The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

The Dwarfie Stane

Chambered Tomb


08/09/2021 – Going back for a second time is always a risk. First visit was back in 2013. Seeing the Dwarfie Stane for the first time was close to perfect. Returning had me worried. It just couldn’t be as good and I didn’t want anything to mess with my memory of that day.

We hadn’t planned another trip to Hoy this week (we were there just two days back walking on the hill Cuilags). The pull of the stone proved too strong. We took the 7.30am ferry from Stromness to Hoy and with the whole day ahead of us, we made our way to the site. Weather was good today and it’s a nice walk on a quiet road round Ward Hill to the signposted path off to the Dwarfie Stane. Midges were a little nippy this morning though.

The approach is good over boardwalks and builds the anticipation nicely. No one there when we reached the stone. Just us, the stone and the quiet landscape. It’s a really peaceful location. Felt like meeting an old friend. Still very, very good. The rock-cut tomb is a wonder and a must visit if you get the chance. Outside the entrance is the blocking stone. What I missed the first time was a ‘rejected’ blocking stone laying some 30m ESE. It’s a good one. The setting with the Dwarfie Hamars behind is wow.

We headed west to look for a big stone I remembered seeing last time. I guessed it was the St Patrick’s Stone mentioned by both wideford and Rhiannon in earlier posts. It’s about 300m away from the Dwarfie Stane. I couldn’t see any cup marks on it, holes yes but all looking natural to me. It’s a nice erratic.

Next we made the short but tough walk SE to climb Dwarfie Hamars. I really wanted to see the Dwarfie Stane from up above the Hamars. It was worth the effort. The view down is just fantastic and seeing the stane’s setting within the landscape is very special. The top is a very good place to sit and rest. Maybe not great in breeding season due to dive bombing bonxies and eagles also nest on Dwarfie Hamars so best to avoid at these times.

After a brew and a snack, we carried on along the edge to our next stop. I’d read about a cave high up on the Hamars on Canmore and also Orkneyjar. A rock shelter maybe used in prehistory by the folk who cut out the Dwarfie Stane? People are just guessing but I like an adventure. We looped passed the last of the crags and turned back across the side of the hill to make our way to the grid reference we had. It’s a bit tricky to get there and a little scrambly at times, nothing too bad. The ‘Rock Shelter’ was nice with a fine view.

We headed back over rough ground to the Dwarfie Stane for one last view and to say goodbye before making our way along the road again to the ferry to the mainland. Worth mentioning the lovely Beneth'ill Cafe near the pier, it’s good.

I’ll post up a few photos of the St Patrick’s Stone and the cave.

It’s a proper adventure to get to, the Dwarfie Stane is a amazing place. I shouldn’t have worried about visiting again. The wonder and magic of this site is always going to be here.
thelonious Posted by thelonious
14th September 2021ce
Edited 14th September 2021ce

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