Thirty Days Wild, thirty posts throughout June (and July, and August, I’m so,so tardy) something that is grounded in our wild world. This year posts are from our travels around the north coast of Scotland on the North Coast 500 route and a visit to Orkney. Stand by, for lots of sky, sea, wildlife, history, Spud the dog and random musings.
Tomb of the Eagles, (or less dramatically, Isbister Chambered Cairn) was on our ‘must do’ list for our visit to Orkney, having watched a TV documentary about its archaeological importance. The visit starts at the visitor centre (not surprisingly) and what I liked about this, was how you are allowed to handle some of the exhibits, to hold a five thousand year old Stone age axe in your hand and feel its balance, is quite something, something that you can never get a handle on from seeing it exhibited in a glass cabinet.
After our tour of the centre, the tomb is accessed by a mile long walk along a track, passing as you go, another significant bit of archaeology a Bronze age mound of burnt stone, a modest 3,000 years old
Mr Uphilldowndale was a little puzzled that I seemed more interested in photographing the plants than ancient relics, I pointed out that this plant, and I don’t know what it is, looked as thought it might have been hanging out here since the dinosaurs roamed the earth.
It was late when we arrived at the tomb, the visitor centre had closed behind us, and we were free to take a look inside the tomb at our leisure, in a kind of ‘let yourself in, the doors on the latch’ way (lovely bit of drystone walling here).
In reality you enter the tomb, on a little bogie cart,
My photos in the tomb, don’t do it justice, I’ll admit, being on the slightly claustrophobic spectrum, I happier outside than in, so I didn’t hang around for long. As last visitors of the day, I didn’t fancy being entombed for the night. The tomb is divided into stalls, by stone orthostats (love that word, hard to drop into conversation though) the remains of the sea eagles and 341 humans have long since been removed to safety.
Mr Uphilldowndale kindly demonstrated the technique for entry and exit
The return walk, takes you along the edge of the South Ronaldsay cliffs, where there were beautiful flowers
as blue as the surrounding sea
in places the flowers were named with tags, a lovely touch, by the Simison family, a family (dad, discovered the tomb, fifty years ago) that values the sharing of information about this special place. The plastic tags did seem a little incongruous to me though, maybe wood or even written on stone would have been more fitting, you know I fret about plastic and the sea.
By the time we returned to the van, it was just us and the rabbits, and maybe, soaring on the wind, the spirits of the eagles, looking for a tasty rabbit,