“Kirkwall has excellent shops, one of the finest cathedrals in Britain, a delightful situation, and is a quite comfortable and pleasant place for a halt.” – George Bernard Shaw
Having suffered on the choppy crossing to Stromness, most of my day was experienced through shaky sea legs! However, Orkney has lots to offer and I was determined to make the most of my 12 hours or so on the mainland of the island.
So a few pictures and a quick rundown of where I visited:
- Maeshowe – An incredible chambered cairn (burial site) that is older than the pyramid of Giza and was graffitied on by Vikings! Pictures aren’t allowed in here, but the guided tour is fascinating.
- Skara Brae and Skaill House – Wow! See how people lived and explore the amazing ruins of a 4-5,000-year-old community. Then look around the family house of the people who made the discovery. This is has been a bucket list site for a while and it was great to visit and see for myself.
- Ring of Brodger – As well as sounding like something from Lord of the Rings, this site boasts a stone circle and henge and has some incredible views across the surrounding lochs.
- Standing Stones of Stenness – 1.2km away from the Ring of Brodger and 1.2m from Maeshowe, these huge Neolithic stones dominate the landscape.
Great photo opportunities.
- The Italian Chapel – A simple and yet beautifully built chapel made by Italian prisoners of the war. The interior is ornately painted and stands as an incredible testament to devotion and faith.
- Bishop’s and Earl’s Palaces, Kirkwall – Bishop’s Palace is Kirkwall’s oldest surviving domestic building, and the Earl’s Palace, its Renaissance neighbour has incredible insight into life on the islands.
- St Magnus Cathedral – built over 300 years the most northerly cathedral is a stunning building and active place of worship. The interior too boasts stunning stained glass and magnificent red-stoned pillars.