Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 21, 2017

Cycling the Orkney Isles – part 5

The site we stayed on in Evie was in 2 parts. One field overlooked the sea but was sloping and very exposed and the other was near the toilets and was a nice, flat sheltered site. We chose shelter as the wind was getting stronger. I have to say the price of £25 was a bit steep and ordinarily I wouldn’t have bothered but I didn’t want to push on . So we paid up and shared the field with one other family. There was no lounge or kitchen but the toilets and showers were fairly good and spotlessly clean.

On the field was this family tent.



I thought it looked like a tent from the Chronicles of Narnia but we laughed when we were shown the parents bed inside.


P1000514Talk about palatial  but they did say they needed loads underneath them to keep warm. Convection currents take away all the heat so I am glad we have our Exped Downmats. So warm and comfy without all the need for a compressor.

We had a very pleasant evening although there was a bit of rain later on but the morning dawned fine. It was only when we left the shelter of the small field that we realised just how much the wind had risen and we were into a head wind. As we were back on Orkney Mainland we decided to head to some of the free museums. Well , they ask for donations to keep them open but are well worth a visit.

So we rode north on the A966 but quiet with little traffic. I have to say that all the drivers we encountered were very courteous and gave us plenty of room and gave us a wave too. So different from our normal experience.  The road climbs and falls constantly and then we were at Loch Swanney. Here the road turns sharply southwards before continuing west but we took a minor road at this point that passes Loch of Hundland before arriving at Kirbuster. There is an excellent farm museum here and we arrived just before it opened at 10.00am. So did a group of archaeology students and a tutor who were on a study day. It was interesting talking to the tutor as she knew more than I did.

It must have been a very hard life in the 19th and early 20th centuries farming up here but they were very self sufficient growing crops and having animals and being able to fish too. The following photos show what the houses were like. Yes they did sleep in small cupboard type places in the main room but it would have kept them much warmer too. I was interested to see these old patchwork quilts too.

I found a sewing machine set into a table but I have never seem a lifting mechanism like this before. It used a bicycle chain. I probably shouldn’t have opened it but I couldn’t help myself.

The curator at this museum told us to go to the Corrigall museum as they had a restored grain kiln  and it was worth seeing. They are hoping to restore the kiln at Kirbuster when funds allow.


As it was on route for us , we cycled there but got a soaking as the rain started just as we turned off the main road.

This is inside the grain drying kiln at Corrigall.

There was a threshing floor where the grain was beaten with flails and there would be two doors opposite each other which would be opened to allow the wind to blow away the chaff. Then the grain would be dried in the kiln so that it would store better. The heat was supplied by peat as a fuel.P1000551



They were also able to spin and weave their own cloth.

There were also some very cute goats at Corrigall but these would have been kept for meat and milk.


The museum closes for lunch at 1.00pm as it is all run by volunteers. Indeed the day’s curator lives on the island of Rousay where we had been the previous day. So putting on our wet weather clothing we ventured off again re-joining the A986 and cycling back to Finstown. By now we had sunshine again so we disrobed and I bought us cheeseburgers from Leigh’s roadside stall. All Orkney produced beef and they were delicious. We also talked to a lady cyclist who was obviously much older than us and she was staying up in the hills and was there on holiday cycling around. The traffic was much busier back on the A960 back into Kirkwall where we were soon pitched up again at Pickaquoy.



  1. You made good use of your time.

    • If anything we packed in a bit too much. We didn’t know what day it was half the time. Good job I took notes

  2. It looks lovely, love the bird photos especially xx

    • Thank you. I was pleased to get them

    • thank you Anna. I am becoming more interested in birds now that I can see them more closely with the zoom lens.

  3. Thanks for the tour Brenda. Such an interesting post. The lift on such an old machine was surprising. I loved the old dry stone construction of the drying kiln too – a work of such skill.

    • I am so pleased the old skills are being kept alive.

  4. Fascinating history and your photos of the kiln are great. I prefer small style camping too 👌

    • i cannot believe just how far back the history in this part of the world goes back – even before the pyramids of Egypt.

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