This morning, we commenced Day 2 of our Orkney tour by departing our Kirkwall Hotel and then driving to the Stones of Stenness, a relatively small Henge and Stone Circle dating from the 3rd millennium BC. Although comprising of a small number of stones, a couple are extremely tall with tops finished off at about 45 degrees.
Stones of Stenness, Orkney

Stones of Stenness, Orkney, Scotland

Next to the famous Maes Howe chambered cairn dating from the early 3rd millennium BC but featuring (internally) Viking runes (carved writing) and Viking graffiti.

Maes Howe, Orkney

Maes Howe, Orkney, Scotland

Maes Howe, Prehistoric Site

Maes Howe, Prehistoric Site, Orkney

This reminded me of Newgrange  in Ireland as it is of similar design and no doubt reflected common culture and contacts in those far off days.

Next we visited possibly the best known stone circle on Orkney, namely the Ring of Brodgar  which dates from the 3rd millennium BC. This is of considerable dimensions, in terms of both diameter and number of standing stones.

Ring of Brodgar, Orkney

Ring of Brodgar, Orkney, Scotland


We had lunch close to Brodgar, on a pleasant coastal view point.

After lunch we experienced another dip into pre-history as manifested by the 3rd millennium BC Unstan Chambered Cairn. A smaller version of Maes Howe and also featuring Viking runic inscription. Unstan is a so-called stalled cairn. The entrance passage is incredibly narrow requiring manoeuvring on all fours.

Unstan Chambered Cairn, Orkney

Unstan Chambered Cairn, Orkney, Scotland


Inside Unstan Chambered Cairn, Orkney

Inside Unstan Chambered Cairn, Orkney, Scotland

Next we drove to the harbour town of Stromness, a very old and impressive place which is also an important ferry terminal. Here we had plenty of time to stroll the length of this town viewing the interesting and sometimes quaint architecture. Stromness has numerous famous sons and daughters and in past times a close association with the Hudson Bay Trading Company. Captain Cook called here to provision his fleet.

Stromness  Water Front

Stromness Water Front, Scotland

Stromness Water Front, Orkney

Stromness Water Front, Orkney, Scotland

Next we headed back towards Orphir with a brief stop to learn about various naval disasters including scuppering of the German fleet in 1919 and sinking of the Royal Oak.

Next to St. Nicholas Church, Orphir and excavated remains of Viking Earls’ Hall dating from the early 12th century.

Viking Earls Hall, Orkney

Viking Earls Hall, Orkney, Scotland

Finally, we returned to our Kirkwall hotel about 5.15pm.

Weather was kind to us with little rain.

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