I woke around 6.45 and would loved to have gone back to sleep. Instead I dragged myself out of bed and over to the laundry – hoping to get our clothes washed and dried before we left. Unfortunately that didn’t happen – after an hour in the dryer we had to leave so I tried to hang up everything around the van in the hope they would dry.
Then it time to head off onto adventure. Firstly we caught the Orkney ferry over to Orkney – it was a 40min but seemed to take forever. We thought it because it was misty and we couldn’t see anything but we found the same on the return trip.
Unfortunately it was VERY misty this morning which meant we couldn’t see very much. Most of the 70 islands which make up Orkney are used for farming so we saw lots of sheep and cattle. Our driver told us the story of how it used to be a big free range chicken (egg) farming area (for 7 years) until one day hurricane force winds took ALL chickens away!
We drove over the Churchill barricades built to keep the Naval fleet safe in Scapa Flow during WWII. Originally sunks ships were used but after a German U-boat got through Italian prisioners of war were used to build the barricades – which then became causeways between the islands. You can still see some of the ships and they can be dived upon (which we know Kevin would like).
Our first stop was a brief one in Kirkwell where we got some hot drinks to enjoy on the coach. Then it was on to Stromness where we had lunch at a pub. I chose the cheese and caramalised onion wrap which was delicious.
We then had a quick walk around the town which was very pretty.
I could have spent a lot of money in this wool/knit shop but Amy & I just chose a pair of gloves.
Then the highlight of the day – Skara Brae. We saw the short film then out in the field. It was bitterly cold and drizzly and not to pleasant outdoors at all. This meant we did walk around the site as quick as possible. My first thought was that it was much smaller than I thought. It was pretty amazing though – esp. seeing the stone furnitures – bed & storage areas.
Part of our ticket also included a visit to Skaill House – which we didn’t but it wasn’t much of anything – esp. compared to the other houses we’ve visited. I didn’t even get any photos outside as we were feeling rather sorry for ourselves. We still nearly half an hour till we had to be on the bus but was too cold to be out. We picked up a little snack which we ate in the bus.
Next stop of the Ring of Brodgar – a standing stone circle. Much bigger than Stonehenge but I didn’t think it as impressive. Christy thought it great that she could touch the stones here. Again it would probably have been nicer if the weather was better but at least it wasn’t still raining.
We also visited the standing stones of Stenness but we didn’t bother to get out of the bus at this 5 min stop. Instead we watched some swans and signets and two seals sunbaking in the distance.
It was then onto Kirkwell where we had a two hour stop. We did a bit of shopping – so many LOVELY things here. I would love to have bought some of the jewellery but I didn’t see anything I HAD to have. I did buy another pair of wrist warmers :-).
We also took the opportunity to have an early dinner. I had the Orkney Cheese salad which was just what I was feeling like. The cheese was delicious but I only made a small dint in the large amount served :-).
Our last stop for the day was the Italian Church. This was built by the prisioners of war and is just so cute. When you walk you think the walls are tiled – but no – EVERYTHING is painted!!!! It has to be seen to be believed.
On the way home the weather had cleared up so we were able to see what we’d missed this morning.
Then the bus back to the ferry and back over the seas to John O’Groats, where we arrived cold, tired but happy at 7.45pm.
Time for a cup of tea while I finish drying off our clothes then off to bed. We even had a nice sunset tonight.