NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Orkney 'Viking' totem pole vandalised

Leaning totem
Image caption Local people gathered on Sunday morning to inspect the damage

A totem pole which has stood near Burray village in Orkney for 15 years has been vandalised.

Marks on the sculpture, and on the ground nearby, suggest someone has put a chain round it and pulled using a vehicle.

It has been left leaning at approximately 45 degrees, with some local people suggesting it should be left like that.

The totem was erected in 2002, and christened the Viking.

Image caption Local resident Magnus Woolham says it probably took a 4x4 to pull the totem pole over

Local resident Magnus Woolham said: "By the looks of it, someone's put a rope or chain round his neck and tried to pull him over using some sort of vehicle, I would imagine probably a 4x4.

"He is about five feet into the ground, so obviously it took a good pull to get him to fall over."

He said the local artist who made the Viking only ever intended it to be "a bit of fun".

But he said the vandalism was "a bit of a shame for the community".

Local people like to go and look at it, and camp round it, he said, and it is an attraction for tourists.

Image caption The Viking seems to have been used for target practice since it was put up in 2002
Image caption The totem pole has been left leaning at a jaunty angle

Now some are suggesting the Viking should be left as it is, at least for the next few weeks.

Magnus Woolham told BBC Radio Orkney he would like whoever was responsible to own up.

"I think it would be quite nice if they came forward and apologised for doing it, and maybe offered to come and help put it back up.

"It would be nice to see him standing again, for many more years."

Image caption Marks round the sculpture's neck suggest it was pulled with a rope or chain
Image caption There are tyre tracks in the ground nearby which may have been left by a vehicle used in the vandalism

The sculpture was made from a huge log of driftwood found floating off a nearby beach.

It was put in place, near the northern end of the fourth Churchill Barrier.

A second, much larger, totem pole stands on the edge of St Mary's, at the end of the first Barrier.

That pole was erected in October 2007 after a group of Cree Indians worked with local people to carve it.

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