Saturday, 13 September 2014

Letter from the Orkney TUESDAY: ENTERING THE TOMB

Entrance to the Tomb, Tummy Trolly not shown


We drove out of Kirkwall about 15 miles south along the ‘Churchill Barriers’ constructed during WW2, which join South Ronaldsay to Burray and in turn to the mainland of Orkney.

It became a fine day as we drove down through soft landscape and with the sea and other islands to the west, Flotta and Hoy, always in sight.

Our objective was the The Tomb of the Eagles, a Mesolithic (middle stone age) 5000 BC burial chamber discovered by a farmer in 1976 at the very edge of the island. He also discovered a Neolithic (yes, new Stone Age) site on his land and turned the whole place into a museum. Entrance £7 per person.

After three enforced lectures (included in the ticket price) one walks for a mile and a half towards the cliff tops and there is the tomb. The entrance tunnel is a ten-foot crawl or there is a trolley on which one lies on one’s stomach and pulls oneself into the main chamber (like Donald Pleasance in The Great Escape).  Interesting to walk around, someone had thoughtfully left a handful of grain on a ledge and some feathers (makes it more Eagle-like I suppose?).

I hauled myself out the incarceration and we enjoyed a sunshine walk along the cliff tops, it really was becoming warm now at four o’clock.  I picked up a useful leaflet in the visitor’s centre Stone Age Survival Skills. As I write I am contemplating the word search. ‘Sixteen: Stone Age necessities are in the word search can you find them?’


It was a lovely drive home and we will be back to discover St Margaret’s, Island’s port and the Italian chapel.