Exploring the Mainland Island
Our first full day in Orkney, we decided to do some hiking and exploring of the main island. Our first stop was a hike in the northwest corner of the big island, they refer to as “the mainland”, around the Brough of Birsay. We originally thought that this would be a mellow coastal walk from the little hamlet of Birsay, along the coast and then back through farmers’ fields to Birsay once again.
We drove across the island and parked near the little church in Birsay, called St Magnus (indeed this is the first burial site for the St Magnus of the Kirkwall Cathedral fame).
We soon came to a car park, that led to a path that literally crossed the ocean floor. On the trip, the tides were in our favour and we followed the crowd as they bravely crossed the stone and concrete path over to the island (Brough of Birsay). Originally, our walk did not include this, but we were delighted to discover it and the many things it led to.
When we got to the other side, we were surprised to find ourselves in an ancient Viking village site!
We then started to climb the shoreline path around the top of the Brough, and were amazed by the beauty and bounty of the coastline.
We continued around the Brough, constantly amazed by the vistas.
We soon left the coast and headed back along secondary roads to the little village and picked up our car. It was time to do some other exploring: this time to Neolithic sites of the Ring of Brodgar and the Standing Stones of Stennes
We then walked from the Ring of Brodgar to the Standing Stones of Stennes, about a kilometer away.
When I got back to the house that evening, I learned that these stones are only 15-25 cm deep into the ground! The Stennes stones were saved from the farmer who was tired of plowing around them, and decided to start pulling them down! He was quickly stopped!
We had had a full day of hiking and exploring. Our heads were full of sites that were 5,000 years old, and our legs were tired! Time to get home and have supper and save something for another day! Until then.
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