Day 2 - A Sunny Summer Sunday
Take a short walk to The Brough of Birsay - you saw it yesterday on arrival at Annie's Place. Here you have two options: If the tide is right (consult tide tables published weekly on the public notice board at our village Car Park) then walk over the causeway to the island which is under care of Scottish National Heritage for its Romanesque church and even more ancient Norse village where you can see drainage channels which may indicate early baths or even a sauna ? Walk round the island on a carpet of flowers, while guillemots, puffins, razorbills and fulmars all cling to the cliffs below you.
If the tide prevents you crossing to The Brough of Birsay, you can head eastwards, half a mile along the headland towards Northside, past the Fishermen's Hut and boat nousts to The Whalebone, a photographer's "must". There you can sit comfortably on a bench; in summer, you will see nesting arctic terns, wheeling above their young chicks just a few metres out on Skiba Geo. Did I say comfortably ? Try standing up, and the aggressive terns will be at you, saying "clear out....this is our pitch".
Back at Palace village, you change walking boots at Annie's Place and make your way across the small bridge up to Birsay Bay Tearoom for lunch or afternoon tea. Sunday papers will have arrived at Palace Stores by 3pm, so you may want to complete a quiet day in Annie's Place garden or visit St Magnus Church, next door to Annie's Place. Founded during the reign of Thorfinn the Mighty in 1064 (before The Norman Conquest) it is still a living place of worship for Christian marriage and an annual St Magnus Day service on 16th April.
The ruins of the 16th century Earls Palace, as viewed from your sitting room window at Annie's Place, provide an insight into the power and wealth that once centred in Birsay village, the ancient Capital of the Orkney Isles. Quiet solitude for the lasting twilight of a Summer Sunday evening in Orkney.