Tankerness House Gardens
This is a unique building in the heart of Kirkwall, with an incredible story.
History always seems to be around you in Orkney, and that's especially true in the heart of the old town centre of Kirkwall. Opposite St Magnus Cathedral you'll find the Orkney Museum, housed in the former Tankerness House. Behind, there are beautiful gardens, a sunny hideaway for summer days.
At the foot of the gardens, you'll see a strange stone structure - this is the 'Groatie Hoose', a building with links to some of the wilder days of island life.
It was first built as a summer house for a former Provost of Kirkwall and was constructed using volcanic stones salvaged from the ballast of the 'Revenge', the ship of infamous Orkney pirate, John Gow. He was caught in the islands in 1725 and executed in London four years later, but his story lives on with the 'Groatie Hoose'.
The building was originally found in a garden off Kirkwall's Bridge Street, surviving extensive renovations nearby, building developments and a huge fire in the late 1930s. It sat in its original home until 2005, when a project to move it piece by piece to its current site was launched.
It's known as the 'Groatie Hoose' because of its spire decorated with cowrie shells, or 'groatie buckies' as they're called in Orkney. It's just such a special building, and one with an incredible history behind it.