Breck o’ Aikerness

The language that estate agents speak is not English as we know it. Breck o’ Aikerness was for sale recently. It may still be, although the For Sale sign is now on the ground.

Breck o' Aikerness - photograph (c) 2016 David Bailey (not the)

Here’s what the Kirkwall Property Centre has to say about Breck o’ Aikerness:
“Located in an elevated ‘truly stand alone’ setting,” Well, it truly is. It’s in the middle of nowhere. “Breck of Aikerness is set within 0.33 acres and enjoys spectacular views over the sea.” So far so good. “Originally built for farm workers in the 19th century, the dwelling was last lived in in the early 1960’s.” It was built for the servants at Skaill. There are two cottages, the west one was last occupied by John and Frances Rendall in 1961 and the east one by John and Jamesina Drever and family in 1961. Farm workers sounds better than servants, doesn’t it?

“Situated on the picturesque island of Westray.” I agree so far. “Amenities on the island include a hotel, general stores, post office, primary/high school, swimming pool and fitness centre.” Have they mentioned the lack of a roof yet? “Many archeological sites and places of natural interest.” Breck o’ Aikerness looks to me like it’s rapidly becoming one of them.

“Say goodbye to traffic jams, the long and expensive commute, overcrowded cities and towns and that hectic pace of life.” Say goodbye to a roof too.
“Come to Orkney instead and enjoy a quality lifestyle in a stunning island location.” Now they’re talking some sense. Have they mentioned the stunning skies visible from inside the house?
“Lying off the North East coast of Scotland,” they say. Are the Agents referring to themselves? “and benefiting from a temperate climate as the Gulf Stream passes close by, the fertile islands are proving a destination of choice for families who want to live, work and prosper.” Temperate sounds good, but it refers to everywhere from the tropics to the poles. The islands are on the same latitude as Anchorage, Stockholm and St Petersburg where it’s considerably colder. It’s not actually the Gulf Stream which passes close by, as the Gulf Stream in in the Gulf of Mexico and last time I looked that wasn’t close to Orkney. It’s the North Atlantic Drift which comes to Orkney.

“Crime rates are low,” that’s good although there appears to be nothing worth stealing at Breck o’ Aikerness! “Jobs are plentiful, educational standards are high, with Orkney’s schools regularly featuring amongst the best in the country. Orkney’s culture, heritage, archaeology and wildlife are world famous and its leisure and community health facilities are second to none.” There’s certainly plenty of fresh air at Breck o’ Aikerness.
“Best of all property prices are surprisingly affordable and you get so much more for your money when you look at the spacious homes and gardens that you can enjoy in these beautiful islands.” It’s £25,000 for a third of an acre and two cottages. Land is only worth what you’re allowed to do with it. At Breck o’ Aikerness the only limits are planning permission and your imagination.


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