First off our weather has been about perfect for an area where it rains and is stormy a good part of the year. 17C and mostly clear skies. However, the winds are constant. And strong. So even on a “hot and sunny” day we wore long pants and GoreTex jackets. We are all wind burnt. Better than wet and wind burnt so I’m really not complaining.
Yesterday I mentioned that our place is right on the coast. Here is a photo I snagged this morning to show exactly how close. The wall on the left of the frame is our wall.
After a breakfast we headed out for touring. First up was Yesnaby Castle. It’s not a castle at all but a sea stack that is ridiculously tall. Must be over 100′ tall. The cruise ships now call into Stromness where the ferry lands. As we arrived there were four buses there. Except all they got to see was the beautiful coast line. It was a full 1KM walk around a point to see the actual sea stack. Beautiful walk along the coast cliffs then you are rewarded with two stacks. The first with an arch at the top and then the castle one. And on the path a farmer has used a small standing stone as a fence post. Why not?
Then it was off to why we are here. Skara Brae. Skara Brae /ˈskærə ˈbreɪ/ is a stone-built Neolithic settlement, located on the Bay of Skaill on the west coast of Mainland. It consists of eight clustered houses, and was occupied from roughly 3180 BCE–2500 BCE. Europe’s most complete Neolithic village, Skara Brae gained UNESCO World Heritage Site status as one of four sites making up “The Heart of Neolithic Orkney.”a Older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids, it has been called the “Scottish Pompeii” because of its excellent preservation. Ryan, when he did his Scotland project at school, said he wanted to see it. This is why we’re on Mainland, Orkney. I’m glad we came. I too did a project in school but had totally forgotten until he did. It was very very very worth it. So amazing how a society adapted to the local weather and thrived. And to make it more interesting the current thinking is someone was here before. But they can’t prove it without destroying what they found. The “new” stuff is on top of the older site.
Ryan practicing his Norse fighting stance.
Now it was time for some lunch. Brewhouses usually have good food and the Orkney Brewery didn’t disappoint. Ryan had said he’d try Haggis but we hadn’t found a good time. Today was the day. We all had some. Ryan did actually do it. I was thinking he may not. This one was actually pretty good. Maybe it was the spectacular beer with it???? On that note, Kris is liking beers more often. Today she had a Skullsplitter. Sounds like a strong beer but it isn’t. It is a dark ale but not a strong one. I suppose a case or two would result in a skull splitter but one wouldn’t even come close.
And now the Haggis “proof pics”. The first one is Ryan looking as if he’d like to reneg on his deal 😉
But he didn’t.
After we were all full it was off for a hike across a low tide reef over to the Broch of Birsay. A Broch is a tidal island accessed at low tide by a natural rock causeway. On the island itself is a Norse settlement built on top off a Pictish fortress. First settlement is around the 5th century and then the picts around the 7th and the Norse showed up around the 9th. After that there was a christian monastery. Busy place considering you can only get there dry at low tide. On the windward side of the island is a short but pretty lighthouse.
After that it was time for Tea. For a year since finding this tea house Kris has been saying the famous cookie name. Birsay Bay Barony Bare and Berry Biscuit. We’ve had a lot of fun adding more b words as the year has passed. Really it is a tasty cookie. But is has a great name and we need a snack. Bare is a kind of barley. Very dark flavour.
Time now to take a small break before dinner. As you can imagine our options are slightly limited. Helgi’s looked promising and Lucano’s was our other choice. Since last night was Lucano’s, Helgi’s it is. Oops, since researching and showing up Helgi’s turned into a pub for over 18’s. Lucano’s it is then. Really, we didn’t suffer. It is cheap and really good. Plus I got to taste another Orkeny Brewery beer. Named the Corncrake after the bird.