Driving from South Ronaldsay, you cross several of the Churchill Barriers. The British fleet was stationed here in WWII and the barriers were build using labor of POWs to protect the fleet from the Germans U boats. Before the large concrete barriers, salvage ships were lined up end to end and sunk to create the barriers. One German U-boat managed to penetrate those original barriers and sunk a the HMS Royal Oak, with the cost of over 800 lives. Today the area around the seven remaining WWI German sunken ships is one of the top dive sites in the world.
The Italian Chapel stands on the Island of Lamb Holm just over the fourth barrier. Italian prisoners of war who built the barriers and worked in agriculture, were given a Nissen hut to turn into a chapel. Domenico Chichetti designed the chapel and the prisoners worked to decorate and furnish it over a period of 3 years with materials they could scrounge. When the prisoners were released at the end of the war, Chichetti stayed onto finish the work on the chapel. The detailed painting and metal work is a testament to what can be created from nearly nothing when you have dedication and vision. http://www.scotsitalian.com/orkney_chapel.htm
You can't be in Orkney without spying old or new Orkney chairs. Locals made these chairs for hundreds of years with materials they had at hand. The chairs combine wood (originally driftwood) for the frame and oat straw coiled and stitched with sisal for the chair backs. We saw the chairs being made first hand at Fraser Anderson's workshop, Orkney Hand-Crafted Furniture, in Kirkwall. Just 23 years old, he is already a master at making Orkney chairs and employees his cousin who fashions the chair backs and several aprrentices who prepare the oatstraw and help in the wood shop. It takes up to 3 weeks to complete each chair. Fraser is honoring the tradition while designing new shapes and styles of chairs, rockers and stools. http://www.orkneyhandcraftedfurniture.co.uk/