"In Orkney a Planticru is a round structure near the shore for growing kale."
Or so I have said in an explanation about the title of this blog. Maybe I should have been less specific about the shape and more about the structure.
I came across some old photos of planticrus from our Orkney archive recently. This one is triangular...
And this one is rectangular. Not a round one in sight.
I'm still searching for a photo of a round one.... I know I've seen one in Orkney... somewhere...somewhere...
Due to a general lack of trees the way to go in Orkney (pre-imports anyway) was to build out of stone. Doing this without mortar and able to withstand the gale force winds is a real art form. The other useful characteristic of dykes especially in windy places is that the force of the wind is filtered through the dyke. With no mortar it allows some wind through but takes away some of the force.
These two walls were built by Kevin in Orkney. He also built a wavy dyke for us which alas I don't have any photos of. You can see the mix of stones cleverly fitted together. Some dykers chip bits of the stone to make them fit but that doesn't seem quite such an impressive technique to me.
This photo shows the meeting of the two dykes. If they had been both built at the same time there would have been through stones to connect the two walls and strengthen them. As it is the two just butt up against each other.
The round structure on the left was built by P. It has a seat running round the inside and a small window to admire the view. It was a great place to shelter form the wind. The dark slate piece was made by an artist friend. It was designed for water to trickle down the slate.
The dykes round the chicken sheds were built by Kevin, Master dyker and are the wavy ones mentioned earlier.
The pattern on the floor of the circular structure with the built-in seat and the window to spy the post van approaching.
My one dyke claim to fame is this "peedie" ie small one in the foreground. It was all my own work although we later removed it to make a bigger border...