Orkney bleeds history. Our stones speak for themselves – be they Neolithic or otherwise. Orkney abounds with ancient monuments over 5,000 years old, and our local island of South Ronaldsay is no exception. We have had guests from all over the world who literally want to hug our stones and feel humbled by their presence. Our circular Pictish brochs are awesome in age, construction and siting. Anyone particularly interested in neolithic Orkney should visit Charles Tait’s website www.maeshowe.co.uk or Sigurd Towrie’s www.orkneyjar.com
In fact Orkney has had a strategic significance ever since humans (re-)settled here after the last Ice Age, some 10,000 years ago, and has been sought after by the new stone age tribes, bronze-age and Pictish tribes, the Vikings, and of course we contemporary British. Orcadians are justly proud of their Norse ancestry, indeed the islands were under Scandinavian rule for around 500 years, as much Norse as Scottish to date. Orkney was of critical importance in both world wars and sadly suffered tragedy in both with the sinkings of HMS Vanguard and HMS Royal Oak. We tour Scapa Flow with some reverence to its natural and man-made aspects.
We visit lots of history, it’s unavoidable in Orkney. Whatever your favourite era, from new stone age to second world war – we can show it to you sympathetically. Some islands are simply stunning from an historic perspective – Rousay isn’t called the Egypt of the North for nothing, and the Westness Walk on Rousay is Steve’s particular favourite Scottish timeline.
Over the last two decades an exciting archaeological dig has been taking place at the Ness of Brodgar in West Mainland, in the Heart of Neolithic Orkney. This site has been the subject of a TV documentary by Neil Oliver, and has contributed much to our knowledge of the Neolithic peoples and their lifestyle. If you wish to learn more, read this excellent piece done by Roff Smith for the National Geographic – for visual click here; for the feature article click here.
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