My first visit to these islands, to visit various of the Stone Age archaeological sites which are a prominent and somewhat ubiquitous feature there.
|The 'Old Man of Hoy', a spectacular sandstone stack 450 feet (137 metres) tall, off the west coast of the island of Hoy; this coast is characterised by vertiginous cliffs and on a clear day is visible from many miles away.|
|Maes Howe, Stenness, Mainland of Orkney. Reputedly the finest chambered tomb in Western Europe, built before 2,700 B.C. Raided by Vikings in the mid-12th century, it houses the largest collection of runic inscriptions to be found in any one place in the world.||Now ain't that just the thing! It was a lousy day when we visited so I thought an external shot was pointless, and an interior one nigh on impossible. You'll just have to trust me.|
|Scara Brae, Sandwick, Mainland of Orkney. This is a stone age village of ten one-roomed houses dating from about 3,000 B.C. (i.e. about 5,000 years ago) and is in a remarkable state of preservation.|
|To compensate for the lack of a picture of Maes Howe, here's another of Scara Brae, taken by me (the above picture is scanned from an aerial view on a postacard).|
|The 'Italian Chapel' on Lamb Holm, a small island between Mainland Orkney and the island of Burray. It was built by Italian Prisoners of War from a 'Nissen' Hut, during construction of the Churchill Barriers; these are a series of causeways which link Mainland Orkney to Lamb Holm, Burray and finally to South Ronaldsay to restrict access to the superb natural 'harbour' of Scapa Flow, a major base for the Royal Navy during both World Wars of the 20th century.|