Wandering about for an hour or so on the Inner and Outer Holms of Stromness is a mild, beach-combing sort of peedie adventure.
Time is of the essence here, however, since the Holms are tidal islands. You can walk across at low tide, but if you're careless you'll get stranded when the tide comes in again.
That's what makes it an adventure!
According to Tom, the Orcadian definition of a holm is an island just big enough to fatten one sheep, to feed two or to starve three.
To everyone else, a holm is a tiny island. There are two of them in Stromness, just the right size for a short stroll.
No, it isn't. And while the islands are pronounced "home," the parish of Holm is pronounced "ham."
I don't have a clue.
On the Inner Holm, you'll pass a wonderful house called The Holms - for obvious reasons.
This fine house was completed in the late 1800s by Capt. Henry Linklater, who came from the neighboring island of Graemsay.
Captain Linklater added on to the small, original croft house, incorporating it into his new home.
You'll see Hoy High lighthouse shining from Graemsay.
Henry Linklater was captain of the Harmony, a Moravian Mission barque sailing between London and Labrador.
The Moravian Mission stations were trading posts, with the purpose of converting to Christianity and westernizing the local Inuit and First Nation peoples.
Capt. Linklater died on Inner Holm in 1896.
You can find his grave in the Warbeth Cemetery, covered by the iridescent labradorite stones that he used in his ship for ballast.
The Holms is a private residence, so just enjoy it from afar and then move along to the beach, or walk across to the Outer Holm.
Always take care as you walk across the rocky sea bed. It can be slippery, and there are tripping hazards.
Take your time and you should be fine.
This beach is a great place to do a little beach combing. You never know what might turn up. Just remember to keep an eye on the tide.
Here's where you can find Stromness tide times.
You can walk from the Inner Holm to the Outer Holm at low tide.
There's an old, unmarked grave on Outer Holm. Nobody knows who it belongs to.
Tom's best guess is that the grave was dug for a drowned sailor who washed up on the shore.
If you miss low tide and can't get out to the Holms, there's a walking path you can enjoy that runs parallel to the Inner Holm. It bears the unromantic name of WM28 on the Orkney Core Paths Map.
Let's call it "Holmsview." That's better, isn't it?
Walk out of Stromness toward the co-op. Turn right on the walking path just before you reach the Stromness Primary School.
Take a rest on the handy benches and enjoy the view for a few minutes, if you like.
Then simply follow the path around the harbor, keeping to the one nearest the water when there's a choice.
The path becomes a meander through the grass as you get closer to Copland's Dock.
Cross over the dock road and follow the path along the shore.
It's a bit rough at points, and can be slippery on wet days, so watch your step. The walk is of moderate difficulty, only because of tripping and slipping hazards.
You'll come to a bit of a headland, eventually. That's the end of the safe path.
Enjoy the views of Hoy and Scapa Flow.
If you try to walk farther along the shore, you'll run into an erosion problem where the sea has eaten the path.
Turn back and take a leisurely stroll home to pretty Stromness.
Or meander along some of the branching paths and roads around the residential area before heading back.
Have a lovely walk!
Mermaid image (Rhonda's pages) and storyteller image (Tom's pages) courtesy of our dear friend - Stromness author, artist and historian, Bryce Wilson MBE - Thanks, Bryce!
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