Lughnasa in Orkney

Over the past few weeks I’ve been busy working on my second novel, Lughnasa which is set in Orkney.  These are a few of the places that I’ve been writing about recently.

I stayed in Stromness last year and really fell in love with the place.  When I was planning Lughnasa I knew that one of my characters would have to live there.

Stromness
Stromness
Stromness Harbour
Stromness Harbour

Saint Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall is Britain’s most northerly cathedral.  It has some beautiful modern stained glass windows.

Stained glass window in Saint Magnus Cathedral
Stained glass window in Saint Magnus Cathedral

And these remarkable gravestones that line the walls of the cathedral.

Gravestone in Saint Magnus Cathedral

This is the view from the Brough of Birsay which is a small island which can be reached on foot via a causeway at low tide.  There are ruins of a Norse settlement on the island and a lighthouse.

Bay of Birsay
Bay of Birsay
Causeway to Brough of Birsay
Causeway to Brough of Birsay

I took this photograph from the Stones of Stenness. One of the problems of writing about Orkney (and there are quite a few as I live 500 miles away in Yorkshire) is that it’s so beautiful that I can’t find words to describe it. I’m pretty sure I could never do justice to this sunset.

Loch of Stenness at sunset
Loch of Stenness at sunset

11 thoughts on “Lughnasa in Orkney

  1. What lovely photos! My cousins used to live there and raved about it, apart from the horizontal rain. There seems to be a very special atmosphere about the place. All the best with your book!

    1. Hi Linda,
      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I’ve experienced the horizontal rain so I know exactly what your cousins mean. I have this dream of living there one day but the rain would take a bit of getting used to!
      Alys

    1. Thanks Sharon. It is a very special place and very beautiful when it’s not raining and the mists lift long enough for you to see the view. It is Scotland after all! I’ve no news for you I’m afraid so you’ll have to go on being impatient for a bit longer!
      Alys x

  2. What superb photos!! I’m the same, I’ve been in love with Scotland’s Western Isles for as long as I can remember. I totally agree though, very difficult to sum up in words. But I think how the scenery and lifestyle affects the characters does get through and is just as good a way to experience it. Can’t wait to read all yours!! I’m hoping to buy Beltane soon so my kindle will show it properly.

    1. Thanks for your comment Lynne. Orkney is a very special place and I know you’d love it. What you say about scenery and lifestyle affecting character is really interesting because that’s one of the things that I’m worried about getting wrong. It’s hard to understand how an island lifestyle affects the people who live there as I’ve never experienced it.
      Alys x

  3. I really must start writing books set in the Scottish Islands too – which would necessitate a research trip!!! Wonderful pictures 🙂

    1. Thanks Terry. It is a very special place and I can definitely recommend Orkney for a holiday – sorry, research trip! Getting there isn’t all that easy but it’s worth braving either the very small plane or the extremely choppy ferry crossing!
      Alys

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