Orkney 2021 – Burwick, St Mary

Having visited the Italian Chapel on Thursday 10 June we headed south through South Ronaldsay, right down to Burwick. This end of the island looks very desolate. There are beautiful empty buildings which I would love to buy and redevelop – but they are the same buildings I feel in love with last time. The church was locked with no notices, but there are fascinating lichens (or is that singular?) on the stones. Apparently it is St Mary’s church, built in 1789, replacing an earlier church. There is a website – https://www.saintmarysburwick.org/ of a Preservation Trust, but the paypal link is broken and it hasn’t been touched since 2019.

I dreamed of whether the pension pot would stretch to buying this, or one of the derelict farms nearby, converting it to store Madam’s books, and taking up residence. Trouble is, there is now very little reason to come this far south – unless you are catching the pedestrian ferry to John o’Groats. Tomb of the Eagles will not be reopening after the pandemic, and the lovely restaurant we found last time is now firmly shut. While some parts of the islands are prospering, it didn’t feel as if South Ronaldsay is.

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