Broch of Gurness
Earl's Palace, Birsay
Skara Brae and Skaill House
Skaill House sits a short walk along the path from Skara Brae and was home to the laird who discovered Skara Brae in 1850. Imagine having all that history on your doorstep and never knowing it until then! The house is a mere 395 years old, but the artifacts in there were much more relatable to my brain. Even the pink bathroom.
Brough of Birsay
Ring of Brodgar
Bishop's and Earl's Palaces, Kirkwall
No pictures of this one because it looks like a little grassy hill (or Hobbit house) from the outside and was pretty dark inside. Tours of Maeshowe are arranged as pre-booked guided tours only, and I'd heard they filled up fast in the summer, so Tam and I scooted along to book one when we got off the ferry. They turned out to only be full a couple of days in advance and we managed to snag a handy noon slot. On the day we checked in at the visitor centre then headed along to the cairn, where our tour guide talked us through the history of the area. Then it was time to go in.
The tomb is accessed by a low tunnel that involves crouch-walking along until you reach the main chamber. I still have no idea how Tam got in there. Inside, the talk continued and we saw some fascinating runes scratched into the stones - leftover relics from when Vikings broke into the place in the twelfth century. I won't spoil the translations for anyone but they're pretty hilarious. Another interesting thing about Maeshowe - every year on the shortest day, the sun shines right along the entrance tunnel and into the furthest away burial chamber. They even rig up webcams these days so it can be watched around the world.
See more Orkney wandering here.
Who's visited any of these places? What's the favourites? I can't decide on mine...