Orkney & Shetland 2019 - Day 12
Orkney - Rousay Island
Close to Mainland and easily seen from Kirkwall is the island of Rousay. It is accesssible by a small ro-ro ferry from the village of Tingwall, a few miles north along the coast from Kirkwall. Rousay is well known for the many Neolithic sites, mostly burial cairns but also the Mid Howe Broch. The weather forecast for Monday was promising so we decided to head for Rousay.
A day on Rousay
After breakfast at the Ayre Hotel we walked outside and were immediately hit by cold white stuff blowing everywhere - SNOW! But it only lasted a few minutes and soon the skies cleared for the rest of the day. There are no cafes or shops on Rousay so we stopped at Tesco's for food and fruit for lunch then headed north. The ferry was scheduled to leave Tingwall at 1040 but it is a small ferry and only takes 8-10 cars. We arrived in plenty of time and booked our tickets. Shortly the ferry arrived, dropped its front gangway and on we drove - backwards. The trip over to the island takes 30 minutes. We headed left to tour the island clockwise. First stop was the small Blackhammer Cairn.
Close beside the road and high above the beach lies Blackhammer Cairn. It is s small cairn with stalls for the burials. Today it has a solid concrete roof covered in earth. There is a glass panel in one side to expose the oroginal stone wall and a heavy sliding door that allows access to the cairn, but presumaby keeps local animals and birds out.
Mid Howe Cairn
On the northwest coast of Rousay lies the Midhowe Cairn and beside it the Broch. The cairn is one of the best preserved in Scotland. It is a burial site with a central corridor lined with stone "stalls". It is a large structure and today is preserved under a massive roof structure with central walkway high in the structure.
A few metres away lies the Iron-Age circular stone structure or broch. It too is well preserved but it has a massive concrete retaining wall on the seaward side to stop the broch being lost to the sea.
Last updated: 20/06/2019