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.

🙂

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Orkney Day 5: The Best Broch

The Broch of Gurness on the coast. It’s about 40 minutes walk from the nearest bus stop, so I’ve included some photos of the land around.

I think this road doesn’t see a lot of use.

The end of the headland is where i am working to. The island in the background is Rousay.

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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.

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Orkney Day 2: A Quiet Day In (really)

I declared Sunday a day of rest, and spent the morning sleeping. In the afternoon I intended to just look around at the (mostly closed) shops and maybe wander down to the wet and windy harbour. Nice quiet, easy day. Yep.


I also wanted to go back to the cathedral.

I’d read elsewhere that there was a dead earl buried in the cathedral wall, so I had a look in the cathedral’s leaflet of highlights and there was no mention of any dead earls buried in the wall but I found some other things I’d missed so I went back to look at them.


So the row of different coloured stones at the bottom there is where the dead earl is buried.

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A Tale of Rocks (not really)

This is the beach at Harodswick (Unst, Sheltand), where I was told was a good place to see seals. The seals around Tasmania/Australia are fur seals. They’re in the same family as sea lions. (They have that upright/triangular shape.) The seals up here are “true seals”. (They’re more log-shaped). And I wanted to see one!

So I sat down and waited. No seals, but a lot of rocks.

That rock out there in the middle of the water disappeared after a few seconds, then reappeared again and sat there, waving rocky bits around. Yeah, it’s not a rock.

So, I sat for a while taking photos of the rock. (I’d bought a new zoom lens for my camera. This means it can see things better than I can.) Then I thought I’d try walking down the road, closer to the beach you can see in the photos. in the hope I might get close enough to see something other than a black rock.

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Some Towns of Unst

The largest settlement is on Unst (the northernmost island of Shetland) is Baltasound. It used to be a major herring port. Then the island’s population could reach something like 10,000 people. Now the population of the is 600.

That’s Baltasound Hotel, a semi-circle of wooden cabins facing the main building. (Warm, quiet and quite comfortable cabins, they are.)

The “shopping centre”

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