Historic Rousay - "Egypt of the North"

[Midhowe Chambered Cairn]

Visit Orkney and you're likely to hear the phrase, "scratch the surface of Orkney and it bleeds history". Nowhere more so than little Rousay: the road that circumnavigates the island is only fourteen miles long, but the number of archaeological sites discovered so far numbers in the hundreds - even better, all of them are free. The island's nickname, Egypt of the North, is apt. The most famous sites are clustered on the southwest side of the island with beautiful views towards Eynhallow and its ruined church, and beyond towards the Broch of Gurness on Mainland. The Taversoe Hotel is probably the best place for a meal, with other options near the ferry terminal. Finally, don't start thinking that everything interesting on Rousay is manmade. Much of the moorland interior is an SSSI for its bird and plant life, and there are plenty of interesting coastal features as well, Sacquoy Head included.

[Midhowe Broch]

Name: Blackhammer Chambered Cairn ☆☆☆
Description: Seven-stalled burial cairn close to road, today capped by a rather ugly concrete roof.
Location: B9064 just under 2 miles west of the ferry terminal, G.R.: HY 414276 / divisions paraded stint
Open: Always
Cost: Free

Name: Knowe of Yarso Chambered Cairn ★☆☆
Description: Large, 5,000-year-old stalled tomb with good views over Eynhallow Sound.
Location: B9064 just over 2 miles west of the ferry terminal, G.R.: HY 405279 / fresh spectacle pounce
Open: Always
Cost: Free
Anything else? The cairn is 500 metres' walk uphill from the dedicated parking area on a narrow moorland path, steep in places.

Name: Midhowe Broch ★★☆
Description: Probably Orkney's best preserved broch, the interior crowded with iron age furniture and partitioned rooms.
Location: Off B9064, west coast of Rousay, G.R.: HY 372306 / debut most important
Open: Always
Cost: Free
Anything else? Same parking as for Midhowe Cairn below, but a 2-minute walk further north along the coast.

Name: Midhowe Chambered Cairn ★★☆
Description: Absolutely vast chambered tomb dating back to Neolithic times, protected from the elements by a hangar-like structure which also allows viewing from above.
Location: Off B9064, west coast of Rousay, G.R.: HY 373305 / item coverings third
Open: Always
Cost: Free
Anything else? By the coast, 500 metres steeply downhill from signposted parking area on a grassy path.

Name: Taversöe Tuick Chambered Cairn ★☆☆
Description: Unusual 2-storey, triple-chambered tomb, originally all with separate entrances.
Location: B9064 under a mile west of the ferry terminal, G.R.: HY 426277 / skipped burn heaven
Open: Always
Cost: Free
Anything else? 300 metres uphill from dedicated layby on coast road on a fairly wide path.

[Access hatch to Taversöe Tuick's third chamber]

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