Island Hopping: St Mary’s, the other bit.

Today I walked up to the other other side of St Mary’s. You’ll never guess what I found! OK if you’ve been paying attention you can probably guess.

But first, another entrance grave.

From the English Heritage panel:

Innisidgen Upper Burial Chamber
There are as many as 80 prehistoric chambered tombs known on the Isles of Scilly, but this is one of the best preserved. They are generally of the form known as ‘entrance graves’, and date from the Neolithic or the early Bronze Age. The name ‘entrance grave’ may be misleading, since this type of prehistoric monument is unlikely to have been constructed solely for burial purposes. Such ‘graves’ could also have functioned as shrines or as a focus of ceremonies. . . . Although nothing has been found in this chamber, the walls revealed traces of rough clay mortar, suggesting that it was once plastered and possibly even decorated.

Read more

Lots of stones!

About halfway between Penzance and Land’s End by bus, you’ll find this lovely stone circle in a field.

This late Stone/early Bronze Age (2500-1500BC) stone circle is renowned for both its beauty and the stories connected to it. . . . The regularity of spacing between stones and its truly circular form make the Boleigh Merry Maidens unusual in Cornwall, however restorations in the C19th (on the orders of the land owner Lord Falmouth who wanted to avoid the fate which had befallen other nearby circles and stones, namely field clearance and their use in construction) led to some stones being put back slightly skewed. There are 19 stones in all, with a gap in the eastern section which is common to almost all British stone circles. In addition to the regular spacing, the stones were also obviously carefully chosen and positioned as they gradually diminish in size from the southwest to the northeast; this waxing and waning in size believed to mirror the cycle of the moon.
Cornwall Guide

As you can see it’s early in the morning. There’s just me and nineteen stones in a perfect circle.

Read more

Orkney Day 6: Skara Brae and Skaill House

So Skara Brae is the main tourist attraction but it’s a bit hard to get to by bus. It’s on the far side of the main island and, at this time of year, there are three buses each week (Saturday, Monday morning and Thursday afternoon.) Well, six if you count the return bus. So it became the last thing I did while staying in Kirkwall.

On the way there, I took some photos from the bus because I wanted to show you how beautiful the loch was when it’s calm, and maybe some other things.


Read more

Orkney Day 3: Some really cool stuff and lots of rain

Have you ever played Geoguessr? It’s a game using Google Street View, where you’re dropped into a random location and have to work out where it is. A few years ago, I found myself looking at this place

and I turned around to find a field bordered by stone walls and thought “I need to go here.” Here turned out to be  Birsay on Orkney. It took a few years but here I am on Orkney (which is beautiful and wonderful and I love it) but getting to Birsay seemed a little less likely.

You see, Birsay is at the far east of Mainland (the big central island) and buses are like 4 hours apart, and the main people come for is the Brough. It’s a tidal island, so it can only be visited around low tide and when I checked the tides times for this week, it was about 3.30 pm on Monday and quickly getting later each day after, which meant if I was going to get there, it had to be on Monday except… Well, let’s go back to Monday morning.

The two big tourist attractions on Orkney are Skare Brae and Maeshowe, or the area around Maeshow really. When I arrived I booked a ticket to Maeshow on Monday morning, before I’d checked the tide times but on checking distances and buses, if I was careful, I could do this area and get to the only bus that would get me to Birsay on time.

So that’s Maeshowe behind the cows.

Read more

A Visit to Lots of Times All At Once

Today we’re visiting a place that calls itself one of the most important prehistoric sites in Shetland. Right there, on the first line of the guidebook. But first a little deour.

Past a cow.

To look at a croft, a small tenant farm. There are two rooms on the left, and a barn and byre on the right. Grass roof.

Read more