Tuesday, August 20, 2013

More Orkney

a barley field in Holm ready for harvest

Many people, even those who live here, may wonder just what Hrossey might be.  Well, it is in fact the old name for the Orkney mainland and it means island of the horse.  It's not a name that's in common usage, however, and if you visit, you'll find it is usually called the mainland. 
That means that there's no point, meantime, in asking for a ticket to Hrossey if you're travelling to the Orkney mainland, but it was a wish of our late acclaimed author George Mackay Brown that the old norse name of Hrossey be brought back into popular usage and we thought this was an appropriate place to try it out.
Anyway, here on Hrossey, or Orkney's mainland, you'll find Orkney’s two main towns – Kirkwall and Stromness - and Finstown, a village lying between the two.  Hrossey is divided into the east and the west mainland – each has its own characteristics; from the wild west coast to the calmer farmland in the east, and its own small villages.  Now joined to Orkney's east mainland are the linked south isles of South Ronaldsay and Burray.  They were joined by causeways, the Churchill Barriers, during World War Two.

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