Scottish Thistles at Stones of Stenness, Orkney

Today, we focused on the rich historical heritage of Orkney, a group of islands off Scotland’s northern coast. The history is mainly focused on the Neolithic and Viking periods (about 4000 years apart). Scenery was also fascinating with rural, coastal and loch (lake) views supplemented with wildlife such as seals, swans, geese, ducks and other birds. Weather was favourable, being mainly dry throughout the day.

Our first stop was Maes Howe Chambered Cairn which dates from the 3rd millennium BC with 11th and 12th century Viking runes (script) and graffiti.

Next to two stone circles within close proximity, Stones of Stenness (early 3rd millennium BC) and Ring of Brodgar Henge and Stone Circle (3rd millennium BC). Between the two sites we walked to a recently discovered Neolithic settlement at Barnhouse from where we had a short bird-watching session at a local loch-side hide.

Basking seals at Loch of Stenness, Orkney

Barnhouse Neolithic Settlement, Orkney.

Stones of Stenness, Orkney, Scotland.

Ring of Brodgar, Orkney, Scotland

Loch Harray from Ring of Brodgar, Orkney

Next to the famous Skara Brae Neolithic Village which dates from c. 2500-3100 BC and enjoys a coastal location.

Skara Brae Neolithic Village, Orkney

Skara Brae Neolithic Village, Orkney

After lunch at the Skara Brae Visitor Centre we moved to another part of Mainland Orkney and the Broch of Gurness which dates from the 9th century AD to 1st century BC.Here can be found an extensive and well-preserved community of domestic buildings surrounding a broch with a long history of Pictish and Viking era occupation.

Broch of Gurness, orkney, Scotland

Broch of Gurness, Orkney, Scotland

Our final visit was to the Brough of Birsay site which dates from the 8th-12th centuries AD. This comprises a major Viking age settlement with a church and domestic buildings.

Early Christian site at Brough of Birsay, Orkney.#

Norse houses at Brough of Birsay, Orkney.

We concluded the tour about 5.00pm on return to our hotel in Kirkwall. Tomorrow, we return to the mainland and visit Loch Ness.

Kirkwall Harbour, Orkney, Scotland

Be Sociable, Share!