The built environment of Orkney has some jewels, the most lovely of which is Stromness. I certainly didn’t expect to find such an exquisite little harbour town of narrow winding streets, open squares and gaps providing views out to the sea and the islands beyond. I could have spent many more hours wandering happily around.
The town has a charm of its own; on initial viewing, it looks a little grey and foreboding, but taking time to stroll around the streets gives time to really soak it in. The streets are a mixture of little cottages, grand houses, everyday shops and craft boutiques. There’s been plenty of care taken over the place and I’m sure the photos below give only a small impression of what it’s like. Given more time, I expect there are other little gems hidden around corners and up narrow passageways.
There’s plenty of history to be found in the town with many blue plaques identifying the homes of famous residents and the compact but well-stocked museum is well worth a visit.
I expect many people will drive straight off the Scrabster ferry and ignore the centre of the town. It’s easy to miss when getting away in the first mad rush of an emptying ferry, trying to avoid getting caught behind a lorry or campervan and wanting to get to destinations further onto Mainland or beyond. It would be a shame to do so, though, and I was glad I caught the little foot ferry to Hoy and had the opportunity to take a look after I returned.