The main problem with Orkney is that there is so much to see and do. There is also a temptation also to jump on a ferry and go and see more stuff on other islands. That temptation has been resisted so far but today we did go as far South as we could in the car. This involved going from Mainland across the Churchill Barriers which have provided an important link to Burray and South Ronaldsay. Strangely being more remote even though accessible by car, they have a different feel and today, it was a very windy one! Marvellous views over Scapa Flow and the Pentland Firth means Hoxa Head was a good spot for more WW2 defences. what a spot to be posted to.
I was hoping for the glimpse of a harbour porpoise or even a killer whale alas not just great skuas, black guillemots, fulmars, razor bills and a rather shy seal.
The mission today was to get to the end of the island and see the Tomb of the Eagles. Another important burial tomb as it was found undisturbed. But we were slightly distracted by the beautiful tapestries and rugs created by Leila Thompson. Her use of wool to create the light, look and feel of Orkney is just astounding.
We did make it to the Tomb of the Eagles as always the last ones there and it was worth the trip. The artefacts, beautiful tools and mace heads, jewellery and of course what can be discovered about the lives of the people buried there from their remains is amazing. By 40 you would have been old. Though life was tough the disabled were looked after. Most died in their 20s, even the children showed evidence of arthritis from the wear and tear of a hard life. People didn’t have cavities but abscesses probably killed some. We really don’t know how lucky we are!
Also on the site is a strange bronze age hut where it seems people spent time heating water. We can only speculate why – perhaps it was a spa those warm stones would have been great for a massage. But then again maybe it was something much more practical.