Saturday, 19 August 2017

RSPB hide, Cottascarth, Orkney

Our first hide was the Eddie Balfour hen harrier hide at Cottascarth. I've never been to such a high class hide - beautifully appointed and constructed - more like a house than a hide! As the name implied- a harrier jumped up fro in front of the hide - too close to photo! Most spectacular for me was the mural -fantastic art work...


The Orkney Museum, Kirkwall.

Housed in a grade A listed building, this delightful and free museum, tells the story of the islands from the stone age to the present day. Many of the key artefacts we have read about, from sites we have visited, are on display. Well worth a visit.

A selection of finds - the balls are the ones from Skara Brae; thought to be of some ritual significance
 and the claws are white-tailed sea eagles from tomb of the eagles. 

                          It was really interesting to see the sketches of the artist in residence, Karen Willis, at the Ness of Brodgar too.

Sails in St Magnus

The sails in St Magnus really added to the atmosphere in the cathedral and they had a good tale to tell.

St Magnus cathedral, Orkney

St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall was well worth a visit as it is a fine example of a Romano - Gothic architecture. It is built from local red and yellow sandstone took about 300 years to build, the foundations starting in 1137. It was dedicated to Magnus Erlendsson, Earl of Orkney. He shared the earldom with his cousin, Haakon Paulsson, but jealousy and greed culminated in Magnus being martyred on the island of Egilsay.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Stromness and the stones!

A glorious evening so a quick run round via Stromness and a re-visit of Brodgar and Stenness - this time in bright sunshine!

Stromness - I loved the architecture here and would love to sit and sketch 

Wilhelmina Barns- Graham sketches at the Pier Arts Centre 

Stenness in the sun.

Ring of Brodgar. 

Sandwick Fish beds, Yesnaby

Walking north from the car park you come to a broch ....and then Ramna geo and the fish beds. These are basically a turned over pile of mudstones but there are still obvious fossil bits and bobs. One piece we saw looked exactly like the piece that was in the Fossil and Heritage Centre on Burray that was labelled - this is what you need to look for - the blue colouration is due to weathering.

..and then there were lots of possible spines and scales - wish we'd had longer at this site!

Stromatolites at Yesnaby.

The geology at Yesnaby is superb.  Just by the carpark there are some excellent horse-tooth stromatolites (fossilised remains of blue-green algae for the mud flats of Lake Orcadie - Devonian) that show the yearly growth rings, just like trees. These are 400 million years old - and should be left for others to enjoy - sadly there was some evidence of bits being removed.

As you walk along the coast there are plenty of examples of fossilised ripples and cracks in the sediments of Lake Orcadie.

...and some very pretty patterns on which I am planning to do a tapestry weaving.