Tomb of the Eagles & Banks Chambered Tomb

[Getting into Tomb of the Eagles is aided by a helpful trolley!]

Right at the far, southern tip of South Ronaldsay, there are a couple of chambered cairns which offer something a little different to the rest of Orkney's tombs. Tomb of the Eagles (which used to be known as Isbister Chambered Cairn) is the most popular site: thirty human skulls as well as the remains of fourteen sea eagles were found upon excavation by a local farmer in 1958 - did eagles have some sort of special significance to this tribe? The site is a scenic half mile walk, via a Bronze Age burnt mound, from the excellent visitor centre where not only can you view dozens of the artefacts found inside the tomb, but even hold some of them - almost a unique experience on Orkney. Not to be outdone, part of Banks Chambered Tomb still contains human remains - a rather chilling experience as you crawl around in the rest of the confined space - as well as liberal quantities of otter spraint. Eagles at Isbister, otters at Banks? Entrance to Banks Chambered Tomb is by guided tour from Skerries Bistro, which serves classy seafood dishes. Oh, and you can handle some of the artefacts here too.

[Liddle Burnt Mound]

Name: Banks Chambered Tomb ★★☆☆ or Tomb of the Otters
Description: Solid bedrock tomb discovered in 2010, still containing human remains.
Location: Minor road end 2 miles east of Burwick, G.R.: ND 458834 / grades pythons ranked
Open (2017): April onwards (probably Sunday to Friday but not specified on website)
Cost (2017): £6 (adults), £3 (children)
Anything else? Limited numbers for the tours - leave plenty of time in case you have to wait.

Name: Tomb of the Eagles ★★★☆ or Isbister Chambered Cairn
Description: Spacious chambered cairn with an interesting visitor centre where you can hold some of the artefacts found inside when the tomb was excavated.
Location (visitor centre): Minor road end 2 miles east of Burwick, G.R.: ND 462838 / tens worldwide brotherly
Open (2017): Daily, March to October (limited hours outwith summer)
Cost (2017): £7.50 (adults), £2.50/£3.50 (children)

[Ham Geo, on the coastal route back to the visitor centre from Tomb of the Eagles]

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