Yesterday I finally got over to Shapinsay. This is a medium-sized island half an hour on the ferry from Kirkwall, home to about 350 people of good farming stock! Appropriately enough, the ferry is the MV Shapinsay, and she can carry about half a dozen cars:
The only village on the island is called Balfour, the family name of the folk who built Balfour Castle in the mid 1800s, and the island has the advantage of having the pier in the centre of the village. The Heritage Centre is over the old smithy only 2 minutes walk from the ferry:
Unlike some small island centres, this one was warm and dry, with plenty of light and tables for research. The photos were well catalogued, and laminated – very useful for keeping them pristine, but making details difficult to photograph. No matter, the custodian was extremely helpful and once welcomed I was left to get on with it.
As always, the pix brought up new patterns and confirmed old ideas! There were several pix of old Orkney wheels, with their common design points, and lots of ganseys.
Interestingly, there were a lot more plain ganseys here – probably due to the link with the gentry at the castle. Those with stitch pattern often showed similar pattern characteristics, like plain sleeves.
On the lace front, there were some interesting head haps, like this one which doesn’t have the usual Old Shale border but an eyelet pattern:
There was more evidence of the large trees in a christening shawl, which also had an interesting lace. I THINK I have enough detail to chart both.
I must also mention two wonderful models made by the school children a good while ago. Once was a model of Scar Brae, the neolithic village on Mainland; the other an iron-age Broch on Shapinsay: