An aerial view of the north end of North Ronaldsay. The Old Beacon 18th century lighthouse sits sunlit just off centre of the photograph. All around the foot of the lighthouse stone enclosures, punds for sheep, etch themselves along the shoreline. Beyond a loch and the sea on the horizon.

3 Stone Lines

At the Orkney Library & Archive we have installed the latest mini-exhibition from the Gunnie Moberg Archive. In the last exhibition we saw Gunnie Moberg’s photography as a consideration of circles.  In these next three aerial photographs she has witnessed line drawings in stone. Outlines of sheep punds are sketched around the structure of the Old Beacon in North Ronaldsay; a bold diagonal line bordered by a chequer of chunky blocks traces out a Churchill Barrier; and a close drawing like a maze or an ear shows us a plan of Cubbie Roo’s Castle. From above Gunnie Moberg gives Orkney clean lines.

To compliment this exhibition we turned to the sound archive here at Orkney Library & Archive and found recordings that related to the photographs and maybe even gave us a ground level view to balance the aerial view of the photographer.

The exhibition will run until the end of November in the main library room, Orkney Library & Archive, Kirkwall.

For those who cannot visit the exhibition here in Orkney, you can still enjoy a virtual exhibition below.

Each audio is about 2 minutes long, the tracks can be found at the bottom of this page.

Cubbie Roo’s Castle, Wyre.

This black and white aerial photograph of the remaining ground floor of a former stronghold, shows the surrounding ditch encircling the curved walls and a dominant black square of a cellar and well central to the site. From above the archaeological site is a sketch in stone.
image: Gunnie Moberg c.1979

‘Probably the earliest stone castle in Scotland. Referred to in the Orkneyinga Saga, c. 1152’. Gunnie Moberg  Stone Built 1979

Kolbein Hruga’s stronghold is known as Cubbie Roo’s castle. Cubbie Roo is one of the giants who roam Orkney folklore. Find out more about the blend of man and myth at Orkneyjar.

On the castle grounds, Margaret Flaws talks to Ken Ross and Angus Findlater about Cubbie Roo, in the background an impatient Kolbein Hruga makes himself known. [From a Radio Orkney production ‘Oot and Aboot’ on Wyre, recorded in 1998, Cubbie Roo’s Castle, Wyre.] Audio ref: OSA/RO7/49

Churchill Barrier.
A road shored up with concrete blocks cuts diagonally across the frame, either side is a dark tone of sea. On this causeway a trck appears in the bottom left of the frame. The most noticeable part of the trcuk is the circles of the wheels, their roundness contrasting with the sharp edges of the blocks. The dark shadowy sides of the blocks meet bright sunlit sides, their strong shapes set against the soft texture of a dark sea.
image: Gunnie Moberg c.1979

‘Four causeways, consisting of thousands of concrete blocks, built by Italian prisoners-of-war. On these impregnable defences a road surface was later laid, linking the South Isles with the mainland’. Gunnie Moberg  Stone Built 1979

Sandy Annal, who worked on the barrier’s construction, recalls how strike action by the Italian prisoners of war led to a ban on the name Churchill Barriers in favour of Churchill Causeways. [From a Radio Orkney production recorded in 1998] Audio ref: OSA/RO7/248

The Old Beacon with sheep punds, North Ronaldsay.
An aerial view of the north end of North Ronaldsay. The Old Beacon 18th century lighthouse sits sunlit just off centre of the photograph. All around the foot of the lighthouse stone enclosures, punds for sheep, etch themselves along the shoreline. Beyond a loch and the sea on the horizon.
image: Gunnie Moberg c.1979

‘A beautiful 70ft tower, along with lighthouse keepers dwellings, built with local undressed stone. In operation from October 1789, the lighting system used was the catoptric or ‘reflecting’ system, which consisted of a cluster of lamps burning oil, with copper reflectors covered in facets of mirror glass’. – Gunnie Moberg  Stone Built 1979

An interview with Sydney Scott, Antabreck, and William Thomson, Neven, about punding the North Ronaldsay shore-fed sheep turns into a discussion about the culinary calendar of island fare. [Recorded by Colin Rendall c.1980-1985 at Neven, North Ronaldsay.] Audio ref: OSA 92

 

 

Thank you to the people in the recordings and also to Radio Orkney. If you would like to hear the longer versions of these recordings and many more besides, come along to the Orkney Archive.

2 thoughts on “3 Stone Lines

  1. Pingback: A stone kiss | The Gunnie Moberg Archive

  2. Pingback: Between | The Gunnie Moberg Archive

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