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.
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.