Stornoway was originally a Viking settlement and the development of the town was spurred by the construction of the original castle in the Middle Ages. There was much infighting between rival clans and an attempt by the then King of Scotland, JamesVI, to colonise Lewis failed in 1597. The original...
Settlers and seafarers have been attracted to these islands over many generations. The UNESCO World Heritage site takes in most of the main island (called ‘the mainland’ by Orcadians) protecting Stone Age Settlements and monuments that predate the Vikings, some more than 4000 years old. The Orkney Islands lie off the north eastern tip of Scotland and its capital Kirkwall was an early Norse trading town of stone houses and narrow lanes.
Visit the impressive St Magnus Cathedral dating from the 1100s, situated in the Kirkwall. Travel further back in history and visit the 5000 year old Neolithic village at Skara Brae which lay buried at the edge of the sea preserved by sand until it was discovered in 1850. Examine the stone rooms and furniture. The landscape of the islands has its own beauty; green fields, primroses, violets, golden sands and rock cliffs. Bird lovers can enjoy fulmars, cormorants, petrels, kittiwakes, guillemots, puffins, and gannets.
Walk round the narrow streets of Kirkwall which has a unique selection of local shops – many of the type that has disappeared from our towns on the mainland. Visit St Magnus or take a pony and trap ride round town. Take a Tour to Skara Brae which may include the Standing Stones of Stenness and Ring of Brodgar.
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Photo: St Magnus Cathedral – Kirkwall (RG) – 22
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