5 June 2016

Orcadian Adventures

When Mr Maggie May came to join me during my travels in Orkney, we had just one day on the mainland to squeeze in as much as possible.

Where on earth would we start?

Luckily, the kind folk at Visit Orkney came to our rescue, arranging a day packed full of wonderful things to see and do; if you're planning a trip up to the islands, I would definitely recommend visiting their website for some inspiration!

It was a fairly cold day {by my standards; I think the Orcadians would have described it as pleasant weather for April} so we wrapped up warm and set off for our first location - somewhere I had been dying to go since I first organised my trip.

The Standing Stones of Stenness.

Dating back to around 3000BC, this is one of the earliest stone circles in Britain, and one of Orkney's most famous sites. 

With some of the stones reaching up to six metres high, you can't help but repeatedly gaze up at their imposing structures, with a slightly eerie feel to the circle surrounding you.

We walked around the megaliths for a while, quietly admiring their simple beauty.

They were well worth a visit.

Visitors to the Stones are thoroughly spoilt, as just a *stone's* throw away {sorry} is another iconic archaeological treasure - The Ring of Brodgar.

The ring is thought to have been built around 2500-2000 BC, with 27 of the original 60 stones still standing. It is not clear what its purpose was - suggestions include a site for ritual, a religious shrine, or a place for astronomical observation of the equinox and solstice.

Whatever the reason, it is a beautiful place to visit.

We slowly walked around the circle, but as dark rain clouds suddenly appeared overhead, we hastily took our last few photos before heading off for the next part of our grand tour.

Yesnaby is on the western coast of the mainland, with spectacular scenery, stunning cliff faces, and the haunting noise of the waves crashing against the rugged landscape. 

Our guide took us on a short coastal walk, to a viewpoint where we could admire the sea stacks and dramatic stone formations before us.

We came across some of the famous sea stacks along the way.

With the Old Man of Hoy watching us from a distance.

The walk was breath-taking - although it was pretty gusty up there!

With a rosy glow to our cheeks from the wind, we bundled into the car with a thirst for even more Orcadian delights - and what with a prehistoric village and wee dram or two to come, we weren't going to be disappointed! More on that next time...

Thank you to Visit Orkney for organising our tour around the mainland, and to Dave Flanagan for being such an excellent tour guide - you can see Dave's work at www.davidcflanagan.com.

You can read the first post in my series about Orkney here.

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