Back on “mainland” Orkney I made one more stop before going back home and visited the Earl´s Bu and Church in Ophir. During the early period of Norse ruling, Ophir was a centre of power.
The Orkneyinga Saga, dating to about 1136, tells of a great Yule feast given by Earl Paul at his bu, or residence, in Orphir. It describes a ‘large drinking-hall’ next to a ‘magnificent church’. The remains of that church survive today. (Historic Enviroment Scotland)
The Earl´s Bu and church are strongly connected to the Orkneyinga Saga.
The saga is an account of the history of Orkney from its capture by a Norwegian king in the 800s until about 1200. (Historic Enviroment Scotland)
Ophir is one of only two round medieval churches in Scotland, the remains of this church are still visible today.
Ophir might have been a Pictish settlement that was overtaken by the Norse.
Another connection to the Saga, after killing St. Magnus his cousin and co-ruler, Earl Hakon Paulson went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. After his return in 1122, he built the Round Kirk.
Ophir also offers stunning views over Scapa Flow and towards Hoy, again under a cloud. There is a lovely walk along the coastline.