Danny Yee >> Bushwalking & Travel >> Scotland + Northern England

Orkney - standing stones, Italian chapel

We stopped for quite a while at the Ring of Brodgar. This had a real sense of power and was almost spooky, even with thirty tourists wandering all over it. At the smaller Ring of Stenness we stopped just long enough to get out of the bus and take photographs.

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the ring of Brodgar
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a standing stone
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the ring of Stenness

On the way back we stopped for an hour and a half in Kirkwall. We started with a video on St Magnus in the exhibition centre. That was ok, but the archaeological museum was much more interesting. Arranged chronologically, this winds from room to room — only at the end there's no exit, so you have to retrace your footsteps! There's also a nice bookshop, where I was tempted by a history of Orkney and Camilla bought a book of Orkney folk tales.

Heading back across the Churchill barriers, we stopped at "the Italian chapel" at Lambholm, built by Italian prisoners-of-war during WWII, using whatever materials they could get their hands on. I hadn't expected this to be that exciting, but it's a genuinely lovely building and the story of how it was built is moving.

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the Italian chapel - exterior
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the Italian chapel - interior
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a rusting blockship

On the way back we took photos from the bus. The return ferry trip was a little rougher but not a problem — and we saw hundreds of seals all around us.

Orkney hadn't been in our plans at all until just two days earlier, when we saw a brochure advertising day tours for just 34 pounds. But it turned out to be one of the highlights of our time in Scotland, though the one day tour was frustratingly limited: we could happily have spent a week in Orkney.

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