Orkney Archaeological TrustMenu Banner Top Banner

An Orkney Scrapbook - The View from Montreal

Barbara and Robert Crawford

The Loons: Barbara Crawford

This view looking down from our cottage high on Ravie Hill - we like to think it is the highest house in the West Mainland- looks out over a long-inhabited landscape. Such a view can probably be replicated in many parts of Orkney, but the West Mainland quality  of  gentle contours, agricultural fertility and freshwater lochs, with a wealth of archaeological remains surviving among that landscape make it rather special.

The hillside in front of us is studded with tumuli above the Hut Circles and Field System at Spurdagrove, down by the Loons. On the other side of the loch of Isbuster are more tumuli and the Knowe of Scorn and Knowe of Holland, with the Knowes of Yonbell (that curious name!) over the ridge.

Isbuster itself is a township which was swallowed up by the wartime airfield and the modern archaeological remains from that airfield are very clear to see in the middle distance beyond the loch. What is not visible with the naked eye,  but can be clearly made out through binoculars in the far distance is the ceremonial landscape around the Loch of Stenness with the Ring of Brodgar, the Stones of Stenness and the megalithic tomb of Maeshowe - while Scapa Flow is hidden by the low cloud on that particular morning. The assemblage of famous neolithic structures is the jewel in Orkney's crown, now properly recognised as a World Heritage Site, thanks to the hard work put into the bid by so many, including Daphne Lorimer.

This West Mainland tapestry of past and present settlement richness reflects the world-famous status of Orkney's archaeology which Daphne has personally fostered and successfully promoted with her vision and energy.

Barbara and Robert Crawford


Bottom Banner
Daphne Lorimer MBE About OAT Papers Orkney Scrapbook Contributors Return to OAT main site Contact Orkney Archaeological Trust