We’ll make a day of Orkney

26 08 2010

As we started planning this trip, I told everyone to pick the places that if they didn’t get to go to it would be an entire wash.  I never imagined we’d be as all over the damned map as we were as a result.  We narrowed it down to the priority places and figured we would fill in what we could later.  For Alannah, it was London.  Kayla wanted Edinburgh.  Glenn wanted Inverness.  And me, Orkney.  And if it wasn’t for the fact we have to wind up in south Wales later, it wouldn’t be as rushed as I fear it will be.

But Orkney.  Of all the places I could go to UK and not miss out on, this tops the list.  More specifically Skara Brae.

Skara Brae is an intact neolithic village that was accidentally discovered on a farmer’s coastal property when a bad storm blew away some sanded dunes to reveal the village.  It is well over 5000 years old and every time I read about it or view pictures, it just ignites me further to want to see it.  There’s something so exciting about the very idea, especially knowing that the Linn family line were Orcadian – I can’t help but wonder how many centuries ago they may have been there and perhaps sat in those homes or some like them as they rocked their babies and stoked their fires without a single thought beyond making it through the night, the day, the month, the season.

This video gives a good introduction as well as kind of the purpose of what you will find within:

Also on Orkney are the stones, Ring of Brodgar and knowing that they are not gated excites me even more.  I want to arrive before the sun to the stones and experience the changing of the guard as night becomes dawn becomes day.  I cannot articulate my reasonings except to say that the mysteries of megaliths has entranced me since I was about 7 years old and this structure is second only to the Callanish for must see – but I can’t work that into my trip.

Initially the plan was to arrive by ferry from Scrabster/Thurso the night before, spend the night in Stenness and then leave by ferry back again the following afternoon.  But the ferry departs at 11 and 4:45 pm.  As we would have the car, that means we would have to be on the ferry by 10 am or 3:45 pm.  It is a ninety minute ferry ride.  The morning departure is out as Skara Brae doesn’t even open until 9:30 am.  The afternoon ferry would put us back on the mainland at 6:30 in the evening, hours away from anything.

So, after great deliberation, we have decided to catch the 11:45 pm ferry out of Kirkwall – on Orkney as well, and take it south to Aberdeen on the mainland, which would put us in Aberdeen at 7 am.  And it is 2 hours from Edinburgh.  We can rent a cabin to spend the night, get rest and food and cut out a long drive – as well as lengthening our stay on Orkney so that we can visit the Earl and Bishop’s palaces, the cairn, the beach view of the Moine Thrust and spend a great deal more time at Skara Brae.  It is so worth it – especially considering it will only cost an additional $150 (USD) extra to do it this way as opposed to going back to Scrabster.



3 responses

30 08 2010

You’ll want to purchase the ferry insurance if you do this route, as they won’t reimburse you if something goes amiss. But Northlink is a reputible company. ENjoy your trip!

27 09 2010

gonna send this to my mom

25 10 2010

you should!

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