Entering the enclosure the second thing I noticed after the cairn itself was a shallow trench all around the ege of the mound, and outside that a lot of stones of decent size. Canmore says "bounded by a wall-face of horizontally laid stones. Surrounding the cairn is a spread of loose flat stones forming a sort of platform. An alley, clear of stones, led through it up to the W edge of the cairn". Alley past tense. Before tackling the mound I investigated the other piece of the puzzle. This now has an angled metal door that swings out. This is where a fold-out screen comes in useful, sitting down on the horizontal stone and sticking the camera inside on wide angle. Then up to the main prize. I was very careful with the ladder in the cairn, starting face forward at the start, and the space between the rungs is over-large so that it would be all too easy for the whole leg to slip between them - I would have preferred to have someone with me just in case !
My first double-deckered chambered cairn! Topped with a rounded concrete roof with skylight, this tomb is a tardis. You enter via the back into the upper deck, which has 'stalls' in the typically Orcadian fashion. There's hole in the middle with a metal ladder to climb down into lower deck. The lower chamber is as big as the upper with a side chamber, if I remember rightly, and long passageway (the original entrance) facing to the front - and the sea. Because of the slope of the ground, it makes perfect sense that the tomb is split level. What impressed me is the sheer size of the flat stones that make up the floor or the upper deck/ceiling of the lower deck and the perfection of the masonry built round it.
The whole place had the feeling of a ship - tight for space and neat compartments.
I was intrigued by the luminous green powdery lichen growing inside the tomb, which made it look as if alien blood had been spilled. This appears to grow in all of Rousay's tombs.
Outside, at the front, is a metal hatch which protects another chamber, but is outside the main mound.
Taversoe Tuick, Rousay
This is an intriguing tomb- three parts to it and all were separate at one point til a slab was moved from the floor of the top chamber and ladders placed in to the lower chamber (the first and probably only time I've seen ladders in a cairn!). Climbing down the ladders a passage leads you ending in a metal grill to look back into the outside world. Don't miss the third part of this place- a small 'mini-tomb' built into the mound and accessed through a big wooden door. It's not big (!) and has four large upright stones supporting the structure. The original roof on the main chamber has gone, so no need for torches etc.