Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Orkney!

We arrived on Orkney late on the Sunday night and went to our B&B- The Bellavista, just outside Kirkwall. It was lovely and they were so welcoming. Having wireless was so good as well as it meant I could send my reports from the Healthy Living Campaign for the last week through to our boss. Who says Orkney is remote!!

After working on the Monday we had 2 days off before the ferry returned so Corinne and I agreed that we should do some sightseeing! I love going to Museums and places of interest. I think Corinne got to a point where she had had her fill but I could have stayed there for weeks!
For any visitor to Orkney, a visit to Skara Brae is essential. It is an incredibly well preserved stone village containing an intricate maze of dwellings, with stone beds, lintels and cupboards are all intact, and dates back some 5,000 years. The site was revealed in 1850 by a violent storm and is now one of the most famous Neolithic sites in Northern Europe.

It was AMAZING to look at the houses and furniture of a family from 5,000... quite amazing and a spectacular view.
Corinne and I at Skara Brae in the cold wind. They were painting the floors in the exhibition and film hall so we could only see the site itself.
The houses would have had roofs at one time but they have decomposed over the years.
A house with the orignial shelves and beds (to the left and right of the picture!)
Me with Skara Brae in the background. The beach used to be farm land that the community here would have cultivated.
A Barbara Hepworth Sculpture

My Mum and Dad's friend Neil Gillespie's firm Reaich and Hall recently won an award for their new extension of the Pier Arts Centre.

Now I don't know what was happening on Orkney when we were there- I guess it was the low season so they were getting work done but they too were painting their floors!! So we could only see the old part with the permanaent exhibition donated by Margaret Gardiner.

It is a beautiful building and has a great feel to it. I really loved the Art History library. I would like one of these in my house!!


That night and on Wednesday night before we got the ferry back we went to a great Restaurant/ Bar called Helgi's it was really cosy and modern and served great food!

On Wednesday morning Corinne and I had to check out by 10 so we then went up to the Standing Stones called the Ring o' Brodgar.

Because the interior of the Ring o' Brodgar has never been fully excavated, or scientifically dated, the monument's actual age remains uncertain. However, it is generally assumed to have been erected between 2500 BC and 2000 BC, and was, therefore, the last of the great Neolithic monuments built on the Ness.

It was quite eerie and breathtaking at the same time. They stand in a circle and the textures and colours on each individual stone is different. The guide at Skara Brae informed us that scientists now believe that each stone comes from a different area. Some of them go so far into the ground it is baffiling to imagine how without modern machinery they got them in the ground.

This stone was hit by lightning in 1950 and caused it to split into two!
In the afternoon after a tasty lunch at our favourite wee cafe-Trenables, we visited St. Magnus Cathedral - Founded in 1137 by Norse Earl Rognvald Kolson in memory of his uncle Saint Magnus. The Cathedral contains their remains, marvellous medieval grave markers and noted stained glass. The Cathedral is still a place of worship. It was stunning especially as the sun shone throught the stain glass windows. It was a little weird that people's remains were in the walls but still a lovely place to visit!





We then visited the Orkney Museum- Tankerness House Museum and gardens is one of Scotland’s finest town houses, it contains a vivid introduction to Orkney's rich archaeology. Corinne was losing interest at this point- I think I dragged her to too many tourist attractions!!
Corinne stayed in the car and I popped into Highland Park Distillery - It is a 200 year old distillery with working floor maltings and peat kilns. Nathan loves his whiskey and bourboun as does my Dad so I may have bought a few wee things (maybe!)
Scapa Flow is one of Britain's most historic stretches of water - located within the Orkney Islands, off the northeast coast of Scotland. It's sheltered waters have been used by ships since prehistory and it has played an important role in travel, trade and conflict throughout the centuries - especially during both World Wars. There are the wrecks of German ships on the seabed that scuba divers often go out to look at.
Our ferry arrived back in Aberdeen at 7am. It was a little surreal as we had got on at Orkney at 11.45pm and went down to our cabin to sleep for the night only to wake up at the mainland again. We were sad to say goodbye to Orkney especially as we knew we wouldn't be back anytime soon! Fond memories though!

1 comment:

Heidi said...

Ahhhh - I love every photo - so enchanting and beautiful. I also loved the photo of your lunch, I loved the tea-pot, that amazing lunch you had...loved it all!!