy should be just the beginning of a ‘Cruise Strategy’ for Orkney. One might expect that by this stage we would be much further down that road, but we know Orkney well enough to know better!

Comment from Bernie Bell at 08:34 on 25 August 2023.
Good Morning Nigel

It was good to read your response.

Your concluding sentence...

"One might expect that by this stage we would be much further down that road, but we know Orkney well enough to know better!"

....echoes my reaction to the 'Cruise Strategy' - which was, basically - 'Heeeerrrr-umph!'

I hope the current chaos doesn’t put you off - Orkney needs visitors like you and your wife.

Did you read the recent item in The Orkney News about the inter-island ferry non-sense? I attempted to put a link to it here - but Spanglefish won't let me!

What’s needed is a change in the Council….though I’m afraid that the likelihood of that happening would equate with pigs flying in formation over Kirkwall!
Comment from Nigel Jennings at 17:40 on 27 August 2023.
Thanks for your kind acknowledgment Bernie. Yes, adding to the widespread woes of island ferry services through Scotland, the “Nordic Sea” farce defies rational comment! Looking forward to a 5-month stay in 2024, working with UHI and generally munching our popcorn from the sidelines of Orkney life. :-)

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