Gillipaw's Journal

By Gillipaw

Pier Arts Centre, Stromness, Orkney

"Curved Form (Trevalgan)", Dame Barbara Hepworth, bronze, 1956.

The Orkneycar Saga continued this morning. CJ reported to the garage at 8 am precisely. The staff were so helpful. Checked everything, including car computer, which hadn't recorded a fault. Couldn't find anything wrong. Just topped up the oil, but the level was OK anyway. Perhaps it is a faulty sensor.

So, we headed for Stromness. First stop had to be the Pier Arts Centre. I have always wanted to visit here. It was established in 1979 to provide a home for the collection of Margaret Gardiner. What a treat to see many works by Hepworth and Ben Nicolson amongst others. This sculpture sits in a small courtyard, leading down to the Harbour. The Centre has undergone major refurbishment and expansion in the last few years. An impressive architectural design, taking account of the original building.

We then continued along the narrow, winding main street, and called in at Stromness Books and Prints. Chatted for a while to Tam MacPhail. I hadn't met Tam before, but I had contact with his late wife, photographer Gunnie Moberg, back in the 1980s when working on an exhibition of Orcadian artists. He told us about the work going on at the Library in Kirkwall, to archive her collection.

We then sat on George Mackay Brown's memorial bench beside the Hudson's Bay Company cannon and watched the Hamnavoe ferry sail in. The cannon used to signal the arrival of the company ships. In lovely sunshine and a gentle breeze we walked on around the Point of Ness, past the WW2 batteries to Warebeth cemetery. Much larger than I expected, a special place to rest beside the sea. We did try to find GMB's grave, but didn't locate it.

Retraced our steps back along the coast, past LadyFindhorn's holiday home, and decided on the Fish and Chip option which we enjoyed sitting at the harbour, followed by Orkney icecream. Lots going on, with boats unloading their catch, and ferries arriving.

Birdspotting additions to our list : Arctic Skua, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Eider Duck.

Thankfully the car behaved, and no warning lights came on. Now to plan our day tomorrow, around the Queen's Baton events. Could be tricky.

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