It had been a wonderful day but we were tiring and more than ready to find a place to stop for the night. A spot near the Broch of Gurness had been recommended but was full. We carried on to the Broch site itself and found a large car park. It had no facilities but that was fine with us, as Brunhilde sports her own.
It was close to closing time when we arrived at Gurness.
We decided that letting the dogs have a run was more important than viewing the site and we could do the visit in the morning.
It is a lovely location, lacking only a stretch of good sand. There is a sandy bay locally, along the track that lies between the Broch and the car park where we had originally planned to stay. We were too hot and weary to go and explore however.
The dogs did not appear to mind wandering about on the rocks and I found the flat rocks very easy to sit on 🙂 It would be a good place for a barbecue, had we brought a disposable with us.
We had not.
But we had brought something else that we were in urgent need of:
Although the Broch had closed for the day, the gate was not locked and a seemingly endless stream of visitors continued to arrive. We sat with our beer and waited it out until the stream had become a trickle. Honestly, if it was this busy after hours, did we really want to visit at opening time? if others could go in, then so could we, and we decided to do so. My justification was that golden hour shots of the Broch would be quite interesting. As it happened, most of my photos were rubbish.
I had been horrified as we sat and waited to see people climbing on the Broch: Children whose parents seemed uninterested either in their safety for the good health of the ancient monument, some young men from France, and others who should know better.
When we finally went in there was one remaining group of visitors and we were treated to a close-up view of a woman climbing on the walls. We did suggest that maybe she refrain from doing so and were not well received. She actually tried to tell us that it was “allowed” and that “everybody does it”, sarcastically adding “I’m sorry if it offends you.”
Dragged up, some people.
We wandered around, feeling edgy and irritated after this undesirable encounter. I did take pictures but as noted, not very good ones.
[su_quote cite=”Wikipedia” url=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broch”]A broch is an Iron Age drystone hollow-walled structure of a type found only in Scotland. Brochs include some of the most sophisticated examples of drystone architecture ever created, and belong to the classification “complex Atlantic Roundhouse” devised by Scottish archaeologists in the 1980s. Their origin is a matter of some controversy. The theory that they were defensive military structures (an Iron Age equivalent to the castles and tower houses of medieval Scotland) is not accepted by many modern archaeologists (see the ‘general references’ below), while the alternative notion that they were farmhouses is dismissed by some others. Although most stand alone in the landscape, some examples exist of brochs surrounded by clusters of smaller dwellings.[/su_quote]
The Broch of Gurness is one of the rarer type, with smaller dwellings associated. The site is extremely well kept and has some atmosphere. The location is stunning, with a view across Eynhallow Sound to Rousay. The tidal race in the sound adds something special, with the rushing of the water so unlike the lapping of waves that you might expect.
I knocked up a quick supper of fresh pasta with salad and a bottle of wine and was feeling much better after downing that lot. Once again we ended the day by watching the sun go down. The BBC published one of my photographs!
I liked this cloud, which I made to be a dragon. Can you see his ribcage?
We cracked open the Old Pultney for a warming nightcap and we slept like two little bugs, snug in our sleeping bag in Brunhilde.
In the morning, after breakfast, I watched for the Steward arriving and then went to pay our admission fees for our out of hours visit. I asked him if it really was allowed to trample all over the Broch and he said “of course not – that’s obvious!” Vindicated.