Picture perfect, Stromness, Orkney
© www.anniewrightphotography.com

Picture perfect? The early morning light, the ships and cloud reflections are all there, but so too is Orkney County Council with its extensive repairs to the water system. Personally I love a little imperfection: It shakes things up and throws them off balance. Location: Stromness, Mainland, Orkney

Stromness is a long-established seaport, it has a population of approximately 2,190 residents. The old town is clustered along the characterful and winding main street, flanked with houses and shops built from local stone, with narrow lanes and alleys branching off it. There is a ferry link from Stromness to Scrabster on the north coast of mainland Scotland.

First recorded as the site of an inn in the 16th century, Stromness became important during the late 17th century, when England was at war with France and shipping was forced to avoid the English Channel. Ships of the Hudson’s Bay Company were regular visitors, as were whaling fleets. Large numbers of Orkneymen, many of whom came from the Stromness area, served as traders, explorers and seamen for both. Captain Cook’s ships, Discovery and Resolution, called at the town in 1780 on their return voyage from the South Seas where Cook had been killed.

Stromness Museum reflects these aspects of the town’s history. It includes important collections of whaling relics and Inuit artefacts brought back as souvenirs by local men from Greenland and Arctic Canada. 

An unusual aspect of the town’s character is the large number of buildings decorated with displays of whale bones outside them