Season 3 Episode 18: Traveling to Orkney with Lorna Brown

“A trip to Orkney gives you the opportunity to look back in time: through both world wars, crofting, Norse and Neolithic eras. Locals say if you scratch the surface of Orkney, it bleeds archaeology. Venturing further back, the rugged landscape affords glimpses into the geological heritage that physically shaped our islands many millennia ago.Lorna Brown, See Orkney Tours

Lorna Brown

Welcome to Tea Toast & Trivia. 

Thank you for listening in.

Join me as I travel across the ocean to Orkney, where the fresh sea air and rugged landscape captures the spirit of daring souls.  I am delighted that I am meeting up once again with my friend, Lorna Brown of See Orkney Tours, who was our family’s intrepid guide through the mists of ancient Orkney.  We touched the Standing Stones of Stenness and traced the prehistoric path of the Ring of Brodgar. 

A Window to the Garden

The last time we met up with Lorna was on the white sandy beach that leads up to Skara Brae, a 5000-year-old Neolithic village. Skara Brae is the best-preserved Neolithic village in northern Europe, which offers a unique window into the lives of the farmers who lived there between 3,100 and 2,450 BC.

Welcome Home

In March 2021, I travelled virtually with Lorna back to the 19th and 20th century to see how farming continues to be a vital part of Orkney’s history and present-day activities.  It was a sunny, winter day when we met up, perfect for our adventure. So, come back with us, fill up a thermos with hot tea and bundle up with a warm coat and walking shoes.

A Family History Recorded
A Lamp to light the evening conversations and storytelling.

Thank you for joining Lorna and me on Tea Toast & Trivia.  A special thank you to you, Lorna for sharing the stories of Orkney and for promising to come back.    Until then, dear listeners, you can meet up with her at See Orkney Tours.  As the world continues to experience travel restrictions, it is good to know that we can still travel the world virtually, from our dining room tables. 

A Peat Fire

Until next time we meet, keep safe and be well.

Traveling to Orkney with Lorna Brown Tea. Toast. & Trivia.

34 Replies to “Season 3 Episode 18: Traveling to Orkney with Lorna Brown”

  1. Congratulations for going on 40 years of marriage, Lorna. We are celebrating 39 years at the end of this month. The archaeological find sounds really exciting, and the bread sounds delicious. I really would love to try some. Laurie makes Irish soda bread, and she cuts an X in the top to let the spirits escape while it’s baking, is that done with the bere (spelling?) bread? This was a fascinating discussion and the photos above are wonderful. Thank you, Lorna for sharing with us. Thank you Rebecca for bringing Lorna back.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I LOVE Irish soda bread. I did not know about cutting and X in the top of the bread to let the spirits escape. You sent me on a merry adventure across the internet. (Virtual Travel has no jet lag) I went looking for the history of soda bread and found out that Irish Soda Bread and Scotland Bagpipes have something in common! http://www.sodabread.info/history. “Just like the bagpipes weren’t invented by the Scots, the chemical reaction that makes Soda Bread what it is, wasn’t invented by the Irish. The earliest reference to using soda ash in baking bread seems to be credited to American Indians using it to leaven their bread. Pearl Ash was used prior to 1800 to make flat cakes on hot rocks by combining it with an acidic ingredient in the dough. However, as the Scots have made the bagpipe their instrument, the Irish have made Soda Bread theirs. “. I did not know this. Thank you so much for adding to this conversation. I am making up a video of our visit to Barony Mill, home of Orkney Beremeal since 1873.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. That is great research and history you came up with. It’s fascinating what we learn from each others mundane comments.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. HI Rebecca, I wasn’t sure which Orkney this was until Lorna started to speak and then I knew it was Scotland. We have an Orkney here in South Africa. What a fabulously interesting podcast. Some of the discussion points like how rope was made, reminded me strongly of my reading of Little House in the Big Wood by Laura Ingalls Wilder. In particular, there is a scene where Ma makes hats from straw by weaving the straws together. This came to mind with Lorna’s description. Peat is also very interesting. I seem to remember there being peat fires in the bogs in Ireland where the peat burned for days. I will have to go and reinvestigate that. Very interesting, Rebecca. So many stories all over the world about peoples lives, cultures and religions. Thank you to both Lorna and yourself for this discussion.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I did not know that there was a Orkney in South Africa. I had to know how Orkney traveled from the north to south hemisphere. It seems that there is a huge connection. This from Wikipedia – “The town was named after the Orkney Isles off the north coast of Scotland, the birthplace of Simon Fraser, one of the gold mining pioneers of the 1880s. The town was proclaimed in 1940 on the farm Witkoppen, where Fraser had first started gold mining.” When I found this answer another question popped up. Did this Simon Fraser come from the same family line to the Simon Fraser that came to British Columbia. I found a connection to Orkney through Margaret of Orkney who married Sir Simon Fraser of Brotherton and 1st of Lovat. We are more connected than we know!! I love our conversations, Robbie. Always an adventure.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. HI Rebecca, isn’t that simply amazing. I actually didn’t look to see if there was a link, I just google where is Orkney and the SA one came first. Thanks for looking it up, that’s great to know.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. PS, in light of our email chat, I am doing some experimenting with YouTube and published a YT book review on Robbie’s Inspiration today. I would love to know what you think when you have a moment.

        Like

      3. I love following your YouTube channel – your poetry reading and the books reviews are excellent. I will be featuring your YouTube channel on RRR and on my selected channels on my YouTube account. I believe that visual connection with the writer/poet builds strong connections to readers.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. My dear Rebecca, thank you for taking us to a beautiful virtual trip to Orkney’s history with Lorna. Fascinating to listen and loved the video.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for joining Lorna and I for a brisk walk around Kirkbuster. Everywhere we traveled on Orkney, we were given a warm welcome. There is so much history, so many stories, so many cultural memories.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh so many wonderful stories and history in this podcast. I especially enjoyed watching Thomas twist straw into rope; your comment about being connected with the land through the seasons gave me chills; the making of beer barley into that unique shortbread; the fragrance of burning peat I’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing; and of course, the trows and changelings. Lorna’s joy and pride in sharing Orkney farming traditions, and the fact that it ‘made her day’ was such a warm comment. Listening, I thought of how indigenous peoples and waves of new immigrants had to use everything in the Americas, not wasting anything…so different from our often comfortable, consumer lifestyles. Fascinating podcast for us history lovers!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Orkney is an extraordinary for stories and storytelling. I found Tom Muir’s book on Orkney legends and have it on my TBR pile, which is growing ever taller. https://tracscotland.org/storytellers/tom-muir/. His family comes from Westray, the same Island as Lorna and her husband’s families. We travelled to Orkney to find the Neolithic villages and farms and found so much more. Lorna and her daughter, Carrie, were invaluable guides. We came as tourists and left as friends. I share you love of history, Mary Jo. So much of who we are comes from the past. Sending hugs!

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Thanks Rebecca and Lorna. This is such a fascinating and illuminating talk- especially with Lorna slipping back into dialect when talking about farming- made it even more magical. I was spellbound.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I am so glad that you joined Lorna, Paul. I knew you would love the Orkney folklore of Trows that the trowey trails. We came to see the Neolithic villages but found so much more to see in Orkney. Many thanks for your visit and for your heartwarming comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear Rebecca and Lorna, I am very moved by your special journey back in time to the way the farmers used to live, to their tools and stone houses, which seem to have similarities with the old farmer houses here in Ticino!
    Ver best regards Martina

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I am delighted that you joined Lorna and I at Kirkbuster Farm. I felt a sense of nostalgia going through the farmhouse. The music, books, and sayings on the wall – “Charity Never Fails” – was like going back to my the homes of my grandparents. Sending many hugs along with my thanks.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. Thank your for this special trip to Orkney, what a special and unique place! I can relate very well in many ways because I was also born and lived my young life on a farm. I was not surprised when Lorna mentioned animals on the farm because farm animals were important on our farm as well. I smiled when she said that she missed them, because I did, too. I enjoyed hearing about the grass, trees and, of course, the chairs and ropes that were made and could add to family living. The tasty cookies that you enjoyed gave me the desire to travel there just to enjoy them! ! I am glad that you are going to have another podcast about this unusual place, I think it will include information about a Cathedral. I wish it were possible for me to travel to this wonderful and unique place.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am delighted that you joined me on Orkney, Frances. There was a poignant sense that I had visited this place before. Then I realized that the sayings on the walls and the cozy atmosphere reminded me of my grandparents homes and farms. I never lived on a farm, but I am grateful that I was able to visit their farms and experience their appreciation for living close to the earth.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Wonderful! What a heritage, magnificent epoch for one’ imagination and factual story telling. The pictures alone are a story the need no words.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I am delighted that you joined Lorna and me on the farm. I can imagine sitting in front of the peat fire on a cold winter’s night drinking tea, telling stories and talking about the day’s events. It was a cozy place that felt like home to me.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Fascinating to hear about Orkney — from shortbread to peat to chairs to giants turned to stone! Virtual travel such as this is so welcome — especially during a time when actual travel is still not quite doable, at least internationally. Thank you, Rebecca and Lorna, for the compelling conversation!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am so pleased that you traveled the paths of Orkney with Lorna and me. Actually you are traveling with Thomas and Don, too. I had always wanted to go to Orkney to see the ancient sites and find the mythology. What I found was so much more. History doesn’t stop at one point and then dramatically change into something new. It is a series of transitions from changes in climate to new technologies to embracing new thoughts and values. We are in a constant state of transition, even though we consider that our daily routines will never change until a dramatic force disrupts. March 2020 was certainly a disruption, one that continues to evolve and transition as the months go by. Of course, I had hoped, as everyone else, that the crisis would be over within a few months. Instead, we are learning new ways of living. This is my roundabout way of saying that I am grateful that I can travel virtually and be anywhere in the world from my kitchen table. Most of all, I am grateful that we can have conversations and build virtual communities.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. As a farm girl myself, I understood her love of the land. I would love to visit Orkney and am even more intrigued after listening to Lorna. A great episode!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You must go, Darlene and take Amanda and Leah with you. There are plenty of mysteries to solve in Orkney. The post delivered “Amanda in Alberta” – I love traveling with Amanda. I have to run to keep up with her…. Hugs!

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Benjamin for traveling to Orkney with Lorna and me. I agree – Orkney is a great place to see the ancient heritages. I am looking forward to seeing what they have just discovered next to Skara Brae!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I enjoyed this episode of Tea, Toast & Trivia immensely! I never knew where the word “threshold” came from until I watched the video. Lorna’s discussion was so rich with information and detail about the history of the island and its people, I do hope she will come back for another episode. I was particuarly taken with the folklore.

    Liked by 2 people

Comments are closed.