The Kitchener memorial on Marwick Head, Mainland Orkney can be regarded in many ways.
Looking like a god deposited chess rook, defiantly staring at the scene of a queen sacrifice. Undefeated if bloodied.
Or, as a decaying stump of a tooth, the only one left in the rapacious maw of an ancient lion dreaming of past glories.
I regard it as both, and more. It is the memorial to 662 people killed in armed conflict, yet carries the name of a fairly unpleasant Man.
Horatio Kitchener, the bloke with the frightening mustache pointing out of a poster saying “your country need you” The man responsible for the concentration camps that killed countless Women and Children in the Boer War, the man who tried to “civilise” the Irish, with violence.
The memorial would be better named the Hampshire memorial after the ship that was carrying Kitchener to Russia to persuade the Tzar to stay in the First world war.
The Hampshire hit a mine, having sailed in appalling weather. The supposed importance of the voyage being judged more valuable than the lives of the crew.
However, it is called the Kitchener Memorial, and fittingly bearing in mind the disaster it commemorates, it takes a bit of effort to get to. A mile and a bit, up hill against the incessant wind. But in daylight on a June day, a pleasant stroll compared to the night the Hampshire sank in a screaming gale.