After leaving reluctantly leaving Kirkwall we drove out to do some more sight-seeing on the island before hitting the Standing Stones. Along the way we got the knack of driving down narrow, one-lane paths that allowed two-way traffic (there are lay-bys to pull off into, and everyone waves as they pass. It’s very civilized).
We found a quaint spot on the coast in Birsay overlooking a smaller island and these amazing cliffs.
Again, sheep and cows are all over the island. You could get real sick of seeing them if you’re that kind of person (hint: we’re not). We had our lunch (pb&j sandwiches and tea) sitting in Fergus with the door open to a field of wild hares running about. We saw yet more sheep. Soon enough, it was time to find the stones before it got too dark.
The Ring of Brodgar,our first stop, is a circle of standing stones older than Stonehenge. As luck would have it, there were very few people around, and we had the site mostly to ourselves. Unlike Stonehenge and Skara Brae, you are permitted to walk among the stones.
It’s no surprise, of course, that there is heather everywhere. I enjoyed the variation in hues, but had a hard time capturing it just right. I cannot wait to try and create a yarn colorway based on it.
Another thing about the heather: there is now a company making jewelry from its stems. Basically, the wood is compressed under massive pressure until it become gem-like. The company is fittingly called “HeatherGems”. And yes, I bought a necklace.
Kim is sporting the cowl I made her using JMF Marlowe. I called it “Whiskey and Water”, even though that’s not what the original pattern was called. If you want that one, it’s HERE.
I’m not really sure I could have asked for better lighting.
From The Ring of Brodgar we headed out to The Stones of Stennes. There were fewer stones here, and in a smaller circle, but they were no less impressive (even more than Stonehenge, if I daresay. )
Plus, SHEEP! There were 3 rams grazing down the grass among the stones. They weren’t interested in my attempts to befriend them, but they weren’t aggressive or unfriendly guys, either.
There were also gulls and other birds flying around and we heard some crazy sounds coming from over by the water.
Turns out we werent hearing birds. See that rock there? No you don’t!
It’s a seal! He had friends splashing around as well, but I wasn’t quick enough to catch them. Still, talk about right pace, right time!
Just a wee bit of a seal head sticking above the surface.
This was not a day we wanted to end. There was so, so much more of Orkney to see, but we were out of time. We found a caravan park on the water next to the ferry, and took a walk along the shore as the sun set. We agreed we’ll have to go back and spend at least a week just for Orkney and its surrounding isles. We also happened upon a pasture full of cows that I may or may not have spent a good while petting (if you’re US Customs, I most certainly did NOT touch them).
Watching the Hamnavoe return to port.
We waited up to see what the sky situation would look like for viewing aurora activity, but sadly there was quite a bit of cloud cover.
I will say right here that Orkney was my best day ever. Truly. I would move there in a heartbeat, snow or not. I absolutely plan to return (I mean, I still need to see the Northern Lights, or “Dancing Mirries”, and of course, puffins!) and hopefully before too long. Orkney is magic, and I sincerely hope not too many people discover it!