Cycling the Atlantic coast of Europe from north to south during the summer of 2017. View the archive, the route so far, or donate to MSF.

Orkadian cycles

By Stuart Lowe on

With a hotel breakfast in me, and sun in the sky, I decided to delay my full rest day and cycle around Orkney. Compared to Norway it was pretty flat although there was some wind from the north east.

I cycled anticlockwise around the island, visiting a few neolithic sites. At Cuween Hill there was a 3000 year old burial chamber you could crawl into. There were some torches in a box outside but their batteries were low. I was glad to have my bike light with me.

I had to battle the wind to get to the north east of the mainland but then things got easier with the wind partly behind me.

I stopped at Birsay for a late lunch and then was too late to get into Skara Brae. A detour to Stromness to find a fish and chip shop turned up nothing. On the way back to Kirkwall I visited the stones of Stenness. You can hardly move in Orkney without tripping over a 3000, 4000, or 5000 year old structure. Fascinatingly, gaelic had never made it to Orkney. There had been the Picts and Norwegians so Orkadians see themselves as separate to Scotland.

I cycled into Kirkwall by 8pm and went back to the fish and chip shop from last night.