The Muckle Mester Stoorworm is the name of a gigantic sea serpent, which stars in Orkney’s creation myth. Its name is Norse, meaning huge serpent, and the beast itself is related to the Midgardsorm or World Serpent in Viking mythology.
The Stoorworm, according to legend, was terrorising the world by eating young girls, until the young hero Assipattle set fire to its liver with a burning peat. His teeth became Orkney, Shetland and the Faeroes. His burning liver is the volcanoes of Iceland.
When visiting the tall sand ridges of Catasands in Sanday, I felt like here I was standing on the vertebrae of the Stoorworm, or perhaps the spine of the world itself.