Scotland: Orkneys – Magical Islands of the North II
Near the village is Yesnaby, perhaps the most popular cliffs we just had to visit. A look from above on wild waves made took one’s breath. After we explored the surroundings we headed to mysterious stones.
While on a road we encountered two impressive edifice called henge, this name is commonly used for stone circles with a moat and a bank. First we stopped at the Ring of Brodgar, the third largest with its 104 meters in diameter. Less than a half preserved until today from original 60 stones. Still, they are in a regular circle and are really magical. Less preserved are menhirs at Stenness. The highest are 6 meters high, the double of the Brodgar’s. The estimated date of origin is 3100 B.C. and thus it is one of the oldest in Great Britain.
Another interesting feature is its ground plan. Usually, it is almost a perfect circle, in Stenness the stones were erected in a shape of eclipse. All monoliths rise lot of questions. How it was possible 5 thousand years ago for some one to erect such narrow and high stones in a exact shape, stones which are from different locations… And how it is possible they still stand until the present? Despite many years of attempts to explain it, it still remains a mystery. But as we had learned in few days, stone circles are not the only landmarks on the islands which are so mindboggling.
On our journey to treasures of northern island took as to the northwestern edge of Mainland. There is an island of mere 21 hectares. Interesting fact is that this island is accessible only during low tide via concrete road 300 meters long. For hundreds of years the island is deserted. But it was different during the course of history; since the fifth century there was a Pict stronghold and many traces remained resembling their culture. However, we had not enough time to explore it, nobody guards the entrance and it was on one’s own risk to go there. So nobody can guarantee you when tide would come and block your way back. An idea of a night on a deserted island was unthinkable, thus we rather left the island as soon as we could ...
Text/photo: Lucie Mařasová
When one is in Scotland he/she should’t miss Edinburgh, its capital. This city located near the sea is worth at least several day stay. Still, you should bear on mind that you wouldn’t see everything.
In the morning, we set out to beautiful Highlands situated in the northwest. On our way, we pass snow-caped mountains veiled in morning mist. This tempts us to stop and take a beautiful picture. This time we are heading to a place to what we are looking forward the most to – Skye island. A road bloc complicates our travels. It absolutely confuses our GPS which frighten us a bit. We are running of fuel while gaining kilometers and there are not many gas stations around. Eventually, everything works out well and we continue in our journey.
On this day we set off to central Scotland, to Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. Loch Lomond is the largest Scotish lake with the area of 71 square kilometers, the maximal depth of the lake is192 meters. There are over 30 small islands and we strive for visiting one of them.
Autumn is an unusual time of the year to travel. For a long time, we were thinking if to even set out despite less dayilight time, winter, often rains yet Scotland captured us with its beauty and we would eventually buy our flight tickets. There is a regular connection between Prague and Edinburgh. Glasgow is about an hour of car ride from Edinburgh. Yet first we would travel bit further to the west and make a trek in the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park.
Today, we visit one of the four countries creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is Scotland which is situated in the north of the island. The Atlantic Ocean creates its boundaries on the north and the North Sea in the east.
After a short introduction to Glasgow in the last part of our series, today we move on to its streets to explore the most famous sights and places.
The Scottish referendum is popular topic in world media. Even if the Scots decided not to get out of three hundred year long relationship with England. It is almost certain that London would loosen its tight to Scotland. It is a question how would Scotland do as an independent country and how its would fare on international level.
Today, we get to the last part of the series of articles on rough yet magical Scotland.
Fortunately, in south part of Lewis there are hills that flawlessly continue to Harris. Islanders also need wood so they planted there a small forest. Now I lay in a warm sleeping bag, in a tent attached to three trees, I listen to an ugly sound of drops constantly hiting my tent. Well, I have to get up eventually. After all I come here to learn about the islands, not to lay all day long.
I have almost no water, no battery in my cell left, thus I travel to Mallaig, a port town from where ferries heading to Skye, Rum, Uist and other, smaller, islands depart. Right next to the port, there is a small train station. Its loading platform has not been used for a long time, obviously. It has two platforms.
Again, I woke up cold. This time it was not on the Orkneys. It was about half the way between Inverness and Perth, close to A9 road. Islands on the north, I had left 19 hours ago. Strong wind is blowing outside. Fortunately, it does not rain.
Cold and raindrops hitting a side of my tent wake me up. It would be better if there was no thermometer for knowing that it is just 1 degree above zero is not very encouraging. Fortunately, the wind got better. I quickly pack my tent hoping that my hands will not freeze.
After a half-an-hour ride I get off in Aberdour, a fishermen town in the Forth Bay. I have no idea where to go so I just follow arrows of the Fife Coastal Path. The reason is perhaps that it goes along the railway (and thus along the coastline as well).
Already in the summer of 2011, I was in Scotland for a few days visit. But this time it was different. And maybe even a little crazy. At this time I was a fresh adult student, only with a flight ticket to home, about three hundred pounds in his pocket and an overnight stay for the first night.
The last part of our visit of the islands we spent on Mainland and neighboring island on the south. These islands are interconnected with the so-called Churchill barriers.
We continued along the coastline to east and we were amazed with a beautiful road without holes and patches. There are just three main roads on Mainland, however, unlike ours they were in splendid condition.
My visit to Scotland was coming to an end, but I still had about 2,000 kilometers to go home. But Scotland is beautiful, so why hurry? So I stopped at several places on the Isle of Skye and gradually reached the highest mountain of Ben Nevis.
So what next you should miss when in Edinburg? For example Royal Yacht Britannia that traveled astonishing 1 million naval miles in its existence, it is as if the yacht traveled around the world for 40 times. In 1997 it was put out of service and today it is opened to the public.
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.
What comes across your mind when you hear Scotland? Most people like Scottish whiskey, kilt, Loch...