The Orcades with her original corn coloured hull.
The Orcades with her original corn coloured hull.

This trio of memorable twin screw turbine powered orient Line passenger liners were among my most favourite liners of the post-war period, along with the post-war P. & o. liners. Orcades was the ancient name for the Orkney Islands and the Orcadean sagas, with her bow decoration of a stylised harp to represent the sagas. Oronsay was named after the island linked to Colonsay off the west coast of Jura and Islay, with her bow decoration of a broadsword and circular shield belonging to the clansmen of Oronsay. St. Columba landed on Oronsay on his way to Iona in the sixth century, and the unusual black fleeced goats on the island are said to be descended from surviving goats of armada galleons wrecked in 1588 on the island. Orsova was named after a small town on the Danube on the Romanian side of the frontier with Yugoslavia and a barrier to navigation, and her ‘gate’ bow decoration was representative of these Iron Gate rapids. 

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