Sir Walter Scott and Bessie Millie
The celebrated novelist Sir Walter Scott visited the Hall of Clestrain and Stromness during his tour with the lighthouse commissioners in 1814.
In Stromness, which he described as "a little, dirty, straggling town", Scott accompanied Captain Wilson on an errand no shipmaster dared omit – the purchase of a fair wind from witch Bessie Millie in her smoke-filled hovel on Brinkie's Brae.
The crafty nonagenarian regaled Scott with the tale of the pirate John Gow, inspiring the character Captain Cleveland in his novel, The Pirate.
© Bryce Wilson