Happy Winter Solstice, I always look forward to this day as I feel that we are at least on the way to the lovely long light summer nights that we enjoy here in Scotland, and that doesn’t half cheer me up.
You might find the video below interesting. We visited Maeshowe Chambered Cairn a few years ago when we had a holiday in Orkney, we enjoyed the islands so much we’re going again this coming summer – all going well! You can read about Maeshowe and the Winter Solstice here.
Ever since I realised that Maeshowe existed I’ve wanted to go there as I’ve always had an interest in Neolithic (Stone Age) monuments and their significance to the winter/summer solstices. Maeshowe is aligned with the winter solstice and the sun shines onto the back wall of the tomb then – if it is a sunny day of course! As you can see, from a distance Maeshowe is a green mound, Orkney is full of such mounds but only a tiny amount of them have been excavated – exciting stuff. If I lived there I’d be tempted to get my trowel out, especially as one woman told me that every time she dug in her garden she found something ancient and interesting.
You can see a photo of the interior here.
You have to go on an escorted tour to get into Maeshowe and unfortunately they don’t let you take any photos of the inside of it, not that there is much room to do that anyway. The tomb is 5,000 years old but in more modern times, 1153, some Vikings broke into it to shelter from a snowstorm which lasted for days and they filled in the time by carving runes on the walls, you can read more about that incident here.
Below is a photo of the entrance and you have to bend almost double for about six yards/metres in a tunnel before you reach the interior.
The land around Maeshowe has cows grazing all around it and one American father pointed out to his wee boy that a calf was getting a drink of milk from its mother – he said: These are happy cows. I don’t think they had ever seen anything so rural before.
The photo below is looking over from Maeshowe to the Stones of Stenness and the Ness of Brodgar.
There’s a lot more information on Maeshowe here if you’re interested.