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Eday maps

Historic maps of Eday and the local area, hand-drawn by Ordnance Survey and Samuel Lewis.   View all Eday maps

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Memories of Eday

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Isle of Orkney memories

My Great Great Grandmother

My great great grandmother Mary Balfour Craigie was born on 10 April 1816 on Gairsay Island to John Craigie 1777-1851 and Jannet Sclatter 1777-1846 both of Garisay. John Craigie was a boatman. The family later moved to Kirkwall. Mary married 1839 in Kirkwall to Donald Smith the blacksmith of Shore Street Kirkwall. They had six sons and 6 daughters, sadly only one son and three daughters lived to marry and have children, including Diana Jesse Smith who married David Balfour Peace sn. their son David Balfour Smith jn. founded the Cinema in Kirkwall the well known Dougie Shearer was her grandson.

What Was it Like The Year I Was Born

Howe of Hoxa Broch And Little Howe 1954, South Ronaldsay
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I have the arial photo of 1972 and I know what it's like now but back in 1954? I can't wait to see.

Ordiquish Parish of Bellie.

My grandparents, Robert (Bob) and Margaret (Maggie) Urquhart, moved from the Braes of Enzie, parish of Rathven, to Ordiquish, parish of Bellie, probably in 1941. However, their tenanted croft at Ordiquish was soon to be taken over by one of their sons, John Urquhart. John was a cattleman at Gordon Castle Farm. He also helped out on his parents' croft. Following the death of his father, in 1942, John took over the running of the croft.....
The farm at Enzie was called Tarrymount. In April 1941, a bomb landed and exploded on the farmland. A cousin of mine (who, I think, lived at Gordon Castle where her father was employed), remembered 'souveniring ' a piece of shrapnel ...


My brother Tom and I (Donald) were evavuated to Easter Fosterseat in the early 1940s during the war. Mr and Mrs Sim ran the farm and we immediately started work at the age of 7 and 5. Pluscarden School had two classes with five groups in each and the aim was to try and beat the class above you to the answers on the blackboard. Our teacher had a son at the school, we called him Kity as he wore one sometimes. She was married to the Auctioneer from Elgin. My early memory was having to sing solo at the Village Concerts. 'Ye Bank and Braes o Bonny Doon'. I must have had some voice especially for a Lowlander fre Auld Reeky. My brother went through a sort of hell as he was duslexic, this was never recognised in those days. I am now retired after 40 years in Local Government having reached the top of the tree as Director of Recreation and still to this day hold the UK record for... Read more

Cullerne Farm Caravan Site Around 1958

Cullerne Farm Caravan Site was owned by Willy Bichen, farmer of Blinkbonny, Brodie. The caravans made use of the old hard standings, for part of the farmlands had been an airfield. There was small brook where there were wild yellow lupin or perhaps they were broom bushes and the scent of the flowers was like sweet coconut.

Miltonduff / Mosstowie School

I started my education at Mosstowie Public school in the mid 50's. A small rural school with two teachers, Miss Allan and Mr Milne. My grandparents who I stayed with both worked at Miltonduff distillery which is still going today. It was called Ballantines Miltonduff distillery owned at that time by Hiram Walker a Canadian firm. There was a small local shop come Post Office run by Mrs Ross. Couldn't wait for Saturdays to come to get to the shop to buy sweets. The area hasn't changed much, no shop now, more new houses but still original school slightly larger than it used to be and still the local hall which is as well used today as it was way back then.
A few years ago I did a short history of the school which proved to be interesting showing that the school originally opened in 1878.


Primary school teacher was Miss Barbara Chisolm. She married a local farmer, Jack Cumming, and they farmed Abbeylands at least until the early fifties. The house and farm buildings were demolished and several houses are there now. The local Post Office was also located in that building and was run by Mrs Cumming. At that time the Abbey was called Pluscarden Priory, a ruin around which children used to play. It was in the forties that Benedictine monks came and started to restore the Priory.
On the occasion of a funeral, there was a shining black hearse drawn by equally shiny, beautifully groomed horses (four, I think) with plumes on their heads and well-polished leather harness, also extensively decorated and wonderful to see.
The public hall was well used for concerts, whist drives and dances and I can remember promotions like "The Ovaltineys" and "Creamola Custard" providing lively entertainment.
Occasions such as King George V Silver Jubille and the Coronation of George VI were celebrated with a huge bonfire on... Read more

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