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

Knap of Howar

Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork


Visited August 1997: We spent a really beautiful and leisurely day on Papa Westray (or Papay as it's affectionately called), most of it hanging out at the Knap of Howar. It was a warm day, so we just sat there talking for ages, wondering about the houses and looking out to sea.

The Knap of Howar is the oldest known inhabited structure in northern Europe! It's older than Skara Brae, and a lot less commercialised. It's hard to believe just how open access the site is, especially considering it's age. You can just wonder in and take a really close look, which is far from the case at Skara Brae. We were at the site for hours, and we only bumped in to some people as we left.

The whole island is very far removed from life on the mainland (both the Orkney mainland and the British mainland). There's practically no traffic on Papay, and we saw very few people. Our visit was at the height of the tourist season and the weather had been especially good, so I can't imagine how quiet it must be off-season!

My only regret is that we never made it to the Holm of Papay to see the chambered cairns there. If you go to Papay, don't be lulled into such a sense of serenity that you miss the ferry to the Holm of Papay (that's what happened to us).
Kammer Posted by Kammer
4th October 2002ce
Edited 22nd December 2003ce

Comments (0)

You must be logged in to add a comment