Today was a day spent mostly sight-seeing with a couple of easy Marilyns thrown in.

Click here to see a map of the routes undertaken

Hill: Keelylang Hill
Date: Tuesday 17th May 2011
Company: Myself and Beinn
Dog friendly: Yes

I set off early this morning to ascend Keelylang hill prior to heading out for the day with the family.

I drove to Cruan where I parked in the farmyard. I then followed the really good track from Cruan all the way to the summit.

Keelylang Hill from start of walk at Cruan:

Wideford Hill from lower slopes of Keelylang hill:

Horses on Keelylang hill:

As I ascended the hill, I passed lots of evidence of previous peat cutting.

Peat cutting on Keelylang hill:

Good track ascending Keelylang hill:

Looking back along long track from Cruan:

Was nice to reach the summit despite the hill being plastered with transmitters. Ignoring the transmitters, the surrounding views were not too bad.

Transmitters at summit of Keelylang hill:

Apart from a skylark and a curlew the birdlife on Keelylang hill was quite limited. Was nice to see Mid Hill and the Hoy hills, targets for later this week.

Mid Hill, with Hoy hills in background, from summit of Keelylang hill:

We visited the large cairn and then the small summit cairn 30m away from the large cairn.

Beinn at large cairn near summit:

Small cairn at summit (30m from large cairn):

We returned to the car via the same route and then returned to our cottage to pick-up the family for a day of sight-seeing.

Our first destination was the beach at Evie. Becky was disappointed that the tide was fully-in . Beaches would have to wait until later in the day.

We then drove anti-clockwise round the coast with good views across to Rousay and beyond to Westray. Fitty Hill was free of clag!
Our next stop was at the Earls' Palace in Birsay.

Sign at Earl's Palace, Birsay:

Earl's Palace, Birsay:

Brough of Birsay:

Impressive cliffs at Marwick head:

We then continued round the coast visiting Marwick bay and then the Bay of Skaill. The tide was now going out which pleased Becky .

Having fun with a bandy net at Bay of Skaill:

Becky at Bay of Skaill:

Next came the sight that I really wanted to see, Skara Brae. Having previously walked on the Great Wall of China, and spent time visiting the tombs and temples in Egypt, I was looking forward to seeing something even older.

A few photos from visit below:

Skara Brae c.3100BC:

Skara Brae:

Skara Brae:

Skara Brae:

Skara Brae:

Skara Brae:

Skara Brae:

From Skara Brae, I drove another six miles to reach the Ring of Brodgar.

A few weeks ago someone told me that they thought the Standing Stones on Orkney were more impressive than the standing stones at Callanish on Lewis. Having visited both within the past two weeks, I am sitting on the fence. I like both!

The Ring of Brodgar is a true circle with numerous very large stones. Callanish however has lots of stones much closer together made of nicer rock.

Ring of Brodgar:

Ring of Brodgar:

Ring of Brodgar:

Becky and myself at Ring of Brodgar:

From the Ring of Brodgar we visited the Stenness stones and then made for Wideford Hill as Becky wanted to climb a hill on Orkney.

I spent quite a bit of time looking around the hill for a starting point with available parking. There is a road that runs all the way to the summit of the hill; in fact there were two minibuses near the summit and a car and a BT van at the summit.

Hill: Wideford Hill
Date: Tuesday 17th May 2011
Company: Myself, Becky, Carole and Beinn
Dog friendly: Yes

We decided to follow the path to the summit first and then visit the Wideford Hill cairn on the way back.

Start of path to Wideford hill:

Path ascending Wideford hill:

Bay of Firth from lower slopes of Wideford hill:

Sign for Wideford hill:

Scapa Bay from Wideford hill:

Keelylang hill, Mid Hill and Hoy Hills from Wideford hill:


Transmitters at the summit of Wideford hill:

The views from the summit were really good. Morven and Scaraben were clearly visible in the distance to the South.

Becky at summit trig point:

Summit toposcope:

At the summit of Wideford hill:

During the descent we visited Wideford Hill Cairn.

Wideford Hill Cairn sign:

Wideford Hill sign:

Wideford Hill Cairn - 3000BC:

From the cairn we made our way back to the car. Another good day on Orkney.