Sorry it’s another sunset but this is how I want to remember the day, which we ended at the [url=http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/propertyresults/propertyoverview.htm?PropID=PL_041]Broch o’ Gurness[/url].
The day began with a dog walk at the [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bay_of_Skaill]Bay of Skaill[/url], followed by a perfect camping breakfast of fried bacon in Morning Rolls. Thence to [url=http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/propertyresults/propertyoverview.htm?PropID=PL_244]Skara Brae[/url] and[url=http://www.skaillhouse.co.uk/] Skaill House[/url]. The tea room at the visitor centre provides the most splendid, and the largest, scones ever seen – along with an instruction to take as much butter and/or jam as you wish. The coffee wasn’t bad either.
We headed off to the [url=http://www.orkney.gov.uk/Service-Directory/S/kirbuster-museum.htm]Kirbuster[/url] farming museum, to find them about to close for lunch. I grabbed a few snaps and then we made and ate a lunch in the car park before wombling up towards the [url=http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/westmainland/broughofbirsay/]Brough of Birsay[/url] and finding no suitable space in which to park Brunhilde. We parked naughtily, just long enough to walk along the cliff with the dogs before heading back to Kirbuster for a more leisurely viewing.
Lacking a proper road map we were using the West Mainland tourist map to navigate. This caused us a little difficulty when we went looking for a place to sleep. The car park by the toilets at Gurness had been recommended to us but was full when we got there so we turned the corner to run along the bay to the Broch. Everything in the van went clatter as immediately hit the humps and pot holes in a rough unsurfaced track. We had to back out and go around by Evie and down the better road at the far side.
The car park at the Broch is huge and has a fine view of Eynhallow sound, Eynhallow and Rousay. We decided to stay put. The Broch was closing not long after we arrived so we decided to view it in the morning only… there was a seemingly endless stream of visitors arriving, reading the sign… and going in anyway! Several of them I noticed were climbing all over the Broch wall itself. We decided to go have a look after dinner, when we hoped that the stream would have slowed.
By the time that we went in to the Broch, there was one remaining group of visitors. Women, probably in their Thirties or Forties, at a guess. As we approached the Broch one of them was cllimbing on it and standing on the walls – I could not help myself: “Don’t do that….” She looked at me oddly and carried on. “It’s an ancient monument,” I said, “Please don’t do that.” Whereupon I was informed in very condescending fashion that it was perfectly alright “It’s allowed!” she said “everybody does it… all the time”. Sarcastically, she added “but I’m sorry if it offends you.” To which my DH replied “Well, yes, I am offended.” Unbelieveable.
I was rattled by this exhibition of the Empire Spirit and soothed only by sitting and watching the sun set by the sound, enjoying the unusual spectacle of the sea rushing sideways, like a river, with the tidal race.
After breakfast, once the Custodian had arrived on Wednesday morning, I went in and paid our dues for our out of hours visit. I asked him if it was really true that climbing the Broch is allowed. He too gave me an odd look and said “Of course it isn’t. That’s obvious!” Well, yes, obvious to me, obvious to my husband, obvious to the Custodian but not it seems to several children, some young men from the Continent, and a large group of loud-speaking, sarcastic and supposedly superior English women.