After Highland Park, the other ‘must see’ on my trip to Orkney was the Italian Chapel. I’m not a religious person as such, but the story of these Italian prisoners of war, creating something so stunning, literally out of nothing mainly from scavenged items was hard to shake off. While the camps are no more, the Churchill Barriers are a permanent monument to the efforts of these prisoners. The Italian Chapel in comparison was built with basic materials and items with a limited shelf life. While those from that era are gone now it is a testament to Orkney that the bonds and Chapel remain today.
The barriers connect several southern islands to Orkney and have proved to be a lasting addition to the transport network, as well as an important defence against maradening U-Boats. Just driving across these on a summers evening was an amazing experience. Seeing these huge wrecks deliberately placed and sunk to provide protection to the naval fleet, it felt like we were back in the 1940’s and a place where time had stood still.