Monday, September 23, 2013

Britain Day 3 - Orkney NW loop

Morning view from our room
We woke up on Orkney to a breathtaking view of the hills of Hoy.  The mist was lifting from the sea and it was going to be a picture perfect day.  When you can see the top of Hoy, it's going to be a good day.

Our first stop was to Skara Brae, something that I have wanted to see for over 10 years.  It's a neolithic settlement that was found after a storm.  The walk from the visitor center to the settlement was lovely.

Skara Brae was like it was in pictures.  I was a little disappointed that you could no longer walk through one of the homes, but preservation is important too.  Honestly, it was a little bit of a let down and I was wondering if my hopes of Orkney were too high and I wouldn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would.  I shouldn't have worried.

Onto the Skail House, whose owner was the one who discovered Skara Brae.

Our next stop was to the Ring of Brodgar.  About 39 stones are still standing, it is one of the largest rings of standing stones.  The best part is you can walk all around them and touch them.

After two lovely walks, I was getting tired but we pressed onward to the Standing Stones of Sheepness, er, Stenness.  I was enchanted that the stones were fenced in as grazing ground for sheep!  What could be better than ancient neolithic stones and fiber bearing animals?

The stones were great for the sheep too, if they had an itch.

 It was just early afternoon and we drove up and around the northeast part of the island, looking for lunch.  I had heard the Birsay Tea Room was a good place to stop.  Before that though, we checked the tide level at the Brough of Birsay and found that it was a perfect time  to start across.  You can only walk to it while the tide is out.  We packed some snacks and set across.
The walk to the Brough of Birsay
 Once on the Brough, I felt I could walk a little more and we went up the hill to the lighthouse.  I'm so glad we did so because on the other side of the lighthouse was a view of cliffs over the sea.

We sat soaking in the view with a gentle breeze and warm sun overhead.  Everywhere we turned or walked to was as lovely as a postcard.

Hunger finally drove us down and back to our car.  We arrived at the tearoom just in time to see that it closed.  A man outside said that it wasn't closed unless the owner said so, and to go in.  We were warmly welcomed and they offered to make us sandwiches.  We shared a piece of lemon drizzle cake and tea while we waited.  Everything was delicious, seasoned by hunger.

We stopped in at St. Magnus Church on our way back down to Brinkie's.

Dinner was at the Stromness Hotel, I think we had some kind of seafood dish.  We often had an appetizer and split a main meal.  And I started my quest to find real lemonade.  The lemonade that was served was a lemon flavored soda similar to Sprite or 7up. 

Orkney was full of enchanting surprises, it was better than I had imagined. Tired yet content, we turned in for the night.

To view larger pictures, click on the photos.
To view all the posts for Britain 2013, click here.

1 comment:

The Ingrams said...

your trip looks amazing!! i'm so jealous :) especially of the yarn shops. great Britain is on our list for one of these years...