I will be adding to this - if I am allowed, since in the two weeks we were on Orkney we visited most of what is Orkney, visiting Neolithic villages, Stone Circles and Passage Tombs and Brochs. We saw burials complete with Skeletal remains of Humans sometimes in a viewing room, sometimes on a farm where a farmer had dug up the bones sensitively, and not leaving a stone or fragment that meant 'something' to the people 'it' or 'they' surrounded. These farmers were 'canny' insofar as they asked archaeologists who came to dig on their land what they intended to do with the finds on their land and most said they would be farmed out to the various Museums in Scotland, whereupon, most farmers dug their toes in the land, pulled out a shotgun and told the Archaeologists in no uncertain terms to get off their land! The furthest Passage tomb from Orkney proper was on an island farthest from Orkney to the south called South Ronaldsay, where we met the Tomb of the Eagles just yards from a cliff straight down to the North Sea three hundred feet below. The tomb of the Eagles is larger than Unstan - another Passage grave we visited and 'connected' with its ancestors. The bones of course had long gone - shipped off to the Museum in Kirkwall as was the same for the Tomb of the Eagles, but Spirits don't need their bones when they can roam the passages and yelp 'Boo!' at anyone psychic enough to hear them!
Orkney itself, is a large island, and had a lot of Stone Circles on it. Some such as the Ring of Steness (The Temple of the Moon) - so called by the locals we could see from our bedroom window at the cottage we had rented. It was a wonderful sight as well as a Templic Site. It carries a huge altar stone four feet by four feet to the North of the two largest stones some thirty-five feet high with an angled shape near the top as though pointing to something in the sky. At night , we braved the Ness (a narrow causeway across the Loch to the Ring of Steness which was some distance past the Ring of Brodgar - the largest at, at least one hundred feet in diametre. Its stones having a similar pointed look like teeth waiting for lunch. Brodgar had an outlyer called the Comet Stone to the South, and judging by its position, must be somewhat like the Heel Stone at Stonehenge - pointing the rising of the Sun on Midsummer. At the opposite end of the Ring of Brodgar was a similar though lower and smaller stone marking out the Winter Solstice in December. The Comet stone though was carved near the top giving it the appearance of a male Penis. So it wasn't difficult to reason that this was used for fertility rites at some time in the past. The Ring of Steness didn't have these outlyers like Brodgar did and must have been used for a different focus. The Watch Stone - part of the Stenness complex was divorced from the circle proper by the Road which seemed to bisect it from the main circle - but I don't think this mattered too much to the stones or to the builder's of the circle in the first instance. We went to Stenness at night and we had a full Moon on the stones. It was a beautiful sight The shimmering patterns on the stones from the Moon didn't just light up the stones but seemed to make them glow slightly. There are three stones like an altar with two stones close together - like a siting slot between them, where, on midsummer's day, the light of the Sunset would creep across the land for two miles or so to the Chambered Cairn of Maes Howe, where we were told by its 'keeper' the sun would shine down the entrance and light up the 'cells' of the burials on either side of Cairn. This last burial place wouldn't allow us or anyone visiting, to photograph the inside of Maes Howe for any reason - though we paid £8.00 each to get into it and see the viking scribbles that had been put there when they were forced to shelter in the tomb one wild and stormy night.
We have photographs to accompany this blog, and we will reduce them in size (since I took them using the raw format on my camera to preserve all of the details that they could give). But that's for later! You may ask questions or comment as you wish and I'll do my best to answer all questions. foxman