Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Orkney '18 Thursday: to Skara Brae

For the cruise ships this is the must-do, must-see, ancient site in Orkney. 

Princess Cruises in its online brochure commend its virtues:
‘And most fascinating of all, the Orkney Islands boast the greatest concentration of prehistoric sites in all Europe, including the mysterious Ring of Brodgar and 5,000-year-old Skara Brae’

Because we knew that several big cruise ships were in Kirkwall we arrived at Skara Brae early.

It was, as ever exciting to walk around and imagine what this place had been like.

In the winter of 1850, a severe storm hit Scotland, causing widespread damage and over two hundred deaths. In the Bay of Skaill, the storm stripped the earth from a large irregular knoll known as "Skerrabra".

When the storm cleared, local villagers discovered the outline of a village, consisting of a number of small houses without roofs. No surprise there.

William Watt of Skaill, the local laird, began an amateur excavation of the site. The rest is there for us to see.

Guides talk brashly to their small private tours making extravagant superstitions. ‘Keep off’signs abound.

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Thank you very much for your comments - Tim