Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Awa' We Go!

Recently Mark and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. We decided to spend a few days on holiday on Europe's 4th most popular island, and I know what you're thinking,
no, wait I don't know what you're thinking...

But I do know it's NOT what you're thinking.
We went to Orkney, Scotland.

Orkney is a magical group of islands just off the northern mainland of Great Britain. We drove up to one of the northernmost points in Scotland, got on a ferry, and traveled to Stromness, Orkney to spend a few days.
We did this whilst my parents were here (SCORE for babysitters!), but we do have a baby. 
And wither goest the cow, goest thou calf. 
But we like hangin' with Airdrie, she's cool.

I will be the first to tell you, I loathe "selfies."
But I made an exception because we made a quick stop by one of my favouritest places in this country: Tain Pottery.
The reasons I am not a fan of selfies are numerous; 
one of them being I look like a gigantic pear in the curved reflection on our car.

No time to stop, we're running a tight schedule, Jack!
This was a drive-by castle sighting. 
This is Dunrobin Castle, and it's amazing.

You can't read it, but the sign in the background says, "Caithness." 
We drove through Caithness, Scotland and boy was it remote.

Oh hi ferry!
I love me some giant ferries.
I do realise that sounds terrifying if being read aloud out of context....

And we're off!
If you're wondering, "Hey Jordan, do you walk like a drunken sailor whilst aboard a moving ship?"
I'll not dignify that question with a response.

This is a rock formation known as "The Old Man of Hoy."
It's off the island "Hoy" in the Orkney Islands.

Fun panoramic shot off the stern of the ship.

Stone circle! These are the Stones of Stenness.

Did you know Orkney is the heart of many of Europe's neolithic sites?
Well neither did I!
But by golly Mark and I drove all over that island to find 'em.
We are not the type of people to go for posh vacations. 
Give us some Keens and a GPS and we'll hike all over creation in celebration of a decade of marriage!
We went to St. Louis Science Center for our first anniversary.
Mark proposed to me in Bass Pro Shops in Dallas.

It is my sincere hope that they never find stone circles to be some sort of cemetery or place to be respected.
Because we're having a neolithic ball.

How many people can say they've planked on a stone circle?
Please don't let this be a graveyard....

THIS place is cool.
This is Skara Brae, an incredible well-preserved village from around 3200 - 2200 BC.
These houses are 5,000 years old.
There were things like running water (they think), 
dressers, fireplaces, ventilation engineering, and box beds.
It was amazing.

Look at that preservation, wow!
Mark's pointing to the dresser in the house.
I'm looking like I want to audition for the next Les Miserables production.

The houses are subterranean (underground) with their original roofs long since gone. 
It always gets to me how the neolithic people created such perfect lines in the sidewalks outside the houses.
I am totally kidding.

I know they called their local cement guy to set forms.

Right beside Skara Brae is Skaill House. 
It's a mansion built in 1620 and is FULL of fun period pieces and artefacts.
I took pictures inside but with my rockin' photography skills it all looks like dusty books and threadbare needlepoint. 
I'll spare y'all that.

You're welcomed.

A baby's gotta eat.
While I sat in the car feeding Airdrie Mark put his waders on and grabbed his fly rod.

He had a few bites but didn't catch anything, apparently Scottish fish don't like American flies.
I had fun watching the swans stalk Mark.

Next stop: The Italian Chapel.
This is a Roman Catholic chapel built by Italian WWII prisoners.

 Italian POW's were housed up in Orkney to build causeways to link the islands to prevent any sneak attacks. They were granted permission to construct a place of worship within the POW camp and made use of very limited resources to create an incredible end result.

Look how cool it is!
This table is from wood from a shipwreck.
The candelabras: scrap metal.

Lanterns from scrap tin.

All the "stone work"...

The artist was the Italian prisoner, Domenico Chiocchetti.

Probably the most amazing part is that it was created from 2 Nissen huts!

Thus ends my history lesson...
on that site.

We drove by this St. Magnus' Cathedral built by a Viking earl.
Kirkwall has a real parking problem. We circled around this for 10 minutes before giving up and resorting to a few snapshots from the car.

One super cool place we visited was the Brough of Birsay.
You can see it looking somewhat like an island on the middle left of the photo.

Looking north off the northern tip of the Orkney mainland at the North Sea.
The waves were crazy HUGE and the water lovely turquoise.

I'll reveal to you that one of my fears in life is: waves.
They are terrifying to me.
It's after 8 p.m., but we're adventurous!
I snuggled Airdrie in her Moby wrap inside my coat and awa' we went!

The Brough of Birsay is a tidal island that can be reached by a causeway at low tide.
Those waves in the background--like 10 ft tall!

The draw of this tidal island?
Remains of both Pictish and Norse settlements, including an ancient church!

Sea birds' eggs nestled within the walls of the monks sanctuary.
I'm telling you we LOVE this stuff!

How awesome is it to walk around inside the remains of these ancient houses?

Sorry I shouted.
This stuff excites me.

We also quickly went by the Ring of Brodgar, Maeshowe, the Earl's Palace, and a few others. We just didn't have the time to see it all! 
We're blessed to live in this country with all this rich heritage at our fingertips!

I do realise that's a lot of selfies for a self-proclaimed selfie-loather.
But it's rather boring just having scenery shots from an average photographer. 

And Anderson clicked the button on all of them... 
So he was the one taking all the selfies.
For shame.

Please don't let it be a burial grounds....


  1. 10 years????? Amazing. I love reading your blog. You're pretty much the most hilarious person ever. I loved the, "You're welcomed." Don't know if that was on purpose, but it was my favorite part. LOL love you!

  2. Congratulations on your anniversary! Totally jealous of your trip....I'm a HAH friend of Mark's mom, the pics....and the history nerdiness.......(autocorrect kept changing it to neediness, lol)......and from a fellow history nerd....don't worry about the standing stones....if they are graves, they are probably over really fun and cool dead people....and I've heard theories they are time portals, which sounds way cooler to me....thanks for sharing your life in Scotland.