Virtual Vault Rev James Wallace's Description of the Isles of Orkney, 1684 (MS)
Chapter 3

Chapter 3d
off forrests rivers, lochs etc.
What moon causeth high water

There is no forrest or wood in all this Countrey nor anie trees except some yt are in the Bishops gairden att Kirkwall where are some ashes & thorn & plumtrees.  There are bisyde there & in some other Gentlemens gairdens some aple & cherrie trees but they seldom bear fruit yt come to anie maturitie.  Yet it seems there have been woods Growing in this Countrey for in the mosses they find trees with there Branches in fire of 20 or 30 foot length.

This Countrey being divided in small Ilands itt cannot be expected there should be in itt anie Rivers yet there is everie where a great manie Burns & Torrents, weel replenished with trouts, both small & Great, some of them like to young Salmon.

There is a lairge Loch in the Mainland called the Loch of Stennis but unfruitfull.  Beside that there are manie other

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other small Lochs which serve for no other use but to afford water to their milne & cattell.  There be also some Lochs that have remarkeable properties: as ST Tredwells Loch in papa Westra, which they say is midicinall, & of which they say yt itt will appear Like blood before anie disaster befall ye Royall familie.  There is another Loch in Shapinsha, of which they say that iff anie wyde in itt, itt will make his feet to brake out in blisters.  The Loch of Swanna in the Mainland will have in some pairts a thick skume of Coper Color upon it, which makes some thnk yt there is some mine under itt.  This Countrey is most Comodious for navigation there being everie where excellent Roads & Bays & Ports for shiping of ye most remarkeable of which I have given ane account in the first Chapter.

A south east & norwest moon causeth high water throughout all this Countrey.

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