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Orkneys, then Glasgow

Matine Lund Hoel, Norwegian fiddler

ferry crossing to the fascinating and mystical Orkneys

 a mix of
Pictish, Gael and Viking culture

We stayed at the Albert Hotel on Mounthoolie Lane in Kirkwall, a very charming Inn, and dined at  the  resident Bothy Bar, a very cool atmospheric pub complete with fire place and local colour and just a few streets down from

Magnificent St. Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall built in 1100s
the Vikings began to convert to Christianity as early as 10th century

 Memorial in St. Magnus to John Rae, a Scots Canadian who belonged to the Hudson Bay Company of Adventurers out of England, an arctic explorer who discovered ( Abt 1854) what happened to the Franklin Expedition  . He is buried in the churchyard in Kirkwall. He is one of the unsung heroes of the Orkneys and Canadian history.  Ken McGoogan has written his story in Fatal Passage.

On an amusing note, to the non Scottish ear some of the names (and try to pronounce them!!) in Scotland can bring a chuckle such as the village of Twatt  which provoked gales of laughter from my daughter.

Few trees on the Orkneys  but beautiful shorelines and skies


the blooming heather

The ring of brodgar in colour

 a bonny lass

 Ancient Neolithic village of Skara Brae, it has been called the Scottish Pompeii and is located on the Bay of Skaill.  It was discovered back in 1850 during a severe storm which uncovered the outlines of this settlement. It was declared a world heritage site in 1999 and much work is still being done to uncover and decipher the lives of the people who built it.

and again Ring of Brodgar-  place of power, cosmic ritual and solstices for the ancients
which were built before the pyramids of Egypt

Standing Stones of Stenness, close by the Ring of Brodgar

Maes Howe, neolithic tomb complete with Viking grafitti inside- "Eric was here and looted the place"  and sheep grazing on roof

 no photos allowed inside tomb

On Lamb Holm the beautiful chapel built by Italian prisoners of World War II


and so we leave our pretty room and Kirkwall  and head to Glasgow before catching the ferry from Cairnryan to Belfast

Sterling Castle on the road to Glasgow, famously linked to both William Wallace and Robert the Bruce whose battle at Bannockburn in 1314 won the castle back from the English.

Jumpin Jaks
Gay Pride Day in Glasgow
so much fun!

Maggie May's

St. Mungo Cathedral

View from the Necropolis Hill behind St. Mungo

outside our hotel window


  Canada's first prime minister memorial in Glasgow, John A
                                                  MacDonald. Many an intrepid adventurous Scot made his way to Canada in the early days and especially after the Highland Clearances.

and now time to sadly say goodbye to the breathtaking beauty of Scotland and warm hospitality of the jovial Scots
and sail to Ireland