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Buckle's Tower

 

 

 

 submitted by Victor Muir and Sheila Anderson - March 2010

 

 

 

 

 

This is an interesting walk above Finstown affording magnificent views down to the village and all over the West Mainland.  Turn up the Heddle Road at the recently renovated church in the village.  There is a convenient car park opposite the Heddle Quarry and from there walk down the road about 200 metres and take the first track on your left.

 

 

 

William Buckle was well known in the village of Finstown in the late 1880s or early 1900s.  When he was a herd boy he built Buckles’s Tower.  No doubt he built it out of boredom during long, lonely days herding up on the hill.  The Tower was carefully positioned on a piece of high ground to be seen from all around.  There are magnificent views towards Stenness, Harray and towards Stromness.  On a clear day the North Isles can be observed stretching out beyond Finstown.

 

 

 

The other reason for the chosen position is that a stone quarry is within a few feet of the tower.  Therefore it was no distance to carry the stone.  No ladders were used in the building of it, but stepping stones were left jutting out to stand on as he built it.  They were broken off from the top downwards when it was finished.

  

 

It has been told that in the days of sailing ships the skippers took sightings from the Old Kirk and Buckle’s Tower and then they knew they were in the deepest channel for the pier at Maitland’s Place.  Flagstones used to be taken from the quarry at Buckle’s Tower and shipped from the pier.  The Old Kirk would have been the Chalmer’s Free Church which has been made into flats now.  But of course there was also a church in the Finstown cemetery.

If you are feeling energetic you might wish to go down from Buckle’s Tower towards the Stenness/Finstown Road, but this would mean quite a hike back to your car on the Heddle Road.