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.

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Otters crossing.

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Heather.

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Had a crawl into Cuween Hill Cairn which is a tomb from 3000 BCE. Glad I brought my bike light.

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Cuween Hill wide shot.

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.

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In Harray there is a potter. Can you guess what they're called?

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Views from the glorious National Cycle Network Route 1 in Orkney.

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Speaking of which, if you need a wizarding name, this might work for you.

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Wheels in the Atlantic.

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Me with my bike at Birsay

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More scenes from near Birsay.

I stopped at Birsay for a late lunch. After I met some intrepid sea kayakers who I chatted with. Their kayak was called Nordkapp!

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Roger from Hebden Bridge and Fiona from Fort William.

I was 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. Apparently, in 1814, a tenant farmer nearly dynamited them but was stopped by the local community.

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I was too late to visit Skara Brae

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I found the home of Eliza Fraser who Fraser Island in Australia is named after
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The Standing Stones of Stenness were raised about 5000 years ago.

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Standing stone silhouette.

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Standing Stones unwrapped

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Passing place

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In the Standing Stones of Stenness

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