Daily Archives: September 11, 2022

Those real go-getters

Yours Truly has been known to reconnoiter in order to find one’s bearing’s before heading out on a expedition but there will be no lollygagging this morning, not even a leisurely cup of coffee. We’re hunting Orkney’s UNESCO World Heritage site and it’s not far. It’s called the Ring of Brodgar and it’s what to do when in Orkney.

The Ring is roughly some five thousand years old, older than the great pyramids of Egypt and Stonehenge, and it’s one of the largest stone circles in Great Britain. Before crossing a short causeway to the Ring you’re confronted with a massive standing stone called the Watchstone, just…well, standing there watching, stoically.

Back in Escape Velocity we quickly found the proper car park and started the hike up a gentle slope to the stones. Ok, let’s agree to call it the Ring.

The stones get larger and larger as you walk up and not quite as regular as you might expect.

Staff remarks that it doesn’t line up with anything at the solstice or equinox or any other time of year for that matter. Turns out the Ring and grounds were used as a tank practice course during World War II and that may account for some wonky alinement.

Hard to imagine

It’s thought that some 60 standing stones were originally erected but today there are only 36, and of those 21 are still standing. Thirteen were re-erected in 1906.

The stones are buried surprisingly shallow with little more than 18cm under ground.

Four large mounds at 90 degrees to each other surround the ring.

Apparently not having had enough, we shuffled a mile down the road to the Stones of Stenness, four massively tall standing stones, even older than the Ring of Brodgar. Can we even say it’s a ring or circle with only four standing stones? Let’s call them the Stenness Group.

Once again no one has any idea of why, or how, or what was the purpose of this ring of standing stones, leaving us clouded in befuddled mystery. No human remains or evidence of human activity, have ever been found inside the rings.

So in conclusion I’d like to suggest for the future that we humans always, without fail, LEAVE INSTRUCTIONS.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Passage planning

We went back to Lerwick to spend a little more time in the charming Shetland capital and to cement our relationship with new friends Judy and Victor. Now that we found a safe and convenient place to park the camper, we were much more relaxed about staying overnight this time.

We did little more than eat, walk, swap life and boating stories, eat more. We were booked on the ferry to Orkney so these few days of getting to know like-minded people were precious to us. Jack and I both acknowledged how much we miss our cruising community. We have all lived a life that’s sometimes difficult for others to relate to or appreciate so spending time with other cruisers is almost like being able to speak your native tongue again after a period of struggling with the nuances of a foreign language.

Of course we sought out the location of BBC’s Shetland main character Jimmy Perez’s house along the waterfront and just generally enjoyed this charming, quirky town. We wished we’d discovered the parkup option earlier in our Shetland visit. We’d have enjoyed more time in Lerwick inbetween our journeys to more remote places.

And then it was time to go. We boarded the Northlink ferry for the five-and-a-half hour journey to Orkney. Per Escape Velocity protocol, we had no plan, no foreknowledge of our destination, no idea where we’d park up when we arrived — and we would arrive at 11:30pm — and believe it or not we hadn’t driven the campervan in the dark yet.

As soon as we got back online when the ferry docked we managed to navigate just a few miles to a harbor-front car park where we figured we could at least get some sleep and make better decisions in the morning. We parked, got the fridge turned back on, then took a long look out the front window. What a beautiful welcome to Orkney!

The morning coffee view was just as good, and even better when the Mrs. Chips food truck showed up offering egg and bacon sandwiches about 50 feet away. This is destined to be one of our favorite parkups in Orkney, one we’ll return to again and again.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized