Here is the small,
picturesque island capital, Kirkwall, with its ruins of the old Bishop's
Palace and its magnificent St Magnus Cathedral. By pure chance we
witnessed a local custom involving a girl who was engaged to be married.
According to a travel agent down the street, the bride-to-be was being
bound in a cellophane sheet with tape before her "friends" applied black
shoe polish to her face. The ritual is called a "blackening". A male
counterpart is often publicly stripped before the ritual.