Click on pictures to see them enlarged in a photo stream. Comments: word verification on to allow anyone to comment but try and deter excessive amounts of spam! I LOVE getting comments!

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.


  1. Love the whalebone monument!!

  2. Hi,
    I just love the pics on your blog.
    You are a great photographer.
    Good day.

  3. Mary Z - it is a lovely monument and great to see close up too.

    All that I am - welcome! Glad you like the photos. Actually the islands are so photogenic it's difficult to take a bad photo!! I do love sharing the scenery with everyone though.

  4. Great photos, Sian! Love the whalebone. I'm glad they managed to put it back up.

  5. The Brough of Birsay is one our favourite spots Sian. Your photographs are lovely but the story you tell in your blogs make them even better :-) We've never managed to get across to the island though we plan to at some stage. We just love sitting and watching the waves and the birds as they swoop low past us.

  6. I remember the Broch of Birsay quite well - we visited it at 6 am on our last day in Orkney a couple of years ago! The tides were not in our favor that week! It was atmospheric and a little bit mysterious. But no whalebone monument. We plan to return this summer.

    Louise & Jeff
    Seattle, WA, USA

  7. Pat - yes it was odd not having the Whalebone in it's usual place.

    Learner Gardener - I love walking along the coastal paths at the Brough of Birsay - and finishing off with a wee something from the "Teas and Tabnabs" van!

    Louise - let's hope the tides are in your favour this year!