Land's End to John O'Groats Cycletouring Trip Part 2

Day 50 - Tour of Central Mainland

Today I was to cycle and see the sites that I didn't get to on Tuesday. I wanted to see Maes Howe, The Ring of Brodgar and The Broch of Gurness. I also travelled to the West coast to see the Yesnaby stacks.

Setting off from Stromness, it was not long before I arrived at Maes Howe. However, as I arrived so did a big coach of Spanish tourists who beat me to the entrance of the tomb. This meant that there was a 30 minute or so delay as it was so small that little groups were taken through one at a time.

The guide who ran the presentation inside the tomb was very good, he was confident and made the visit interesting. We were able to see some ancient graffiti on some of the stones and were told about the sun shining through the entrace over the Winter solstace. Information and live pictures of this can be found at:

Just a short distance away, next to the Standing Stones of Stenness lies the Barnhouse Neolithic Village. I cycled here to take some photos, and had the advantage of there being no other visitors about.

Up the road a bit further I came to the Ring of Brodgar, about which I have little information.

By the time I finished at the Ring of Brodgar, there was not much of the day left so I travelled over to the west coast of Mainland to look at the cliffs and stacks of Yesnaby.

By the time I returned to Stromness, the distance travelled was about 21 miles judging by the map.

In the early evening, I watched Stromness sailing club racing dinghies in the bay. I chatted to the man with the starting pistol as I waited to take some photographs and also the man in the rowing boat observing the race. We talked about the sudden changes of wind direction that we had experienced over the last few nights (important when you're staying in a tent on an exposed headland).

There was traditional music tonight in the Stromness Hotel, so that was where I ended up. Some familiar faces and so I chatted to some of the locals. The man from the rowing boat earlier recognised me and told me about a sailing regatta on the Isle of Holm which I could potentially get to on the way back to Bradwick.

Photograph of a chambered tomb called Maes Howe and a large roll of straw in the adjacent field on Mainland, The Orkneys
Maes Howe, Mainland, The Orkneys

Photograph of the entrance to Maes Howe
The entrance to Maes Howe

Photograph of the inside of Maes Howe
Inside Maes Howe

Photograph of ancient graffiti inside Maes Howe
Ancient graffiti in Maes Howe

Photograph of the entrance blocking stone at Maes Howe
The entrance blocking stone at Maes Howe

Photograph of Barnhouse Neolithic Village
Barnhouse Neolithic Village

Photograph of Barnhouse Neolithic Village
Barnhouse Neolithic Village

Photograph of the Ring of Brodgar
The Ring of Brodgar

Photograph of the Ring of Brodgar
The Ring of Brodgar

Photograph of the cliffs at Yesnaby
The cliffs at Yesnaby

Photograph of sea stacks at Yesnaby
Yesnaby Stacks

Photograph of Stromness with Hoy in the background
Stromness with Hoy in the background

Photograph of three sailing boats and a rowing boat from Stromness Sailing Club on race night
Stromness Sailing Club

© Copyright  Piers Pettman - This page last updated 08 July 2006
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