Orkney & Shetland 2019 - Day 10

Orkney - Tomb of the Eagles


The day started cold and overcast with patches of showers. After a good breakfast we headed south, crossed the 4th Churchill Barrier onto South Ronaldsay and headed towards the port of Burwick on the south coast, now an abandoned ferry terminal. On the way we stopped at Windwick Bay to look for birds. Then we drove to the Tomb of the Eagles, just as the next squall of freezing rain arrived. After the Tomb, we explored the town of St Margaret Hope and Uppertown and Lowertown. As the weather had not improved (i.e. warmed up a bit) we returned to the hotel.

The road to Burwick

Looking across to Burray where the Sands Hotel is located.
The War Memorial of St Margaret Hope, alongside the A961
Some of the names on the memorial. Note the 2 in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force
House beside the road.
The road running south.

Windwick Bay

Windwick lies on the eastern side of South Ronaldsay. It is a small sandy bay with high rocky headlands. There is a walking path around the headl;ands that forms part of the Coastal Walk. A short walk to the north was enough in the biting wind...

Looking across the bay to the south headland.
The north headland.
One of a few nesting birds.
Sea stack.
Our car in the small car park.

Tomb of the Eagles

Near the southeast corner of South Ronaldsay are several archaeological sites. The two most visited are the Tomb of the Eagles and the Banks Chambered Tomb. Both are privately owned and operated with personalised talks and tours. The Banks Tomb site also has a good cafe, the Skerries Bistro. We had planned to visit both, and to have lunch at the bistro, but unfortunately for us (and them), the Banks site and Bistro are closed on Saturdays (which seems a bit odd...)

We arrived at the Eagles site just as more freezing rain arrived, so the small visitor's centre was welcome. Here we received an informative talk from local guides, including the daughter of the farmer who found the tomb. After the talk, and after the rain had passed, we headed out across the fields to the "burnt mound" site and then the Tomb. The burnt mound is a oile of burnt rocks and charcoal beside a small stone building. The purpose of the site is unknown, but clearly the stones were heated in a fire. Either the fire of dropping them into water caused them to break. We continued to the Tomb site, braving the near-freezing wind.

Welcome signs, but only if you are driving north from the old ferry terminal...
Directions for walkers
THe Bronze Age black mound site
Still don't know what it was used for.
the coastal cliffs.
Approaching the burial tomb
The low door
Inside the tomb
Our car in the small car park.
Looking out to the light
More visitors braving the freezing wind.
A nearby farm. What would archaeologicsts make of this in a thousand year's time?
The altrnative ferry to Orkney.

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Last updated: 17/06/2019