Wonderful Wednesday Personal Blog
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.
The first photo shows a view of the causeway from a bit up the hill beyond the settlement. Some of the ruins can be seen to the left of the visitor building in the center of the photo. There was a bit of concrete pathway placed over some of the water, the rest was sand and stones. I had great shoes to keep my feet dry, but their soles were not the best. Note: take waterproof shoes with great tread. You can see our bus way in the carpark on the far side of the causeway, but that still gives you little context for the extent of this little hike. And I was on my way back down the hill--perhaps halfway down from the summit--when I took this photo. But look at all the wildflowers! The wild sea wind and the crash of waves below the cliffs drew me on.
The settlement at the Brough of Birsay was inhabited by Picts in the 7th and 8th centuries. It's not known if the Norse assimilated into the culture or took it by force, but they were the dominating culture from about 900 to 1200 CE.
You approach the settlement over the causeway and up a steep hill. The ruins are nestled partway up the hill which falls away into cliffs that stretch high over the Atlantic. There is also a fairly easily accessible bay to one side of the settlement, giving those who lived there easy access to the sea, and a lovely view as well.
This settlement was simply abandoned after about 500 years. The ruins clearly suggest a church (with two windows which may have been glazed), and a possible sauna and bath house next to what may have been an earl's house.
Beyond the settlement ruins is a light house built in 1925. The views of the Atlantic Ocean from the cliffs are spectacular! We did find Puffins, though you'll probably have to squint to see them. (They're in the 2nd photo)
The walk over the causeway and up the hill was long and a bit of a challenge, but Susie was right. It was well worth the effort.
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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