Orkney Elementals – Earth

Where the land meets the sea earth is seen and in the Orkney Isles that can mean both hard jagged cliffs of North Tang:

North Tang Cliffs or anything from pebble and gritty beaches to soft sand of Sands of Wright:

Sand of Wright Beachfurther from the shore on the edge of Kirkgeo beach more recognizable earth forms the walls of an earthly burrow with the only evidence of its last inhabitant being an old crab claw:

Burrow on Kirkgeo Beachwhile at the edge of Scapa beach the earth brings forth its bounty.

Wheat on Scapa BeachOrkney is rich with farm land for the plough:

plough and for livestock both the sheep with their newly born lambs:

newly born lambs

and cattle, like the young ladies who lived on the farm where we stayed:

The young ladies

along with the chickens that picked for goodies in the earth if we had not thrown them something tasty to pick at already:

chookI think Hubby was starting to worry about my sanity as I would chatter away to them always pausing Baby on the farm track beside the ladies to ask how they were doing today.

Those who have lived off the earth down through the centuries for many years had their own existence buried beneath mounds of earth.

MaeshoweLike Maeshowe you can read about its possible story here.  I say possible because what became increasingly clear to us during our stay was the one common denominator between all these neolithic and early sites is that there is no real evidence, only theories, as to what these structures and standing stones were really for.  Just how were they used, how did they mange such engineering without modern day tools and why they were abandoned?  Maybe we will never know, maybe the more recently found Tomb of the Otters will give us some clues, either confirming current theories or opening up new horizons as to how our ancestors lived and the rich variety of their lives and culture.

Tomb of the OttersThe Tomb of the Otters, or Banks Tomb, had remained undisturbed since it was last used and while it has now been opening it still containing layers of human remains between layers of otter scat and clay.  It is not just this site however, but also many other sites which still lay beneath mounds of earth all over the islands, some silently declaring their hidden presence by the great mound of earth on otherwise flat lands.  You can read about Tomb of the Otters here.

I can’t really pass by the earth element without this picture from the Ring of Brodgar:

Lightening Stone

there will be more pictures from the UK’s third largest stone ring in a future post but for now it is just this one stone.  On the 5th June 1980 this stone earthed a lightning bolt as its energy fractured the ancient stone sentinel.  I suppose I maybe should have started with this picture as fire the element from yesterday meets finds the earth.

What will people in 5,000 years time make of Stroma, the now abandoned island in the Pentland Firth technically just south of the Orkney’s and part of Caithness.  The last resident left in the early 60’s now only sheep graze and shepherds visit its earth.

StromaWhile in millions of years what fossils will the holiday makers to Orkney view in the local museums with the pressure of time and conditions transforming today’s earth and its creatures into stone?

fossil shrimp


6 thoughts on “Orkney Elementals – Earth

  1. Pingback: Orcadian Odyssey Part 7 | Flying the Camel

  2. Don’t know if you caught that special programme a while ago on the Ness of Brodgar? The discoveries there are turning everything on its head.


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