Jenny and Lisa Go On An Adventure travel blog



Skara Brae

Ring of Brodgar

5 November: The day started with a quick paddle on the bottom step of our personal "pier" so we could say we had braved the North Sea! And in case you're wondering - it was COLD! In fact the whole day was just degrees of cold: wind, rain, hail, sunshine all combined with cold. Even the locals said it was cold. Intrepid tourists that we are, it didn't stop us from touring three significant archeological sites. First up was Skara Brae - a truely astounding Neolithic village which is about 5,000 years old and predates pyramids of Giza and Stonehenge. We are able to walk around and inbetween the houses and look in as the turf roofs were gone. Much of the original stone furniture was intact. Our guide took pity on us in the wind and took us down into a hollow within the village itself and shared his passion for Skara Brae. We felt both privileged and a little tingly to actually stand on the same flagstones as the original villagers. Next door is Skaill House which would normally have been closed for the season but was hosting a halloween event for children; we were able to view part of this impressive mansion house, complete with what we think were original furnishings including some beautiful needlework samplers and impressive bed hangings. The visitor's centre had a good museum and also a replica of one of the houses - we were able to go right in and experience, for a very short time, life in a stone-age house. Next stop was the Standing Stones of Stenness - just a short walk from the main bus route. We were able to go into the paddock to see them, but didn't linger due to a nasty hail shower. We walked on for about 2 kms to the Ring of Brodgar, a larger and more impressive and complete Neolithic stone circle. We were amazed at the lack of restriction for visitors - only signage asking visitors to stay on the perimeter paths. There are many neolithic sites in this area and it's thought they're all connected. On the way back to the bus we experienced everything except snow and as we were ahead of time we sheltered in the lee of a very handy stack of silage. Never has there been a more welcome sight than the orange and white bus to Stromness! Thankfully our little cottage is always warm when we come back but it took at least an hour to thaw properly. We had an early dinner and have just watched the beautiful fireworks display over the harbour and quite close to us - the local children celebrate "Bonfire Night" by carving turnips instead of pumpkins, a custom unique to Stromness. We are packed ready for the early ferry tomorrow morning and are feeling a little sad to be leaving such a beautiful place. We have reached the most northern of our travels and tomorrow Jenny starts her long journey home.

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