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  • Day23

    Rousay - Egypt of the North

    August 27, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    With so many options on where to spend our final day on Orkney, we opted for a visit to the nearby island of Rousay. Due to its archaeological diversity and importance it's received the nickname of "Egypt of the North". With a population of 205, it's home to more than 160 archaeological sites - almost 1 per person! As we'd only decided the night before, we had no idea whether there would be space on the small car ferry for our lumbering beast, so we figured we'd just wing it and turn up at the Tingwall jetty. Before long we were making the short journey across the Eynhallow Sound, Richard having expertly backed the Citroen onto the tiny Ro-Ro ferry. After a quick orientation and a browse in the local craft shop, we started along the ring road. Several well-preserved burial cairns are found along this route. Taversoe Tuick is a rare two-storied cairn and is structurally quite complex. The level of preservation was truly impressive. Blackhammer Cairn is thought to date from around 3000 BC. The structure is a stalled cairn, with an interior divided into compartments (stalls) by pairs of upright stone slabs. It has a modern roof and is exposed to light, so algal growth was quite extensive. Further along, the Knowe of Yarso Cairn is situated on a hill overlooking the Eynhallow Sound and must have provided impressive views for mourners. It was another chambered cairn. Apparently when it was excavated in the 1930s they found, along with human bones, remains of red deer, which are longer found on Orkney.

    Lunch beckoned and luckily the Taversoe Tavern was open. With fabulous views over the Eynhallow Sound my Fisherman's Lunch (marine version of a Ploughman's Lunch) proved a fitting meal for such a location.

    Replenished, we headed off in the direction of Midhowe Broch, which we'd seen from the Broch of Gurness only the day before. We were almost starting to feel like locals!
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