Wild camper pitches up for night on green of UK’s most northerly cathedral


BIZARRE photographs captured the moment a “wild camper” decided to pitch up on the green of an 880-year-old cathedral.

The unidentified camper, thought to be a tourist, was snapped with his tent pitched outside of St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, Orkney.

The camper’s pitch was a few metres from a graveyard and a war memorial at the cathedral, which was founded in 1137, and dominates the Kirkwall skyline.

Despite that, the visitor decided it was the perfect place to camp overnight on Wednesday  and was still hanging around late morning the next day.

Locals were stunned to find a tent on the cathedral grounds

Locals on social media were divided over the brazen camper, with many suggesting he was taking a “liberty” while others didn’t see a problem.

The sandstone building, built in the Romanesque style, is the most northerly cathedral in the UK.

Walter Haywood posted the photograph of the camper to Facebook with the caption: “The Kirk Green this morning…”

The photograph shows the black tent pitched on the perfectly manicured green of the cathedral.

The unusual camping spot has gained a lot of attention online

In the background wreaths of remembrance can be seen placed at the cemetery gates.

Scores of social media users were quick to criticise the camper.

Nicholas Pirie wrote: “What a liberty!”

One local wrote: “That’s a disgrace. No respect.”

Another added: “Nothing to stop them really. First I have seen. They were, I expect, dog tired, lost and thought here will have to do.”

One local added: “Nobody’s being prevented from visiting the Kirk Green, but while wild camping is permissible under the Outdoor Access Code. I’d hardly regard the Kirk Green as being an example of wild land.”

However the camping spot is not illegal no matter how bizarre

A local said: “I know about wild camp laws in Scotland, says you can camp pretty much anywhere with in reason and with no farm animals around, but does the Kirk green count?”

Another commented: “Joking aside I hope this is a one off event.”

And one said: “ One tent is kind of funny. It won’t be so funny when it’s half a dozen tents, a pile of litter and someone’s gravestone being used as a toilet.”

However, other locals defended the camper and couldn’t resist joking around.

Rachel Thomson wrote: “Tent gate.”

Another joked: “Loitering within tent.”

While one local added: “He has a right to do so between dusk and dawn. Lol.”

Another wrote: “Leave them alone no harm done.”

St Magnus Cathedral dates back to the 12th century

Speaking today, Walter Haywood said: “He came on the bus from Stromness the night before. I saw him but didn’t speak to him.

“It was the wrong place to pitch the tent. In the town centre next to banks, the cathedral and taxi rank.

“But I don’t think he’s broke the law, just a silly place to pitch the tent.

“He was seen taking down his tent and rolling it up at around midday on Thursday.”

Police Scotland said they were aware of the camper, but as his strange choice of camping place wasn’t illegal no charges or arrest were brought.

St Magnus Cathedral was originally built in the 12th century but it took 300 years for it to be fully completed as pieces were added along the way.

The Cathedral was founded by the Viking Earl Rognvald in honour of his uncle St Magnus, who was an Earl of Orkney.

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