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Unfor­tu­nately I couldn’t cope very well with the lack of light in the beautiful church of St Magnus, the “Cathedral”, in Kirkwall. Tall and narrow with small windows, it success­fully hides how small it really is and though it looks almost like a victorian church from Manchester, once inside the 12th century Romanesque norman/norse archi­tecture is actually warm, archaic and earthy, like a little red sandstone Durham. Magnus himself is interred half way up the rough stone pier on the right.

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Even flash-flattened, these carved stones from the 17th century, with their crude vanitas icono­graphy and naive carving, are still fascin­ating and utterly charming.

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