Orkney Isles (Scotland) - June 2000

My first visit to these islands, to visit various of the Stone Age archaeological sites which are a prominent and somewhat ubiquitous feature there.

The 'Old Man of Hoy', a spectacular sandstone stack 450 feet (137 metres) tall, off the west coast of the island of Hoy; this coast is characterised by vertiginous cliffs and on a clear day is visible from many miles away.  
Maes Howe, Stenness, Mainland of Orkney. Reputedly the finest chambered tomb in Western Europe, built before 2,700 B.C.  Raided by Vikings in the mid-12th century, it houses the largest collection of runic inscriptions to be found in any one place in the world. Now ain't that just the thing! It was a lousy day when we visited so I thought an external shot was pointless, and an interior one nigh on impossible. You'll just have to trust me.
Scara Brae, Sandwick, Mainland of Orkney. This is a stone age village of ten one-roomed houses dating from about 3,000 B.C. (i.e. about 5,000 years ago) and is in a remarkable state of preservation.
To compensate for the lack of a picture of Maes Howe, here's another of Scara Brae, taken by me (the above picture is scanned from an aerial view on a postacard).
The 'Italian Chapel' on Lamb Holm, a small island between Mainland Orkney and the island of Burray. It was built by Italian Prisoners of War from a 'Nissen' Hut, during construction of the Churchill Barriers; these are a series of causeways which link Mainland Orkney to Lamb Holm, Burray and finally to South Ronaldsay to restrict access to the superb natural 'harbour' of Scapa Flow, a major base for the Royal Navy during both World Wars of the 20th century.

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