Shetland and Orkney 2007


The first stop on our holiday was at the National Museum of Flight at East Linton. East Lothian, where we took a tour around Concorde BOAA. Rosslyn was featured in Dan Brown’s book and film ‘The Da Vinci Code’ . We  inspected the Forth Bridges at Queensferry, before heading to Aberdeen, where we boarded the Hjaltland ro-ro ferry for Lerwick, Shetland. Links with Norway which we discovered are : Tingholm was the seat of the Viking parliament in Shetland and Lunna was the site of the UK end of the ‘Shetland Bus’ during World War II.

Sumburgh lies at the southern end of Shetland. It is home to many seabirds and also the settlement of Jarlshof, dating from 2500BC to the early 1600s. The remaining photos were taken on a trip to Unst, the most northerly of the Shetland Isles. The Keen of Hamar is a National Nature Reserve lying on weathered serpentine rock. some of Britain’s rarest plants grow here, including Nowergian Sandwort and Edmonston’s Chickweed. I do not know how I found the specimens amongst all the serpentine debris.

Eshaness is a headland of jagged cliffs of Old Red Sandstone with volcanic basalt, andesite, lava and ignumbrite, where the sea has created spectacular stacks, geos and blowholes. The Grind o’da Navir (Gateway of the Borer) is like no other place I have visited. durinng heavy storms, the Atlantic Ocean tears lumps of ignumbrite rock up to 3m long out of the cliff portal and deposits them 15m above sea level on storm beaches.

We caught the NorthLink car ferry Hjaltland from Lerwick at 5.30pm,passed Fair Isle about 2 hours later and arrived in Kirkwall at 11pm.

The Ring of Brodgar is one part of the ‘Heart of Neolithic Orkney’. See Orkney 2007 F4 for more about the Ring of Brodgar.

The Ring of Brodgar dates from the third millenium BC. It is a fine neolithic stone circle consisting of 60 standing stones of which only 27 remain standing. There are a variety of astronomical alignments which the builders used in setting up the stones. Located between the Loch of Harray and the Loch of Stenness, it is a wonderful plac eto experience earth, water and sky.

Skara Brae is a World Heritage Site, the best preserved neolithic village in Northern Europe. The village was exposed when a severs storm removed part of the covering sand dunes in 1850. further damage occurred in 1925. how well the 20th century coastal protection works stand up to future storms remains to be seen.

First we see from Stromness  the island of Hoy and Scapa Flow, famous as a World War II anchorage for the British Navy.

Wideford Hill is a good vantage point to the west of Kirkwall on Orkney Mainland. in the west of Mainland lie the Stones of Stenness, close to the Ring of Brodgar. Like that stone circle the Stones o’ Stenness are classified as a ‘Henge Monument’ dating back at least to 3100BC. Standing at a maximum height of 6metres, the sheer scale of the megaliths makes them visible for miles around. See / for more information.

The Section ends with some views of Norie’s house in Stirling, one of Judith’s relatives, perhaps and then our final stop in Falkirk , where we visited the Falkirk Wheel, the most impressive piece of modern canal engineering in the British Isles.

From East Lothian to Aberdeen, Shetland, Orkney, Caithness and Falkirk