NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Orkney fiddle returns home after 100 years

Fiddle being played Image copyright Gayle Duggan
Image caption Douglas Montgomery played the fiddle in St Magnus Cathedral

A fiddle which was made from the wreckage of a sunken battleship almost 100 years ago has been played in St Magnus Cathedral after being returned to Orkney for restoration.

The instrument was made in Flotta from wood from HMS Vanguard.

Its history emerged after Gayle Duggan, from Edinburgh, bought the old battered fiddle for £20 at a car boot sale.

She found a scrap of paper stuck inside, which took months to decipher due to water damage.

Image copyright Gayle Duggan
Image caption The fiddle was returned to Orkney for restoration

It turned out that the fiddle had been made in 1919 by Thomas Sutherland from Flotta, and that the wood had come from HMS Vanguard.

More than 800 people died when the battleship sank in Scapa Flow in July 1917 after a series of internal explosions.

Image copyright Gayle Duggan
Image caption The fiddle was made in 1919 by Thomas Sutherland

Gayle decided to take the instrument back to Orkney, where it was restored by Colin Tulloch.

She then asked Douglas Montgomery if he would play it in the cathedral, which he did on Saturday morning.

Gayle said: "Once I realised the history behind it, I knew I had to get it to Orkney to be repaired - it needed to make a bit of a pilgrimage really.

"I was holding back the tears when I heard it played properly."