Sunday, 18 April 2010
Broch of Birsay
Sun shining today, but hail that hurts and it's still cold! However these photos were taken last weekend when it was sunny and *warm*! The photo above is of a whalebone along the shore at Birsay on the Orkney West Mainland (erected in about 1876?). I think it looks like an owl in flight in this photo! In the photo below though it looks more skull like and sinister. It *looks* like it is made out of wood wood but it IS whalebone, all of it even the vertical "pole". This was the first time I had seen it up close. It was removed a couple of years ago as it had become rather fragile and disintegrated. It now has a couple of bolts through it but is at last back in place along the shore where Orcas swim in the summer.
I was quite fascinated by it as it really does look like wood - here is some detail.
The photo below is of the "Brough of Birsay" (Broch pronounced a bit like "brock", not as we would say in England "bruff"!). You can get out to the island, which has a lighthouse on top, via a causeway at low tide. The island has the remains (foundations) of Pictish and Viking settlements at the lower part (managed by Historic Scotland), but you can just walk around the edge to the wonderful cliffs at the top near the lighthouse.