Kirkwall, Orkney – St Magnus Cathedral, upper level tour

On Tuesday 18 July 2017 I did the upper level tour of St Magnus Cathedral. You have to book in advance, and it fills up fast. 1½ hours for £8 – just six of us being taken up. One of the custodians was in charge, and showed us many wonderful things. I have 122 photos, so I won’t put them all in.

We started on the triforium, looking up and down. It is wonderful Norman architecture and it is good to see the sails from a different angle.

They have an interesting collection of bits and pieces in their museum. The hangman’s ladder – two ladders up, one column down – some keys, and a set of stained glass by Oscar Paterson. Apparently it was never unpacked, and never installed. There is a web page about him here. Rather lovely colours. I like this clear glass too.

The west window was created by Crear McCartney  to mark the 850th anniversary of the Cathedral. It was unveiled by the Queen in 1987. There is an article he wrote about Scottish Stained glass in 2002 here. He died in 2016 – his obituary is here. Just enjoy, both the window itself and the patterns of light.

We followed the signs, read the warning, and enjoyed looking down – spot the Julie. Then a very narrow passage.

The weight chamber for the clock is rather chunky (that’s a technical term), and the clock itself was originally made by Hugh Gordon of Aberdeen in 1761. It was updated in the early C20. The bells date from 1528 and are played by one man who sits for the task. I didn’t get a phoro of the seat. I would love to watch them being rung.

We came out into the sunshine and admired the view. The graveyard, Bishop’s Palace, view across the town and harbour, and Kirkwall Library.

What a wonderful afternoon – I had even organised the weather. Where better to end this summer’s Orkney blogs.

 

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