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Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Magical, mysterious Orkney

Orkney has a magic all of its own. The moment you leave the ferry, it feels as if you’re entering a different world, slipping back into a long-lost age. The ancient landscape still holds many undiscovered secrets. The mysterious monuments at Stenness, Brodgar and Maes Howe are among my favourites. The stone houses of Skara Brae even have ‘mod cons’ such as stone cupboards.
The islands teem with wildlife, and we never know what we’re going to see each day, whether it’s a hedgehog trundling across the grass, hares dancing in the fields, or a short-eared owl sitting on a fencepost. The people are wonderfully friendly, too.
Visiting some of the smaller islands is a ‘must’ if you have time and the budget allows it. So far we’ve been lucky enough to visit Hoy, Sanday, Rousay, Westray and Papay (Papa Westray), Wyre, and South Ronaldsay, (not all on the same holiday!) and one day we hope to see the seaweed-eating sheep on North Ronaldsay.
There’s much more information on Orkney heritage and history at Sigurd Towrie’s brilliant website.

Images © Sue and Nigel Wilkes:
Stones of Stenness, Orkney.
Knap of Howar, Papay.

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