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Scorradale House, Orphir

Entertaining at Scorradale

Daphne and Ian retired to Scorradale House more than twenty years ago. The house is the former Orphir Manse, on the slopes of the Orphir hills with a wonderful view south across Scapa Flow .

An 18th century minister of the parish was appreciative, but thought he needed a little more than the view:

'.from the top of a hill, at the foot of which, on a rising ground, stands the manse of Orphir, are to be seen, at one view, 25 islands and 23 parishes, including most of the Orkney islands, and part of the island of Great Britain, with an extensive view of the Atlantic and Germanic Oceans, together with that truly sublime subject, the stupendous mountain of Hoy, washed on one side by the Pentland Firth, and on the other by the Orkney Mediterranean, which is as beautiful a piece of water as any county in Scotland can boast of, and much frequented by shipping.

The Lord Advocate of Scotland, upon a late visit to these islands, arriving at this enchanted spot, from whence he first beheld the Atlantic Ocean, is said to have exclaimed with ecstasy, "Happy is the clergyman who inhabits yonder mansion!" "And still happier would he be," said the clergyman "would his Lordship help him to an augmentation of stipend."

The Lorimers chose their retirement spot well. The house is so high up the hill that it had to have a private water supply from the nearby spring which was famous in the 18th century.

'Mineral springs are to be met with in every district of the parish. But the one most in vogue is the water of Scoridale, which has been famous for time immemorial, and is supposed to cure all diseases. It, like all the others, is of the chalbyeate kind, without any mixture of sulphur. It is of a diuretic and antiscorbutic quality, and helps to promote digestion.

But in fact the climate of Orkney is so moderate yet invigorating that health-giving springs are not needed, so long as the population dresses properly.

'From the situation of these islands, in a northern latitude, and surrounded by the ocean, the diseases incident to a cold and damp climate might naturally be expected; but the reverse happens. The ague is not known here, and scorbutic complaints seldom occur; owing, perhaps, to the abundance of fuel, to the frequent use of vegetables and of malt liquor; and above all to the salubrious sea-breezes which cool the air in summer, and counteract the frosts in winter, and render the climate, upon the whole, more temperate, than in many places of a more southerly latitude upon the continent. The small-pox was much dreaded here previous to 1757, when inoculation was introduced, and has ever since been attended with uncommon success. Consumptions are not frequent. The most prevalent distempers are fevers, which frequently prove fatal, especially in years of sterility. Rheumatisms have become more frequent of late years, owing, it is supposed, to the substitution of the linen shirt for the woolen waistcoat formerly worn by the common people.

Extracts from the Old Statistical Account of Orphir, by Rev Mr Liddell, Minister

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