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


Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork


12/09/2021 – Jarlshof – just saying the word out loud makes me happy. I love it round here. The whole area, Old Scatness, Ness of Burgi, Jarlshof and up to Sumburgh Head which has my favourite trigpoint. The beaches, cliffs, even the airport, hotel and coffee shop. The bottom bit of Shetland is just great. As fine a place for a long weekend as you could wish for. Summer's best for birds. Even in mid September there’s stuff still about. We were lucky and saw minke whale the day before in the bay.

This was our first big adventure since March 2020 when half way through a trip to Wales, lockdown loomed and we had to head home. 18 months of not really mixing with folk, we were nervous setting off on our trip. Picked Orkney and Shetland as we love these places and thought they should be quiet. We had been lucky to visit Sumburgh a couple of times before. Ending our big trip at Jarlshof seemed perfect.

We stayed at the Sumburgh Hotel. It’s a really nice place. Proper friendly and right next to Jarlshof. Room 32 has a great view of the site and the bay.

We visited Jarlshof the day before in the rain. As today was our last day, we thought we’d go again. Visitor centre is closed at the moment but you can still walk round. We got up early. Jarlshof before breakfast sounded good to me.

Jarlshof has to be one of my favourite sites. The history here is amazing. It’s a 4000 year timeline that you get to walk around. But most of all, I love the stones. The colours and shapes are just so good. Revisiting places, you always see things you missed the first time. The broch has a ‘well’ like the one we had seen in Broch of Gurness just a few days back. I didn’t remember this from last time. I like all the twisting paths, doorways and curved walls. Very exciting to walk around. Soon it was time to head back and pack for our trip home. We stood for a while, looking out to sea, Sumburgh Head and far away Fair Isle. It felt good to be adventuring again.
thelonious Posted by thelonious
18th September 2021ce
Edited 18th September 2021ce

Comments (2)

I've really enjoyed your notes and photos from this trip. We had, once upon a time, thought about an Orkney and Shetland trip this year, never having been before, but it wasn't to be. Your adventures make me realise that a car-less trip taking in both island groups is actually do-able. I'm really pleased that you're back out adventuring again. thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
18th September 2021ce
Thanks tsc. It was a good holiday. Buses are pretty good in both places. Mainly went for the journey, connecting Aberdeen-Orkney-Shetland and back home is something I'd wanted to do for a while. I love ferries. Very exciting. We based ourselves in Stromess as it's good for Stenness etc. and the early morning ferry to wonderful Hoy. On Shetland, buses go most places. I think even Mousa broch is do-able by public transport as our bus down to Sumburgh passed the pier where the boat goes from.

No car means only visiting 1-2 places a day instead of 4-5 but that's no bad thing. If there were 2-3 hours to the bus back, we just took our time at the place we were in. Sometimes with the car, I'm thinking about the next place and the next always. Public transport slows my brain, which I like. I was fair chuffed getting to the Dwarfie Stane from Aberdeen without a car. I like the planning.

I hope you get the chance to visit both island groups sometime, they are wonderful.
thelonious Posted by thelonious
19th September 2021ce
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