Saturday, 27 August 2016

Orkney - Churchill Barriers And Blockships

The Churchill Barriers are a series of 4 artificial causeways, linking the Orkney Mainland to the islands of Lamb Holm, Glimps Holm, Burray and South Ronaldsay.  They were built during World War II, on the orders of Churchill, to defend the mooring of the Royal Navy's Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow.  Earlier defences had relied on a series of sunken blockships.  These had proven ineffective in October 1939, when the German U-Boat, U-47, took advantage of a high tide slip past them and torpedo HMS Royal Oak.  The barriers were built by Italian POWs and took the rest of the war to complete.

The ferry I took from mainland Scotland arrived at St Margaret's Hope on South Ronaldsay.  So I passed over all the barriers, which now carry the A961, on my journey to the cottage where I would be staying.  The blockships are still visible beside the barriers and were the first subject I wanted to photograph.  I mainly chose to concentrate on long exposure images using a 10-stop filter and isolating the wrecks as much as possible.


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