Quoyness Chambered Cairn was right near the top of our list for our day on Sanday, so we headed there first after alighting from the ferry. The Walkhighlands route is described from Lady Village, but we started from the much closer parking area at Quoy Ayre to save on time and tarmac walking.
Quoy Ayre is a lovely beach:
The stony coastal track to the cairn would usually be straightforward, but today we had the unwelcome company of a large herd of cows in between us and the cairn. The field is long but narrow, bordered on one side by the sea and the other by a high wall with barbed wire. Despite trying to keep on the far, seaward side of the field, the cows seemed particularly fidgety, so we retreated and found a place to get over the landward wall. A few more walls later and we were nearly level with the cairn, but with no obvious way to access it. The only option was to jump back into the narrow field of cows, and quickly get to the seaward side. Fortunately most of the cows were further away at this point, and a sticking out section of fence separated them from us. Soon we were in the safety of the cairn's enclosure. What an impressive sight!
Historic Scotland were busy clearing reeds from the roof of the cairn, having driven there in a van through neighboring fields.
We weren't looking forward to negotiating the cows again, but just in time the farmer came through on a tractor, moving the cows into a different field! So the return was straightforward, and we spent a little time on the beach before heading off to explore the rest of the island.
View over the tidal Little Sea from the car park:
Amazing cairn... but beware of the cows...
<< Morning: Rerwick Head, Orkney Mainland
>> Afternoon: Start Point
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