Ferry to Orkney Islands, Skara Brae & Skail House, Yesnaby, Stones of Stenness & Ring of Brodgar

Kirkwall Travel Blog

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Holborn Lighthouse as seen from the departing ferrry

WEDNESDAY: DAY 27:  We skipped breakfast ( at the hotel) only this time it was because we got up TOO early, 6:30am if you can believe that. The reason being we had to catch the NORTHLINK FERRY to the ORKNEY ISLANDS. We drove to catch the ferry in SCRABSTER because it was the shortest being 90 minutes and we could take our rental car on it. There were a few lanes & you were told what lane to get in. Then we drove on & the cars were left at the bottom & no one was allowed to stay in the vehicles. They had chocolate caramel shortbread (yes sometimes I do have chocolate for breakfast lol) & of course good tea on the ferry. The ferry was a desent size with a bar & gift shop. We waited to go outside since it was very chilly.

Old Man of Hoy
But surprisingly NO rain. When we did go out, the OLD MAN OF HOY was visible which is a rock stack separated from the cliffs of the island HOY and is the tallest sea stack in Britian at 450 feet high. Lighthouses could also be seen on Hoy and Orkney when we were approaching STROMNESS. The ORKNEY ISLANDS  are made up of approximately 70 islands with only 16 being inhabited and has a coastline of about 570 miles. Most of the population lives on the "Mainland" in the towns of Kirkwall (where we were staying) & Stromness.

Once we got off the ferry we drove west to SKARA BRAE which is known as "the best preserved Neolithic village in Europe" and was uncovered in 1850 by a huge storm.

Fog lifting from the island of Hoy
It is stone built and has 8 dwellings and is believed to be occupied from 3100 BC for 600 years. The furnishings were also stone built. This was such an amazing site and a large area! I took many pictures this day! We toured the visitor centre first, then went outside where a life-size recreation of one of the houses was.  We went thru it & then walked a path that led to SKAIL BAY & a stone timeline that then ended at SKARA BRAE.  Tourists were not allowed in the houses themselves but there were paths along each house where you looked down upon them. One house had a protective cover over it & the rest of them were roofless. We then took a path that went to SKAIL HOUSE, a large mansion whose laird discovered Skara Brae after the storm.
Approaching the mainland of Orkney Island
The house dates back to 1615 although what we saw dated back to the 1950's. We got the joint ticket so we could see both places.

We drove to find YESNABY that had spectacular cliffs & a rocky  coastline. The scenery here was just awesome! We climbed on the rocks & walked the cliff path. The weather was windy but relatively warm. There was only a handful of people here. The STONES OF STENNESS  which are the remains of a stone circle were next on our tour. There was once 12 stones & they were put here between 3000BC and 2500BC.  There are only 4 stones left standing with the tallest one at 19 feet high. We were the only people here & it was mid-day. The books say the ideal time to visit is sunrise or sunset with the stones against the sky.

Town of Stromness from the ferry

We drove what seem like on the same road or at least not far to find the RING OF BRODGAR, another stone circle which was also a spectacular site. It has a circular layout surrounded by a ditch. It is one of the largest stone circles in the British Isles and dates to the Neolithic period: 2500BC and 2000BC. There is only 36 of the 60 original stones left standing. One was split by lightning in 1980 & there was a marker beside it. The heather was in bloom here so the stones with the purple heather made for some pretty pictures.

After our touring, it was time to check into our B&B for 2 nights at BELLA VISTA in Kirkwall & we got a twin room. We were next to the water & it was a lovely place. I liked the Mango & Jojoba bathgel. lol We ate at BUSTER'S which was like an American restaurant with different pictures of the US on the walls. They also had Mexican food & we had enchiladas & garlic cheese bread which were delicious! We went back to the B&B & stayed in for the night & it did not get dark until 10:30pm! I also had a strange nightmare that night about someone following us back to the B&B & stuck their arm in our bedroom window to grab a hold of us! It was really spooky & I even made a strange noise in my sleep! It woke Suzi up & she thought something was wrong! It must have been the enchiladas! lol

X_Drive says:
Can you believe I was researching this very area yesterday! Thanks for writing about it and taking such great pictures. :)
Posted on: Oct 28, 2006
Aditu says:
I have never been so sea sick in my life, so much so I lost my Hello Kitty hat lol and it wasn't even that rough, haha.
Posted on: Oct 27, 2006
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Holborn Lighthouse as seen from th…
Holborn Lighthouse as seen from t…
Old Man of Hoy
Old Man of Hoy
Fog lifting from the island of Hoy
Fog lifting from the island of Hoy
Approaching the mainland of Orkney…
Approaching the mainland of Orkne…
Town of Stromness from the ferry
Town of Stromness from the ferry
Very short lighthouse
Very short lighthouse
Cantick Head Lighthouse built in 1…
Cantick Head Lighthouse built in …
Skara Brae on Orkney Island
Skara Brae on Orkney Island
Skara Brae
Skara Brae
House with the protective cover. T…
House with the protective cover. …
Inside a dwelling. All of the furn…
Inside a dwelling. All of the fur…
More of the same dwelling
More of the same dwelling
The passageways can be seen outsid…
The passageways can be seen outsi…
Skail Bay
Skail Bay
Skail House
Skail House
Yesnaby
Yesnaby
Yesnaby
Yesnaby
It was very windy at Yesnaby!
It was very windy at Yesnaby!
Coastline of Yesnaby
Coastline of Yesnaby
Yesnaby
Yesnaby
More Yesnaby coastline
More Yesnaby coastline
Stones of Stenness
Stones of Stenness
Stones of Stenness
Stones of Stenness
One of the few stones left at Sten…
One of the few stones left at Ste…
Ring of Brogar entrance
Ring of Brogar entrance
Ring of Brogar
Ring of Brogar
I love how the purple heather look…
I love how the purple heather loo…
The stone that was split by lightn…
The stone that was split by light…
Ring of Brogar
Ring of Brogar
Ring of Brogar
Ring of Brogar
Mound near the Ring of Brogar
Mound near the Ring of Brogar
The complete Ring of Brogar
The complete Ring of Brogar
Our room at Bellavista
Our room at Bellavista
Bellavista
Bellavista
Kirkwall
photo by: ariosa