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Scotland: Orkneys – Magical Islands of the North I

Published: 5.8.2013
The Orkney Islands are located on massive cliffs north of Scottish shore. There are 70 islands and only on about 20 there is some permanent settlement.

We began our journey on the largest island Mainland. Sporadic traffic consists of ferries on two lines: Aberdeen – Kirkwall, or Scrabster – Stromness. Despite we lived with our friends in Aberdeen we chose the second line, its boarding station was 200 miles away. Reason? Due to my fear and not good weather it was better to spend 5 hours in car and only one and half hour on the sea than sail 6 hours in raging storm.

Yesnaby

When we finally boarded after a night spent on a journey direction Orkneys waves were dangerously high and data on our sail safety were red. In case of bad weather ferry company claims to postpone a ride if there is a a danger. However, our captain was an adventurer, a walk on a board was almost impossible for the ferry was swinging unpredictably. While my friends tired of a long journey fell asleep on a couch, I was thinking of scenes from Cameron’s Titanic. This is the reason why I can’t describe what I felt when the sea cooled down and we got into a niche between small island. Few minutes later, beautiful scenery emerged out of haze. Impressive cliffs of the island of Hoy looming above the sea and tops covered with snow. This was a promise of many good experiences. The ferry finally stopped at neighboring island and a picturesque town of Stromness appeared in front of us set in a diverse landscape. When we get out of the car strong northern wind greeted us. This made us postpone exploration of the town until the evening. We found quickly an accommodation in a small hostel; its owner, George, gave us many tips where to go and again he showed pleasant and friendly nature of northerners.

Hoy

With all information we needed, a Scotch whiskey to keep ourselves warm and Wieners we were ready to explore the western part of the island. Our firs top was in the most preserved Neolithic village of Skara Brae. It consists of eight houses built in 3180 to 2500 B.C., thus it is older than Brittish Stonehenge or the Pyramids of Giza . In the houses you will see stone beds, family fireplace and also well arranged storage space. Almost indestructible these houses remained for they disappeared under sand sediments. For this reason the village is called the Scottish Pompeii. It was discovered during a storm in the year 1850 and it is no wonder that Skara Brae is included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage lists, like many other landmarks around.

Skara Brae

Text/photo: Lucie Mařasová



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