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Westray Archaeology

archaeology on Westray

Potboiler in the midden - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Pot boiler in the midden

Westray has more archaeology than archaeologists. That means we are losing the most incredible evidence of previous civilisations with every tide and …

Pot boiler - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

A pot boiler

Imagine you have no technology other than fire, stone, wood and bone. How would you cook food, other than directly by roasting …

Knowe o' Skea - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Westray from the Knowe o’ Skea

I love the walk from Mae Sands to the Knowe o’ Skea. It’s a magical place, where currents meet, the sea boils and where an Iron Age burial ground gives views out towards the island of Rousay.

The top 10 reasons you shouldn't visit Westray - from

The top 10 reasons you shouldn’t visit Westray

Friends and relatives often ask me whether Westray is a good place to visit and my answer is always very clear. “No,” I say. “I wouldn’t recommend it.” Here then are my top ten reasons why you should never visit Westray.

Noust - photograph (c) 2016 David Bailey (not the)


The outrageous thing about several of these nousts, designed to provide protection to boats pulled up onto the shore, is that they …

The Knowe of Queen o' Howe

Grassy Knoll

On Westray, if there’s a lump in a field, it’s either rubbish dumped by a farmer or an incredibly precious and very …

On the edge - photograph (c) David Bailey 2016

On the edge

Just how close are these two 5,600 year old houses to being lost to the sea? It was a thrill to fly …

Limpets in the midden

Limpets in the midden

What we throw away tells a lot about us. A quick look at my bin would tell you I like an occasional …



It’s a new word for me. A manuport; Something brought by a human from one place to another. Something which shows conscious …

Noltland Panorama

Noltland Panorama

Noltland Castle is a wonderful castle with panoramic views of Pierowall and its bay. Here’s a 360 panorama taken with a Spinner …

Driftwood and whalebone

Driftwood and whalebone

The lack of trees on Orkney has meant that generations of people have relied upon driftwood and whalebone for building materials. Orkney’s …

Links to our past

Links to our past

Coastal erosion at the Links of Noltland leaves scattered stones over a neolithic settlement quicky disappearing with the wind.

Wind Swept Away

Wind Swept Away

The dunes at the Links of Noltland show their erosion by the wind – the grass tufts left are six feet above …

A 5000 year old necklace

A 5000 year old necklace

I’m standing next to a 5000 year old house looking at a bead from a 5000 year old necklace. It was made …

Westray Wife

Second place is nowhere

The most important archaeological find of last year was found on the remote Orkney island of Westray; or at least it was …


Lady Kirk

In 1136, Earl Rognvald went to church at Pierowall in Westray at the start of his campaign to subjugate Orkney. Or at …

Knowe o' Skea

The Knowe o’ Skea

Looking out from the Knowe o’ Skea Iron age burial ground across the skerries towards Rousay in the distance.

Ten Percent

Today is an important day in Orkney. It’s a Thursday so it’s the publication day of The Orcadian and Orkney Today newspapers. …