Visiting Skara Brae was quite the journey for me on my third visit to Scotland. This Neolithic Settlement is located on the Bay of Skaill, on the largest island of Orkney, which is an archipelago of Scotland. Orkeny is at the tip of northeastern Scotland, and quite a ways from Edinburgh or Inverness. I felt that if you really wanted to visit this location, you would really have to want it.
Skara Brae is a remarkable place to visit. The site dates back to roughly 3180 BC to about 2500BC, and it is considered to be Europe’s most complete Neolithic village. It consists of ten clustered flagstone homes set in earthen dams, which provided wall support. The houses included beds, cupboards, stone hearths, as well as a primitive sewer system. These sewer systems had toilets of the day, with drains in each home that carried waste into the ocean.
In 1999, Skara Brae was inscripted as part of “Heart of Neolithic Orkney”, the title under UNESCO World Heritage Site. According to UNESCO’s website “The group of Neolithic monuments on Orkney consists of a large chambered tomb (Maes Howe), two ceremonial stone circles (the Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar) and a settlement (Skara Brae), together with a number of unexcavated burial, ceremonial and settlement sites. The group constitutes a major prehistoric cultural landscape which gives a graphic depiction of life in this remote archipelago in the far north of Scotland some 5,000 years ago.”
There is also a replica house, which is worth the visit. The house is a replica of House 7, which is the best preserved home in the village. The reconstructions provides an interesting look of what life was like for the residents of Skara Brake, the dark flagstone passages into each room all set beneath the ground.
Getting to Skara Brae:
Skara Brae is located on the archipelago of Orkney Islands, and there are several reputable online tours that will take you throughout the Island. I had chosen a tour that included a round trip ride from the city of Inverness through John O’ Groats Ferries.
Since this is the tip of Scotland be prepared for windy and chilly weather, so remember to dress warmly and in layers. Also wear sturdy closed shoes that are comfortable since you may be walking on uneven surfaces.
Photos of Skara Brae
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