MAESHOWE, SKARA BRAE, NESS OF BRODGAR.

Monday, July 2.

Marshowe is the finest chambered tomb in Europe. It was built 5,000 years ago. With some of the stones measuring 7 metres x 1.2 metres x 300 mm thick and weighing over 7 tonnes, the nearest stones of this type being 4 miles away, building the tomb was a feat.

Howe is Norse for hill. The tomb has a direct relationship with other archeological finds in the area.

The nearby Barnhouse Stone in particular, casts a shadow and then reflects the suns rays directly into the entrance of the tomb at the winter solstice. The stone, 4metres high, is the black mark near the buildings about 1 mile away. How did they do that?

The mound is 35 metres across and 9 metres high.

Inside the tomb.

There is evidence inside the tomb that it was raided by the Norse, as they left runic graffiti on the stone walls.

A 3 metre deep ditch runs around the outside of the tomb. This is unusual for tombs of this type and points to other uses prior to the construction of the tomb.

Off to the next site at Skara Brae, the best preserved Neolithic village in Northern Europe, and its remains allowed us an extraordinary insight into life as it was lived here 4,500 years ago.

What makes Skara Brae so special is the presence of furniture in the houses. Because it was made of stone, the furniture has survived.

The following show a recreation of house 7.

Toilet included. A slab in the floor is lifted to allow the waste to flow away in connected drains running under the houses to a central pit.

Shelving was placed opposite the entrance so visitors could see how wealthy the occupants were, although all the houses were exactly the same.

Beds located on either side of the central fire pit.

Storage cupboards set into the walls.

Entrances were low for protection and to keep out the cold.

One of the suggestions as to how the roof was constructed.

Now the walk to the actual houses, which from the photos is stepping back in time. A novel idea.

Shots of the original houses.

They also knew about location, location 4,500 years ago.

Headed up to the house of the fellow who found the houses.

Su sitting in an Orkney chair

He loved books.

Beautiful back on this chair.

This way Gaz.

The lady of the house loved needlework.

Queen Elizabeth visited.

Lady of the houses bedroom.

Masters bedroom.

Model of St Magnus Cathedral, built by one of the apprentice masons.

Carved sandstone disc.

Not everyone has a Military Cross.

Interesting vehicle outside.

One more stop before we catch the 4.45 ferry back to Scotland. Off to look at the excavations, which occur every year, at the Ness of Brodgar, which is due to restart on Wednesday, but today they are removing the protective covers from the site.

Passed this guy on the walk to the site.

Off to Stromness, to catch the ferry. Arrived a bit early so took a wander around Stromness. Lots of old buildings and winding streets.

Notice the bottoms of both buildings.

Must have taken a wrong turn somewhere.

Great show of flowers.

We’re on the ship now and leaving.

Great views of the west coast on the way back.

Bess in the bottom of the ship.Arriving back at Scrabster in Scotland.

That’s our ship.

Views out of the front window of Bess at the camp ground.

Early night, another long day on the road tomorrow.

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