Wonderful Wednesday Personal Blog
Let me first admit I stole the title for this post from Susie Malcolm. But on our second day in Orkney, we traveled far, far back in time.
We visited Skara Brae. What was once thought to be a Pictish village, some 500 years in age, was proven to date back to the Neolithic Era--over 5000 years ago.
This means it predates the first Crusade (AD 1095), the Fall of Rome (AD 476), the Great Pyramids, and even Stonehenge (2100 BC).
One thing I've neglected to mention is that this tour contained some of the finest music and musicians I've had the privilege to encounter.
Our tour guides, Jim and Susie Malcolm, are brilliant musicians, and music was an integral part of our tour. In fact, music was everywhere.
We sang on the bus. Every region, town, and deed (good or bad) had a song, and we sang about it. I'm serious. The songbook, hand-pieced by Jim and Susie, was a hundred pages long. (I don't remember the actual count, but that's pretty close)
We were sometimes serenaded by impromptu singers along the way. Jim's mother not only brought us Forfar Bridies for lunch, she also sang a lovely song for us before she left. Jim's brother Scott jumped aboard the bus and sang for us before we departed Edinburg. People joined our little musical group on the ferry on our trip to the Orkneys and added to the merriment.
After a sack lunch on the bus (much better than it sounds), we stopped at Highland Park Distillery where we immersed ourselves, figuratively--for the most part--in whisky making.
We tasted some of the whisky Highland Park is best known for, watched them turn the malted barley on the floor by hand, and learned about the process of smoking the barley over peat cut not too far from the distillery.
The peat smoke gives it a flavor not found in American whiskeys, and I found it intriguing.
If you can find Highland Park Whisky in the states (or wherever you are), it's worth trying.
Our next stop had a bit of crucial timing, as we were headed to the Brough (pronounced 'broch') of Birsay. The remains of a Norse settlement are on the tidal island, and we needed to visit whilst the tide was out.
This is one of my favorite photos of Orkney. It's all hills and lochs and fertile lands--and hidden Pictish and Viking settlements and burial mounds. This day was cold but brilliant, giving us the very best view of this beautiful land. There are few trees here, and those we saw had been carefully planted and nurtured to withstand the wind and often severe weather. Archaeologically, there is evidence of trees, though it is buried deep beneath the peat.
How do I know this? Our guide for the two days we spent in Orkney was an Orcadian named Tom Muir, archaeologist and storyteller. Oh, how he could weave stories! He took us far, far back in time, and our first stop on Friday was the Maeshowe Chambered Cairn..
Day 3; Evening
Our day was far from over. When we reached Aberdeen, we boarded a Northlink Ferry for the 6 hour trip to the Orkneys.
The ship was huge! And perfect for surging across the unpredictable North Sea. We'd been warned the seas could provide a bit of a rough ride, but we were blessed with a smooth crossing. Other than the rumble of the engines beneath our feet and the gentle roll (which wasn't really noticeable until you decided to take a stroll), it was hard to remember you were aboard a ship.
Except for the views.
This is where I talk about things in my life outside of writing. Mostly gardening and dogs.
All Adventures With Rezso After Christmas Angus The Cat Anne Martin Gaelic Singer Armadale Bay Armadale Castle Arthur Cormack Gaelic Singer Basketball Bath Bath Time Beltane Tours Ben Best Toys Beth Malcolm Birthday Brough Of Birsay Caithness Caledonia MacBrayne Ferry Castles Of Scotland Cathy MacRae Ceilidh Celtic Crosses Celtic Music Chiropractic Treatment Christmas Church Of The Holy Rude Corgi Dixie Dog Training Dunnottar Castle Dunrobin Castle Dunvegan Castle Edinburgh Eilean Donan Castle Emily Smith Traditional Scottish Singer Euphonium Falconry Exhibit Ferry Fiddles Flowers Freki Fun On The Farm Gaelic Songs Gardening Gardens German Shepherd Gunnar Happy Birthday Harry Potter Train Harvest Helper Highland Distillery Holyrood Abbey Holyroodhouse Holyrood Palace Iain MacFarlane Fiddler Ingrid Henderson Harpist Isle Of Skye Jacobite Steam Train Jennifer & Hazel Wrigley Jim And Susie Malcolm Jolly Ball Kelpies Kirkwall Laidhay Crofting Museum Life With Dogs Life With Freki Maeshowe Malaig Malinky Band Monkey Puzzle Tree New Puppy Ninja Dog Obedience Class Odin's Wolves Orkney Pool Time Ring Of Brodgar Rosslyn Chapel Scotland Food Scotland Tour 2019 Service Dog Skaill House Skara Brae Snow Soccer #Sonicdrivein Spring Springtime Square Foot Garden Square-foot Garden Standing Stones Standing Stones Of Stenness Stirling Castle St Magnus Cathedral Swimming Pool Then And Now Thorfinn The Mighty Tracking Treats Vikings Water Games Where's Thorfinn? Whistles Winter Fun Wonderful Wednesday
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