Interesting Info
Skara Brae was inhabited by 50 people for 600 years. The buildings consisted of six houses and a workshop and was much further inland than it is today.
approx. 2,500
Useful Advice
Stromness, Skara Brae, Brodgar, and Maeshowe form a nice cycling 'triangle'.
Essential sites to visit
The Ring of Brodgar
Skara Brae and Skaill House
The Standing Stones of Stenness
The Brough of Birsay
The Broch of Gurness
Skara Brae dresser

The Ring of BrodgarThe West Mainland of Orkney, comprising of the parishes, Stromness, Sandwick, Birsay, Harray, Stenness, Orphir, Evie, Rendall and Firth, is literally packed to the seams with important archaeological sites. From small burial chambers found at the side of the road like Unstan Cairn, to world heritage sites like the Ring of Brodgar, the West Mainland's ancient landscape is a joy to explore.

There are standing stones, 30 in total at the Ring of Brodgar - fewer, but even taller ones at the Standing Stones of Midwinter Sunset down the entrance shaft to Maes HoweStenness. There is a prehistoric village, with beds and dressers and fireplaces still intact, at Skara Brae. Interestingly, a visit to Kirbuster or Corrigall Farm Museum will show you that the placing of elements in an Orcadian house (fire in the centre of the room, dressers and beds against the walls) did not change form stone age times up until the early 20th century. Skaill House, the house belonging to the 7th Laird of Skaill, who discovered Skara Brae, is open to the public and well worth a look. In there you will find Skara Brae artifacts, as well as Captain Cook's dinner service; a house overflowing with history.

There is an iron age fortress, the Broch of Gurness with it's thick walls acting like a keep in a castle, and a burial chamber defaced by Viking graffiti, and lit by midwinter at Maeshowe. There is a tidal island at the Brough of Birsay, where you have to waitMarwick Head for a low tide to visit an ancient monastery, lighthouse and the best spot in the Orkney mainland to see puffins. There is a war memorial nearby, at Marwick Head, a giant stone tower built on a cliff edge to commemorate the lives lost during the sinking of the HMS Hampshire in the First World War, which sank a military figurehead amidst conspiracy and cover-up.

Kittens at Corrigal Farm MuseumThere is a water wheel mill, the Click Mill, on a desolate hillside, and cliffs alive with the screeching (and the smell!) of seabirds. There are farm animals, chickens, ducks, geese, sheep and kittens to touch at the farm museums, and plenty of playparks and beaches for the kids.

There are craft shops, restaurants, ice cream parlours, art galleries, museums and more! Visit the West Mainland of Orkney today, traveling by bike, car or even on foot - you'll be amazed at the amount of history, and great stories, to be found in one small place!

George Mackay Brown
The undulant, almost treeless landscape is very beautiful, with its hardly ebbing sun in the summer, and the dark loud blaze of winter (from stars and gales and snow.)
George Mackay Brown, A Guide to the Orkney Islands

Kaya Bed and BreakfastRachel Wishart
Kaya, Stenness
Orkney, KW16 3JX
Tel: 01856 850120
Mobile: 07939 449694
Kaya Bed and Breakfast
Kaya (meaning 'Home' in Zulu) is a new purpose-built Bed and Breakfast located in the neolithic heartland of the Orkney Islands. With stunning views across the loch of Stenness towards the Ring of Brodgar, Orkney's archaeology and trout fishing lochs are literally on Kaya's luxurious and modern doorstep.

Scorralee Bed and BreakfastMr & Mrs E B Clouston
Scorradale Road
Orkney, KW17 2RF
Tel: 01856 811268
Mobile: 07836 661221
Scorralee Bed and Breakfast and Self Catering Lodges
3 Star VisitScotland Rating

An Orcadian family-run Bed and Breakfast in private house overlooking the famous Scapa Flow - haven for the navy in the wars. Walks and birdwatching and famous sites nearby.

Cleatfurrows Self CateringSarah Withers,
Orkney, KW17 2LX
Tel: 020 7681 4980
Mobile: 07798 523844
Cleatfurrows Self Catering
Cleatfurrows is a farmhouse on the shore in Birsay. The whole house can accommodate up to 11 people (2 on a sofa bed + a child size bed) or it can be divided to sleep 4 in either end.

Instabillie Self Catering Karen Brass,
Kardale, Sandwick,
Tel: 01856 841733
Mobile: 07753 378917
Instabillie Self Catering
2 newly renovated tradition Orkney cottages, each with 3 bedrooms. Fantastic location overlooking the Bay of Skaill and the west mainland and just over a mile from the world famous neolithic village of Skara Brae.

Ocean View - Birsay Cottage David and Susie Sinclair,
Cashelmara, Stromness,
Tel: 01856 851221
Ocean View - Birsay Cottage
Ocean View is a newly renovated self catering cottage located in Birsay, close to the Brough of Birsay and Marwick Head. As well as being a very comfortable place to stay it is also virtually 100% energy efficient with it's very own windmill! Dogs are welcome.

Queena Cottage Caravan Linda and John Russell,
Queena Cottage,
Orkney, KW17 2NS
Tel: 01856 721435
Mobile: 07878 193710
Queena Cottage Caravan
Linda and John welcome you to their Self-Catering Holiday Caravan which sleeps up to 7 and has panoramic farmland views. Ideally located for free trout-fishing in the 5 nearby lochs, bird watching, spectacular coastal walks, historic sites and to enjoy the natural beauty of the Orkney Islands. We look forward to your visit. Prices £120 to £200 per week.

Rickla 5 star Self CateringStewart Anderson,
KW17 2JT
Tel: +44 (0)1856 761575
Mobile: 07776 250652
Rickla Self Catering
5 Star VisitScotland Rating

Super-luxurious self-catering accomodation, centrally situated yet completely secluded. Rated in the top three in Scotland.

Russland MillSenan Kelleher,
Russland Mill,
KW17 2LE
Mobile: 07771 392878
Russland Mill

Russland Mill was built in 1876, and has been renovated into a stunning 3 bedroom house, sleeping 6. The Mill is subtle, modern and comfortable - with views of Harray Loch and an attic bedroom! The Mill is ideal for fishing enthusiasts and is close to the historic sites.

Shorelines Gallery AccommodationJane Glue,
Shorelines Gallery Accommodation
Maitland Place,
Orkney, KW17 2EQ
Tel: 01856 761142
Shorelines Gallery
- Accommodation
Attached to the Shorelines Gallery (but with separate access) is the Shorelines Accommodation, which is equipped to a high standard, has a glass end and walled garden with sea views.

Widefirth CottagesGreig Sinclair,
The Riff Cottage,
Orkney, KW17 2PB
Tel: 01856 761028
Widefirth Cottages
4 Star VisitScotland Rating
Picturesquely situated in a quiet working farm environment with panoramic views over Widefirth Bay. Master bedroom with four-poster bed and en-suite bathroom. Spacious family bathroom has luxurious spa bath.
Open all year. Dogs by arrangement.
Prices from 250.00.

Fluke JewelleryRoger Philby,
Fluke Jewellery,
Orkney, KW17 2ND
Tel: 01856 721343
Fluke Jewellery
Marine & Wildlife Workshop/Gallery
Stunning silver jewellery reflecting the beauty of marinelife and wildlife found around the Orkney Islands. Come and visit Roger and Jo at their workshop/gallery overlooking the beautiful Brough and Bay of Birsay. Open: Mon - Fri 11am - 5pm from April to Sept. inclusive. Other times if we are in, we are open!

Shorelines GalleryJane Glue,
Shorelines Gallery and Studio,
Maitland Place,
Orkney, KW17 2EQ
Tel: 01856 761142
Shorelines Gallery and Studio

Shorelines Gallery sells prints and originals
by Orkney Artist, Jane Glue, and is open
Mon to Sat 4.30 to 5.30pm from April to Dec. Painting classes are also available.

Yellowbird Gallery - Smoked fire ceramic birds Yellowbird Gallery
Chocolate Cottage,
Orkney KW17 2LT
Tel: 01856 721360
Yellowbird Gallery
- Jon Thompson and Lesley Murdoch

Orkney landscapes,
Smoke-fired ceramic birds and Bird art

Brough of Birsay photo © Fraser Dixon, Skara Brae interior photo © Magnus Dixon, Brodgar photo © Fraser Dixon, Maeshowe photo © Fraser Dixon,
Marwick Head photo © Fraser Dixon, Corrigall Farm Museum kittens photo © Victoria Dixon. All text © Magnus Dixon.
GMB extract © The Estate of George Mackay Brown.

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