Travel and Wellness

Orkney Scotland Monuments Tour – Skara Brae, Ring of Brodgar

One of many prime issues to discover in all of Scotland is the Coronary heart of Neolithic Orkney monuments.  These embrace the World Heritage Websites: Skara Brae settlement, Ring of Brodgar, Stones of Stenness & Maeshowe.  All monuments predate the Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge.  Plus, they’re close to one another, so it’s handy to take pleasure in an intensive day tour close to Kirkwall.  Learn on to find out about plan and revel in an Orkney Scotland monuments tour.

As a Spa Acupuncturist on a cruise ship, I liked my day in mainland Orkney.  Along with some buddies, I caught a taxi from Kirkwall and explored Skara Brae, Ring of Brodgar and Stones of Stenness in simply 4 hours.  Plus, I even discovered time for Kirkwall and noticed the attractive St. Magnus Cathedral.

About Neolithic Orkney

Stones of Stenness

Orkney is an archipelago with about 70 islands off the northeastern coast of Scotland.  Sixteen of the islands are inhabited.  Mainland Orkney is the biggest island with the capital metropolis, Kirkwall.   Orkney was part of Norway till the 15th century.  Right now, Orcadians comprise largely of crofters (small farmers), fisherfolk, artists and people within the trades.

General, 36 historic websites reside within the Orkney Islands.  The principle points of interest embrace the Coronary heart of Neolithic Orkney monuments: Skara Brae, Ring of Brodgar, Stones of Stenness & Maeshowe.  Skara Brae is probably the most well-preserved prehistoric settlement in northern Europe.  Indiana Jones even lectured on it in one in all his motion pictures, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Cranium (2008).

Throughout summer season months, Skara Brae and Maeshowe require on-line pre-bookings.  Additionally, it’s finest to have transportation lined up for tour earlier than arriving.  Orkney is a small island with restricted taxis and excursions.

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My Orkney Scotland Monuments Tour at Stones of Stenness, Ring of Brodgar & Skara Brae


I arrived by cruise ship with intent to see the Orkney Neolithic monuments.  After a young switch, I arrived in Kirkwall port at 11 am with 5 hours to see the websites.   I discovered the closest taxi stand and waited.  Quickly, I met different cruise ship passengers to hitch for a tour.  Nevertheless, we waited for about 45 minutes, and we lucked out.  As a reminder, don’t do what I did.  Preplan your excursions and web site bookings earlier than you arrive on Orkney.

Our taxi driver was very nice, educated and useful.  We set off with plans to see with free admission the Stones of Stenness and Ring of Brodgar.  Subsequent, despite the fact that we had no on-line bookings for Skara Brae, we deliberate to ask in particular person for admissions.  Nevertheless, the Maeshow burial chamber was not even an choice, because it’s booked weeks prematurely.

Exploring Stones of Stenness and Ring of Brodgar

4 Standing Stones of Stenness

The 2 stone circles, Stones of Stenness and Ring of Brodgar stand close to one another inside strolling distance on a beautiful nature reserve.  Additionally, the Maeshowe burial chamber lies close by.  All three monuments present that Orkney was an space of ceremonial significance.  It takes about one hour to stroll the circuit between the two with attractive surroundings on a land bridge between Stenness Loch and Harray Loch.  Each websites provide parking tons in case your time or mobility is proscribed.

Each stone circles date again from Neolithic instances to early Bronze Age. The Stones of Stenness comprise of 4 remaining stones, out of the unique twelve.  Guests can stand up shut and truly contact these stones. The Ring of Brodgar could have displayed as much as 60 standing stones.  Right now, there are 36, with 21 Orkney sandstones nonetheless standing in a circle.   A strolling path goes across the 21 stones for guests.

Ring of Brodgar

These henge monuments are a British phenomenon, much like the well-known Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England.

The Ring of Brodgar lies in a pure amphitheater between inexperienced hills and the 2 lochs, Stenness and Harray.  The stones are embedded surprisingly shallow within the floor.  The two excavated had been simply 18 and 27 cm deep.  Brodgar comes from the Previous Norse time period which means ‘farm at the bridge.’

Skara Brae Village Tour

Skara Brae

Additional on we drove to Orkney’s most well-known archeological web site.  At nearly 5,000 years previous, Skara Brae is likely one of the most preserved settlements in northern Europe.  Mendacity on the coast of the Bay of Skaill, it faces the prevailing winds.  Curiously, Skara Brae remained buried beneath sand dunes till found after a storm in 1850.

We arrived with no pre-booking and humbly inquired about admission in particular person.  It’s usually required in summer season months to have an internet pre-booking right here.  Nevertheless, we lucked out, that it wasn’t overbooked at our arrival. So, fortunately, they allow us to ebook and enter with no wait.

On the entrance, it’s finest to begin the tour on the customer centre.  It gives a brief movie and displays describing the life at Skara Brae.  Then, I like to recommend seeing the duplicate home outdoors the customer centre.  As the most effective home replicas on web site, guests enter and see inside.  Subsequent, the trail goes towards the bay for a couple of 5 to 10-minute stroll to the settlement.

Skara Brae – The Workshop

When you arrive on the gated cluster of eight houses linked by passages, guests keep on the trail and comply with clockwise.   A novel factor about this settlement is that the furnishings nonetheless stays within the houses.  This helps deliver to life the traditional neighborhood in an genuine manner.  One other distinctive factor about Skara Brae is the lined, subterranean stone passages. These helped shield the folks from the climate. On the western fringe of the village is The Workshop, the place stone instruments had been created from flint and chert.

Skaill Bay Flora and Fauna
Orkney Scotland Monuments Tour

Skaill Bay

The wildlife at Skaill Bay contains frequent or gray seals and shore-feeding birds, similar to, redshanks and oystercatchers.  Between the sand and land is bedrock revealing plant fossils throughout low tide.  Past the shoreline are coastal grasslands.  They grown tufted vetch and hen’s foot trefoil.  The yellow flowers of hen’s foot trefoil develop all through the island.

Skaill Home

Skaill Home at Skara Brae

The ultimate cease on the web site contrasts the traditional village with the more moderen manor constructed by a bishop in 1620.  Later, it was the house of the landowner that found Skara Brae in 1850.  Now, it’s a museum overlooking the Bay of Skaill and Skara Brae village.

St. Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall

St. Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall

Lastly, our taxi driver dropped us off on the St. Magnus Cathedralprobably the most iconic landmark in Kirkwall.  Designed in Romanesque structure, it’s made out of yellow and crimson sandstone.  Initially, the Vikings based it in honor of St. Magnus, martyred in Orkney.  Right now, it’s a Presbyterian church of Scotland.  Additionally, a cemetery with historic graves lay on the grounds near the church.  It’s open for guests and personal prayer.

Different issues to see on the town embrace The Orkney Museum, The Earl’s Palace, Highland Park Distillery, The Orkney Distillery and Scapa Stream.

Get pleasure from Orkney Islands!

There may be a lot to see and do right here for everybody!  The pure magnificence and historic landmarks make Orkney Islands an unbelievable vacation spot.  And the locals are so pleasant and sort!  What extra are you able to ask for a superb trip.  Please remark under to let me know if in case you have further recommendations on most take pleasure in this distinctive vacation spot.

Learn Extra!

The Charming Lerwick, Shetland Islands: A Scenic Walking Tour
Scottish Highlands’ Lochness, Castles and Gardens Tour

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