Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Touring the Western Mainland of Orkney

For my second full day in Orkney, I decided to tour the Western Mainland. My First stop was Skara Brae Prehistoric Village. In 1850, a powerful storm blew in off the Bay of Skaill. In doing so, the winds caused the sands to shift and they tore the tops off the grassy cliff. This unearthed a remarkably well preserved Neolithic Viking village that is 5000 years old. There were 10 buildings in the village, including a communal workshop. There is evidence of a drainage system as well. The houses and workshop were built into the ground to minimize damage from the weather and winds

Less than 100 yards from Skara Brae lies Skaill House. This house belonged to the Bishop of Orkney who in 1620 built the original home. The bishop's son became Laird and successive Lairds have owned the home. In the winter of 1850, after a storm, Laird William Watt saw several rock formations that had been uncovered. These of course were the village of Skara Brae

Moving north, and slightly inland from the Bay of Skaill, I came to Birsay and discovered the Orkney Brewery. The tour was both fun and informative and concluded with a paddle of samples

Next it was on to the Brough of Birsay. This tidal island was also once a Viking settlement. Unfortunately tide was in so I was unable to cross over the sound to the island.

Then it was onto the Broch of Gurness, the remnants of a very large, very well defended structure. Brochs are homes from the Iron Age and are unique to Scotland. 

 Norse grave

 Reaching back 1200 years and touching history

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