... Oh it's the POSH POSH travelin' life, the travelin' life for me. First cabin, Captains table, regal company. Whenever aboard I travel abroad, but ever so stylishly... Port Out, Starboard Home, POSH with a capital P...

When travelers left Europe for the Orient, before the days of air travel and air conditioning, they could look forward to a long uncomfortable voyage on a sail or steam ship. The sun in the southern seas would beat down on the black hulls of those ships turning the cabins on the sunny side of the ship into ovens. Wealthy travelers could afford to reserve a cabin on the port, or left, side of the ship for the voyage east. This put them on the north, or shaded, side. They would then reserve a cabin on the opposite side of the ship for the trip west, again the cooler north side of the ship. This class of travel became known as Port Out Starboard Home, or POSH, which to this day refers to luxurious accomodations or methods of travel. The only way to go.

A trip to the Orkney Islands of Scotland.

Text and pictures by Christina Fischer.

Glasgow Scotland

Glasgow Scotland... A view ot the city.

     Scotland is a truly beautiful place. The grass is a color green that is seen nowhere else in the world. It is an electric, almost florescent green, that makes you feel you just stepped into a fairy tale world. It doesn't seem real at first. Then the longer you spend there, the more you feel that Scotland may be the only reality you care to know.

North toward Scrabster

The countryside traveling north toward Scrabster and the ferry to Orkney.

The Old Man Of Hoy

The ferry crossing, passing the Island of Hoy and "The Old Man Of Hoy",
a 450 foot tall sea stack.

     Off the northern tip of Scotland is the Orkney Islands. Orkney is 70 or so low, treeless islands scattered over hundreds of square miles of Atlantic Ocean. Orkney is a step back in time. It is an ancient landscape, richly strewn with stone circles, burial chambers, prehistoric village sites and other links to the past. A total of, almost unbelievably, eight sites per square mile. It is said that in Orkney it is possible to reach adulthood without ever having to cross a busy street, ride in an elevator, or wait at a traffic light. You see, the towns are small. Kirkwall, the island's busy capital and largest town, has a population of nearly 6,000. But over in Rackwick, the population is only 11. The total population of Orkney's 18 inhabited islands is just a little over 20,000.

Standing Stones Of Stenness

Standing Stones Of Stenness

     There is a tranquility in the Orkneys that is unmatched anywhere else in on earth. The fields of cows and sheep grazing in mild sunshine with the calm sea all around gives off a rich sense of home and tradition. In fact, with all the ancient ruins, you can't walk half a mile without nearly tripping over some sort of tradition!

Skara Brae

5,000 year old village of Skara Brae

     Orkney's archaeological wealth ranges from a lonely Iron Age stone tower on North Ronaldsay to the best preserved Neolithic village in all of Europe at Skara Brae on Mainland. In all, there are 2,993 known archaeological sites, many of which were stumbled upon quite by accident. Who knows how many more lie undiscovered.

Twelfth Century Ruins

Ruins of a twelfth century church
on the Brough Of Birsay

     Heritage in Orkney extends beyond archaeology. There is also the islands' arresting dialect, which combines old Norse words with many unique English expressions. When someone says to you, "We hid a quey caff yistreen." what they mean is, "We had a female calf last night." It makes it all the more obvious that you are on the fringes of the English-speaking world.

Bishop's Palace

Ruins of the
Bishop's Palace
built in the
twelfth century.


     In Orkney, no one locks their doors, padlocks their bicycle, worries about the radio in their car, or walks down the street without seeing at least a dozen or so of their neighbors. Children frolic in a carefree existence, able to live without fear of strangers and such that has become so engrained in our society. It is, quite frankly, the epitome of the way life was meant to be.


River Bay

Orkney Countryside

     The islands have modern comforts, to be sure. There is a satellite dish on almost every house and Orkney has a very detailed and complete website. But somehow, unlike every other part of this world, these modernizations have not overstepped their bounds and robbed Orkney of its charms.


May the
heavens open
welcome ya
ta Orkney!

Welcome To Orkney

     There is a gentle, loving quality to this place. So much so that the moment you step off the ferry, even if it's for the first time, you feel as if you are coming home. And there will always be a warm fire, a hot meal, and family waiting for you whenever you get there.

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For None of your furniture needs ... yet.

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