Of course no tour of Orkney is complete without visiting Skara Brae. TEXT Much as I love Skara Brae, I have been round many times, so often take the chance for a cup of coffee and Cake while visitors explore. So for more photos take a look here.
Nearby is the lovely old St Peter's Kirk, no longer used for services but maintained in it's original state (1836) by Scotland's Churches Trust. A huge pulpit dominates - the hood to aid the distribution of sound from the Minister, no doubt! The Sunday School room is beneath the pulpit - no noisy children in days gone past in a kirk!
The website of the Trust states "The interior is dominated by a towering pulpit reaching to gallery height, the austere interior powerfully evokes the experience of Presbyterian worship in the 19th century when over 500 packed the building - each allowed a mere 18 inches of pew."
I love these oil lamps.... they would have been needed in the dark of Orkney winters...
Then it was back to South Ronaldsay for a visit to the Tomb of the Eagles (so named as sea eagle talons were found in the tomb), also one of my favourite places! Much as I love Skara Brae, I much prefer the informality at the Tomb of the Eagles. The family run the interpretation centre, and have lived on the land for hundreds of years. They consider the inhabitants of the tomb to be their ancestors. Ronnie Simison, who found the Tomb was a great character, and sadly only died recently. He will be greatly missed. Meanwhile his family continue his legacy, with his daughter showing us the various exhibits. It's a rare pleasure to be able to hold the tools used thousands of years ago.
And the only way into the tomb is either to crawl or use pull yourself through on the "granny skateboard" (modelled here by a granny - tee hee, she'll kill me if she sees this!!).
The landscape around is bare and it's easy to imagine Sea Eagles wheeling around....
There is a lovely standing stone erected in memory of Ronnie Simison and his wife Morgan.
Then back to Stromness and towards Warbeth which overlooks the Hoy Hills and Graemsay.