Orcadi Island – click any image for full size
Orcadi Island is a homestead design by Julya (Julya77) which is beautiful in its simplicity of approach, and likely mindful of places we may have visited or seen in the physical world. In my case, the strongest impression was that of England’s and Scotland’s heathland, thanks to the wide open vista presented. To others, doubtless it will evoke thoughts of America’s grain belt or the vast farms of the Australian outback.
The island rises from the sea table-like, the mostly flat top is entirely covered in tough wild grass turned sandy blond and suggestive of an autumn’s day – a feeling enhanced by the region’s windlight. A single hill rises to one side of this flat expanse, topped by the slim tower of a lighthouse. While this may break the illusion that the region is in the middle of a broad swath of heathland or wheat fields or the outback, it also reminds us that Orcadi Island isn’t really any attempt to mimic a particular place, but rather to evoke feelings and perhaps stir memories.
The landing point sits before the single cottage occupying the land – the storybook LAQ Picturesque Cottage, which I still adore seeing, even if it’s not really suitable for placement at home. Its presence here further enhances the intertwining of feelings that this place is familiar with the knowledge it is really unique.
A track runs past the cottage, pointing towards the lighthouse on its hill in one direction, whilst winding its way towards a thatch roofed windmill in the other, passing horses grazing on the tall grass along the way. A branch of this path also offers the way to the beach on the north-east side of the island. A second windmill sits closer to the cottage, its circular sail turning slowly, a snuggle for couples sitting just above the late-blooming flowers surrounding it.
As well as the horses roaming the island, the yard of the cottage is occupied by chickens, while the nearby bales of hay, neatly rolled or squared, and the red bulk of a tractor suggest this is a working farmstead. But also scattered across the island are small ruins: a wall here, a shattered corner and floor there, the arches of what might have once been a chapel overlooking the sea. all of which suggest this place has long been a place of human habitation.
It’s often said that the skill invested in a design is often shown within its apparent simplicity – a word to which I keep circling back. Orcadi Island exemplifies this in spades: it seems so simple a design, deceptively hiding the care and thought invested in making it such a beautiful setting. Yes, you might be able to “see all there is to see” within a few minutes of arriving, but that’s not the point. This is a place to be savoured; a setting in which you can lose yourself in thought enjoy time spent with a loved one or friend without feeling the need to hurry on and see what’s around the next corner.
This is also a wonderfully photogenic place, richly evocative; while walking through the tall grass, I found myself wanting to open my hands and feel the bushy tops of the golden stalks stroking my offered palms.
Should you enjoy your visit, do please make a donation at the tip jar by the landing point and help ensure Orcadi Island continues to be a place people can visit and enjoy.
- Orcadi Island (Black Cat Island, rated: Moderate)
With thanks, yet again, to Shakespeare for pointing me towards Orcadi Island.