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Peedie Sea from Cathedral
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Peedie Sea from Cathedral

A Tom Kent picture, date unknown, showing a large and frozen Peedie Sea, and no development of any density at the far side of it.
Picture added on 22 December 2005
A better map of the Kirkwall streets is shown here, but doesn't show the Peedie Sea as well. Zoom in for the street names.

For a map from 1882, visit the old maps site and search for kirkwall.
Added by Steven Heddle on 28 December 2005
My g'mother was Isabella Guthrie Reid, who married William Heddle.
Thanks for the interesting info.
Happy New Year !!
Added by Isabella on 28 December 2005
It's the frozen area of water in the middle third of the picture as you look from top to bottom, separated from the sea on the right by the spit of land (The Ayre) that reaches to the buildings at the Peedie Sea's top right corner in this picture. These buildings include the Ayre Mills, which are/were situated at the opening to the sea that made the Peedie Sea a fine natural sheltered harbour in Viking times, when it would have been called the Oyce.

You can get an idea of the former extent of the Peedie Sea by going to this link

In days of yore, the inlet to it was about where the A965 on the Ayre Road is, and the Ayre Mills or Mills Buildings which stand beside the road there were formerly a tide powered mill.

With reference to the map we can take a walk along the roads which grew up surrounding the old Oyce. Head east along Ayre Road (an ayre is the spit of land which nearly but not quite encloses an oyce) till you get to the head of the big pier; follow the dark green line SE then SW till it meets Victoria Street- you are now near the front of the cathedral, having walked up Bridge Street, Albert Street and along Broad St; continue down Victoria Street and along Main Street - this is the route the Ba might take if it is going up, and if it was going down it may well take your earlier route from the cathedral back to the pier; at the end of Main St. head north then follow Pickaquoy Road back to the Ayre Mills and your starting point.

Added by Steven Heddle on 28 December 2005
where is the Peedie Sea ?
Added by Isabella on 28 December 2005
This particular photograph has stirred up quite a bit of interest but I notice that no one has yet referred to the fact that there was once upon a time an island in the Peedie Sea.Perhaps I should say"A Skerry" for it was no more than a small formation of rocks. It was large enough for a colony of arctic terns to nest on which, which they did with seasonal regularity.
Where was this "Skerry" ? well it was situated left of centre in the picture just about the spot where the white mark meets the dark, and above what was J&W Taits store and J.T.Flett the butchers store.
Needless to say the skerry/island had to make way for the power station.
It would be nice to see a picture of the Peedie Sea including the island. Any chance of this in the archives?
P. Burges.
Added by Peter Burges on 03 January 2006
Uncanny, Peter!

I was speaking to Sandy Firth about 'The Holmie' (your skerry/island) last night, and was planning to scan in some old maps that he gave me copies of, showing the position of The Holmie and the extent of the Peedie Sea in the past. Sandy was saying that the engine beds of the power station are situated above the solid rock foundation of The Holmie, so when the maps go on that should be useful for orientation purposes.
Added by Steven Heddle on 04 January 2006
Can anyone shed light on the following rhyme 'Nicol Norie catched a skorie on the Peedie sea'. Who was Nicol Norie, and is a skorie a young gull? My maiden name was Norie, and I am trying to find any connection with Orkney.
Added by Judith Kay on 16 July 2007
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