|The Old Man of Hoy|
Then the boat swung around the north end of Hoy, past an seething tidal race and into Stromness bay. I cycled out of the town and found a fine campsite about to close for the winter in two days time, which suited me perfectly. I pitched my tent and set off to explore the excellent museum with displays about John Rae, the Arctic explorer, and a collection of artefacts from the archaeological dig at the Ness of Brodgar.
After a very good coffee from a delicatessen I cycled off on a perfect morning to visit the Ring of Brodgar, and then on to the prehistoric village at Skara Brae. That evening I went to a series of talks in the Stromness art gallery about the excavations at the Ness of Brodgar. I liked Stromness a lot.
The next day I went for a walk along a wild piece of coastline at Yesnaby, and then walked by the sea near the campsite among spectacular rainstorms and rainbows.
|Sea stack at Yesnaby|
The following day I revisited the Ness of Brodgar and went for my pre-booked visit to the chambered tomb at Maeshowe, which is spectacular. From there it was a short ride to Kirkwall, where I ate in a hotel on the harbour and then relaxed for a few hours in an upstairs room while I waited for the midnight ferry to Lerwick. I shared the room for a while with a group of bridesmaids, a bride, and someone selling bridesmaids outfits.
It's slightly eerie catching a midnight ferry. Very few people about. I had foolishly booked a 'sleeping pod' with my ticket. It was just a reclining seat and so, of course, very uncomfortable.
I got up and went to sleep on the floor.
Maps: Orkney archaeology; Stromness to Kirkwall