Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Brough of Birsay.

You have to wait for the tide to get there from here!

On Saturday we also visited the Brough of Birsay, a 21 hectar tidal island located around 13 miles north of Stromness Scotland. This ancient seat of Norse power on the Orkneys is separated from the Point o' Buckquoy on the Mainland, by the waters of Brough Sound - a distance of approximately 262 yards.


The sea completely surrounds the island twice a day due to tidal action so access to the Brough is restricted to a few hours each day, at either side of low tide, when a causeway across to the other side is visible to walk on. This not only meant the island had a prime defensive position, but was also an ideal base for sea travel south, north and east.

The earliest settlement on the Brough is thought to date from the fifth century AD and 
the Picts took to the island in the seventh century AD and by the ninth century it had been taken over, and built over, by the Norse.

Most of the remains seen on the Brough today date from its final, Norse, period of use - giving buildings ranging from 800-1200AD.


The Brough is more enjoyable than most sites to walk around and explore because there are no barricades or annoying roped off areas. The look of the ancient dry laid stonework, which is surprisingly clean and tidy looking, is enhanced by the lush carpet of green caressing the whole site and butting up to all the contours of the walls   

Visiting the place felt cozy and familiar, almost like coming home, one I came back to many many years ago.

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