Brough of Birsay

[Norse settlement and causeway, Brough of Birsay]

From a distance the Brough of Birsay looks like a featureless, grassy slope of an island, well under a kilometre across at its widest point. But peel away the surface, like archaeologists have already done here, and you can explore a Viking settlement and Romanesque monastery on the eastern half of the island. Head to the west side along one of the numerous coastal paths and you'll find cliffs home to puffins and other seabirds in early summer, overlooked by a stumpy lighthouse. The path to the island from Birsay is via a tidal causeway flanked by some of the most sealife-rich rockpools anywhere in the UK.

[Brough of Birsay lighthouse]

Name: Brough of Birsay (buildings) ★☆☆
Description: Interesting complex of Pictish, Viking and later buildings on the eastern slopes of the island.
Location (visitor centre): End of the causeway, off the northwest tip of Orkney Mainland, G.R.: HY 239285 / soccer reseller hike
Open (2017): Always (visitor centre: Daily, mid-June to September)
Cost (2017): £4.50 (adults), £2.70 (children), free for Historic Environment Scotland members. Charges apply only during visitor centre opening hours.
Anything else? Access is on foot by a 300-metre concrete tidal causeway. Be aware of safe crossing times and leave plenty of time to explore the island before returning.

Name: Brough of Birsay (island) ★☆☆
Description: Tidal island with lighthouse and 40-metre cliffs home to puffins and other seabirds in season, overlooked by a lighthouse accessed by a a causeway surrounded by rockpools teeming with life.
Location (lighthouse): North-west tip of Brough of Birsay, G.R.: HY 234286 / spin pebble samplers
Open: Always
Cost: Charges apply if the visitor centre is open - see above.
Anything else? Tidal causeway (see above), with lighthouse and cliffs a further 500 metres on grassy paths.

[Rockpools surrounding the causeway are rich in sealife]

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