Another dawn found us waking to a grey overcast Orkney sky. As the ship berthed, announcements were made for a landing to discover Orkney’s wonderful ancient treasures. We set off into the stunning landscape of rolling hills, green fields, and seemingly endless coastlines. Our guides set the scene with local history before we turned down a narrow road to the Stones of Stenness and the famous Ring of Brodgar. These ancient giants were erected by Neolithic people living 4,000 years ago. At one time, there might have been 60 of these stones. Despite the rain and wind, our intrepid adventurers continued walking around these wonderful stones, pondering the enormous effort it must have taken to erect them.

Our journey continued to the coast and the amazing prehistoric site of Skara Brae. Uncovered by a storm in 1850, Skara Brae gives a remarkable picture of life 5,000 years ago, before Stonehenge was built. These fascinating buildings truly give a glimpse of life in the past as if trapped in a timeframe under the sand for thousands of years. The fascinating interiors revealed a higher than standard lifestyle, including stone beds, dressers, and seats.

Some of us opted to go on a bird watching trip along the coastline of mainland Orkney. We were delighted with sights and sounds of birds such as turnstone, lapwing, oystercatcher, redshank, and some shoveler, pochard, and a beautiful glimpse of a hen harrier.

Writer: Seamus Macletchie