Sunday, July 08, 2007

Orkney 2007 - Day 4

Thursday 28th June - St Margaret's Hope, Ring of Brodgar, Maeshowe and more Grim Ness

Today we started by visiting the Hoxa Tapestry Gallery on our home isle of South Ronaldsay, as this artist apparently was at art school with one of Alison's friends.  The tapestries were quite impressive in their beauty and scale.  Thankfully, there were available as much smaller prints and Sonia picked out one for us to take home.  Next we had a more detailed look at and lunch in St Margaret's Hope, the village which had been our entry to Orkney, but to which all we'd done on that first day was drive through it.

The very pleasent and well-kept St Margaret's Hope:

Nice time until moments later the lifeboat was launched:

Apparently the third largest settlement on Orkney!

After lunch it was time to clear South Ronaldsay and head out to the Ring of Brodgar, a neolithic stone circle with a diameter of over 100 metres which was of similar period to Stonehenge.  Although its function remains unclear, modern archaeological theory tells us that it was most likely an early attempt at a Wall of Death.

The moody rocks of Brodgar:

Not all the rocks were of equal splendour:

Not charging for entry just means you attract the riff-raff:

Keeping with the really-old-stuff-in-fields theme, next up was Maeshowe, a neolithic passage grave that had subsequently been discovered, looted and impressively grafittied by the Vikings.  The entrance to this tomb had been designed so that the winter solstice sunset light would symbolically shine down the entrance hall and hit the back wall.  This can now be viewed each year by a web cam found here

"This is a very old mound of earth, any questions?"

Once back at the cottage, Alison and Andrew set about making a tasty Dhal, Leach set himself to drinking a G&T in the garden, and Sonia indulged me by accompanying me to the head of Grim Ness to view the cliffs and gull colony.  Another beautiful evening reaffirmed that we were really being spoilt by this very un-Orkney like weather.

Leach helps out with dinner:

Our Sonia on the wonderful Grim Ness:

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