Travelled: 98 kilometres from Stromness to Kirkwall both on the Orkneys.
Visited: Standing Stones of Stenness, Ring of Brodgar, Skara Brae, Skaill House, Birsey and Maeshowe.
Stayed: Kirkwall free parking on the waterfront, N58.98589, W02.96888
Budget: 24 days @ €89 per day
After a great couple of days, we say goodbye to Jo and Ian after breakfast and go our seperate ways. They have a ferry booking for the mainland tomorrow and we will go the day after, but I am sure we will catch up again. We have a big day of touring the northern mainland today, so we get a move on at 9am.
Its only a relatively short drive north and across the Loch of Stenness to our first adventure…
Back in the Hymer we continue on to Birsay in the north-west corner of Mainland Orkney. Lots to see here, there’s another Stephenson lighthouse and the Brough of Birsay on the headland, then into the village to see the Bishop’s Palace. Access is subject to the tide and luckily enough its low.
Its been a long day as we depart Birsay and head back south for Stenness. Our tour time for Maeshowe is fast approaching.
Entry to the tomb requires you to move through the long passage in a very low crouch or crawl. This opens into a large chamber about 6 metres square. There are 3 small burial chambers set into the remaining walls within. We found it all a bit underwelming really. The woman guiding our group gave an interesting talk but other than some graffiti added by the vikings almost 4000 years later, nothing. When this site was finally excavated as part of an archeological dig last century, nothing was found. Frankly watching some very overweight and immobile american tourists make their way through the passageway was a highlight.
PS: All the sites we visited today were free for us as Historic Environment Scotland members. Very worthwhile for visiting Scotland.
So we aim the Hymer for Kirkwall, the capital of the Orkneys. We saw a small free parking area on the waterfront with a few motorhomes there a couple of days ago so we head for there.