Bridges of Stone and Heart ~ Steve Tanham

A series of ‘betweens’ from the Silent Eye’s recent workshops in the Scottish Highlands and Orkney. {1400 words, a ten-minute read}

(Above: the waters of Scapa Flow have not always been so calm…)

Shortly after midnight on the 14th October, 1939, a German U-boat, U-47, passed unseen into the vast and hitherto safe waters of Orkney’s Scapa Flow, the base of the British Fleet, and sank the Battleship HMS Royal Oak, with the loss of 834 men. So convinced were the navy that Scapa Flow was impregnable, that over an hour passed before it was realised that the attack had come from the water…

(Above: the doomed HMS Royal Oak. Source Wikipedia, Public Domain)

“The place where the German U-boat sank the British battleship Royal Oak was none other than the middle of Scapa Flow, Britain’s greatest naval base! It sounds incredible…” William L Shirer, journalist, 18 October 1939.

Until that point, the great internal seaway of Scapa Flow had been considered safe waters for the fleet, its narrow entrances already reinforced with an assortment of deliberately sunken, retired merchant ships known as ‘Blockships’. Winston Churchill, soon to be Prime Minister, visited Orkney to inspect the defences in the light of their failure. His naval engineers determined that the integrity of the waters of Scapa Flow could not be guaranteed without a process of sealing off the eastern entrances of the waterway.

Continue reading at Sun in Gemini

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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