flickr I haven't got round to writing about it.
This was my first visit to Orkney, and came about partly because Mr B had a notion to do a bit of ancestor-hunting on the island of Shapinsay. In the event, we left the Shapinsay trip till our last day in the expectation of sun - a wise move, as it turned out. But before that day I'd already fallen in love with somewhere unlike anywhere I'd ever been. The usual transformation of landscapes brought about by changing light was there, of course, but it was the landscape itself that caught me: these smooth, rolling fields, the low hills backed in the distance by the dark lumps of the mountains on Hoy, the standing stones everywhere, from the huge henge of the Ring of Brodgar (photo) to the random pair we saw in someone's garden, the ancient stone houses of Skara Brae, still with their stone furniture intact.
To the south, there were more recent relics in the Churchill Barriers with their scuttled ships and the Italian Chapel built by the prisoners of war who were working on the barriers. But on the same day as we visited the chapel we also visited the extraordinary Tomb of the Eagles, where we were handed neolithic objects to examine and where I hauled myself on a trolley (such as was used in the movie "The Great Escape") down a low tunnel into the 5,000-year-old tomb on the shore and got stuck on the way back out because the uphill slope brought said trolley to a halt. Because the site here is not under the control of Historic Scotland there are few restrictions - we were told to follow the arrows and if we found ourselves opening a gate we were on the wrong track! There was no-one with us at either house or tomb, and the loneliness and sense of thin-ness was palpable.
The landlady of our excellent B & B asked us if we'd be likely to return. I think the answer is likely to be yes.