Orkney

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Orkney is a scatter of fertile green treeless islands off the far northeastern tip of the Scottish Highlands, with a magical quality to the landscape and a rich archaeological heritage that runs from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age, Iron Age, Pictish, Roman, Viking and mediaeval, not to mention its strategic maritime importance in both World Wars.

I have been fortunate enough to have spent time up in Orkney, both cycle touring and researching  a story about the discovery of a stone age temple, whose ruins are being presently unearthed just below the Ring of Brodgar – the haunting stone circle that is the third-largest in Britain. It is in a beautiful location, set on a heather-clad hilltop, overlooking two beautiful Scottish lochs and in an amphitheatre of hills on Orkney’s largest island, Mainland.

Among the images in this gallery are those of this 4000 year-old stone circle, the ruins of an Iron Age fortress known as the Broch of Gurness, scenes of the perfectly preserved Neolithic village of Scara Brae; 12th century Viking runes carved into the walls of the ancient chambered tomb called Maeshowe; the old lighthouse on the Brough of Birsay on a stormy evening, the 13th century St Magnus Cathedral – the northernmost cathedral in Britain – the Kitchener Memorial on the rugged west coast, the harbour lights of Kirkwall aglow late on a clear still summer’s evening, and the interior of Italian Chapel built from scraps  by Italian prisoners-of-war who were interned on Orkney during WWII.