8 August 2012 Birsay yarnwife enjoying herself

I thought I would have to report that Birsay yarnwife had left the Ring of Brodgar for an unknown destination… again.


I should have known better.  She has been at the dig at the Ness of Brodgar and is going to the Dounby show tomorrow. Let’s hope the sun shines.


8 August 2012 Hunting for North Ronaldsay sheep

I’ve recently heard that two of the sheep flocks on North Ronaldsay have been sighted – and enjoyed. These are on the east side of the island.

The photo below is of the pund where the first flock was placed, on the west side (Bay of Ryasgeo on howling wind and stinging sleet). Hope it helps the searchers…


5 August 2012 Bulletin on Orkney installations

Just back from a visit to Orkney. Didn’t get a chance to check all the sites to see whether yarnwives or installations had wandered. But I have got quite a lot of information for all that!

Although Birsay yarnwife had permission to stay at the Ring of Brodgar (many thanks to the ranger team for their kind welcome), she is no longer there. And Brodgar yarnwife and her egg pouches have also totally disappeared from their field gate. I wonder where they have wandered to now…? and when and where they will be sighted again?

I know indirectly that the Birsay installation is still there despite the fact that Birsay yarnwife left it – there have been some great comments on Facebook about the rock wrapping there.

I visited Hoxa yarnwife and her installation on Friday 3 August, and was pleased to see that she was still guarding her installation (although one of her two wrapped rocks has moved and has broken in half; and the second one has gone altogether). I tidied her up and retied her sandbag.

The day before (Thursday 2 August) I visited Wideford yarnwife who has most of her installation intact – just one outlying wrapping (on a fallen fence post) missing there.

I didn’t get the chance to visit the island installations, so it is great to get a blog comment today (please have a look at the page on Hegasaer’s mission) about North Ronaldsay yarnwife and her flocks. Thanks very much, Njalsdottir – it’s great to know that two months on, at least part of the installation is still there.

So there is only one element of RePlace Orkney which I can’t report on. I am hoping someone can let me know how Hoy yarnwife and her washing are doing, up the slope in the glen.

I’ll post some images in the next day or two, both of absences and presences. If anyone else has any images it would be great to post them on the blog.


2 July 2012 Yarnwife roaming

Great news. Birsay yarnwife has been spotted at the Ring of Brodgar. What a great place for her to visit. Thanks to both her travel companion and her finder.

I guess she has left her wool trove behind.  Maybe she will meet  up with Brodgar yarnwife. Who knows?

This is her near the Viking settlement on the Brough of Birsay on 18 May.

12 June 2012 … and in no particular order, starting with Brodgar

It’s great to learn that some of Hegasaer’s installations have been found.  I am full of admiration for the people who have followed up clues, either from the tags left at each site, or via geo-caching (What? You don’t know about geo-caching yet? have a look at http://www.geocaching.com, but be warned – it can be an addictive pastime). I wonder if we are all detectives at heart.

Thanks for comments made so far – it is really interesting to know about individuals’ responses to what they find.

The Brodgar installation has not attracted any comments yet. It’s unique among the RePlace installations because it includes clay eggs, mostly low-fired plus one unfired one which will dissolve as the weather impacts on it – so it’s even more impermanent than the others.  Also it uses some very locally sourced material.  I made the clay from spoil soil (if you get my drift) and wanted to RePlace it very close to its origin.

The Brodgar yarnwife was given a shawl to keep her warm as she keeps watch on the egg pouches. But I wonder what the weather is like in Orkney now.  Maybe she doesn’t need it any longer.

RePlace 6 Hoxa and Balfour WW2 Batteries 20 May 2012

The Hoxa and Balfour Batteries are very evocative of World War Two as they overlooked (and defended) Scapa Flow, crucial harbourage for the Home Fleet. As with Lyness on Hoy, it is easy to imagine service personnel working round these sites on what must have been a difficult posting. A good place to bring this RePlace project to its end, with the most recent archaeology in Orkney.

A small, but very satisfying, deposit, supervised by Hoxa yarn-wife. Not easy to undertake because this is a popular place on a sunny Sunday afternoon in the tourist season (it took two attempts to complete).

I shall be sailing past this spot tomorrow morning as I depart on the ferry to Gill’s Bay. I shall  lookout for the unmistakable outline of the concret blocks scattered in anything but haphazard fashion across the headland.


N 58 degrees 49.276′

W 003 degrees 02.078′

Thank you to all who have helped with the project. The blog will continue once I have returned home, so please come back.