Foraging & Outings

A walk to the Stenness and Brodgar stones

Written by Bernie Bell

A soggy Sunday, then the day cleared and we went for a walk, pretty much following this route.

In the Stenness Stones car park there were discarded masks – again …

 I’m angered at this, but also pleased enough that some folk are still wearing masks!

 Fine sheep in among the stones ….

The dig at the Ness of Brodgar has recommenced but only on week days, so as it was Sunday we just leant wistfully on the gate and … looked ….

Then along by the Harray Loch to the birdy walk, and round the Ring of Brodgar where we were talking with one of the HES Rangers, talking of the stone with a possible cup mark as mentioned here … and of how Prof. Colin Richards noticed that the stones of Brodgar had come from different quarries around Orkney. Elaine told us that the particular stone we were discussing had come from a quarry near Houton.

When we got home we were wondering whether the stones as they are placed around the Ring reflect where they came from? For example – going overland from the stones which came from Houton – do you arrive at Houton? Overland from the stones from the Staneyhill quarry – do you get to Staneyhill?

That way the groups of people would not only be represented by the stones from their part of Orkney and the part of the ditch which they carved out – they would also be physically connected with and ‘drawn to’ the Ring. The circle of the Ring – sending out ‘spokes’ to the communities and their quarries. I’m not sure if I’ve explained that very well – but I hope I got the idea across. Maybe someone has studied this and written about it but as a non-academic I’m not aware of it. I like the idea of all that energy and endeavour focused on the Ring, from the communities and their quarries.

Rangers Sandra Miller and Elaine Clarke of Historic Environment Scotland provided a guided walk at the Ring of Brodgar in the 2022 Orkney International Science Festival, describing the site, its history and archaeological investigations, and its place in Orkney’s Neolithic past.

About the author

Bernie Bell

Bernie Bell lives in Orkney, is interested in everything – wonders about many things – is confused by many things. “It makes life interesting – or should I say even more interesting.”