Orkney 1998

We had been discussing going on a journey to the Orkneys for sometime before we made the commitment and set the dates. The December before, I bought a van, which I paid a friend to kit out. As it progressed, the reality started to become more solid and the excitement built. The van was ready just in time. Off we went on our journey to the Ring of Brodgar in the Orkney Islands for the summer solstice. What an amazing feeling of freedom. The release of energy that had been building up.

Our first stop was Sunbrick where we were to meet our fellow traveller, Mandy. What a lovely place. The great thing about visiting stone circles is that their positioning is always so special. Linda pointed out (as she does!) the alignments of the stone circle to the church spires and the hill formations. Quite clearly an energy line. We spent time just being there and investigating the immediate surrounding area. Mandy found a whole colony of snails tucked deeply into the crevices in the stones.

Sunbrick in Cumbria Onward to Castlerigg

Our next step was the Lake District where we visited Castlerigg. Absolutely stunning. Took my breath away. The stone circle is set on the summit of a hill, which is surrounded by amazingly formed hills 360° around. I felt very energised by the place and felt like I was again in a very special place. The stone circle had a group of stones that pierced the circle. To me, it felt like a phallic entering of the circle, a joining of both feminine and masculine energies. Whilst feeling the energy there and observing the magnificence, my mind wandered about the people who had built and used the circle so many life times gone. I felt that many generations of people had and still are having ceremony there. I really wanted to spend more time here but our journey was time limited so we had to move on. I vowed to come back to the Lake District as it is so very beautiful and Castlerigg so invigorating.

Our next stop was a beautiful stone circle named Swinside. The weather was poor but we decided to go for it anyway. We walked through field upon field and finally reached quite a large stone circle. Unfortunately, because I was cold and wet, I wasn’t really able to appreciate the place as much as I would have liked to but the weather added to the mystery and isolation of the place.

We were on the move again up to the western side of Scotland via Glasgow and to a place called Templewood. I was starting to feel like I needed to stop somewhere and spend longer than a few hours at a site. I love to spend as least a day if not three at one sacred site. Just being, drawing, observing, photographing and experiencing the stillness and the energy movements. Going from one circle to the next was having its toll on me so we agreed to stop for at least a day at the next site.

I then had the strangest experience. Once we had arrived, eaten and got ready to explore, Linda and Mandy went off for a walk to visit a number of burial mounds and Tina and I went straight to the stone circle. It was a strange circle as the middle was full of stones, which I had never seen before. Without thought, both of us walked straight into the circle and sat down leaning against one of the stones. Immediately, I felt uncomfortable and uneasy. I felt my life energy draining out of me. I didn’t know what it was bur I didn’t like the energy of this stone circle. I had never felt like this about any of the sacred sites I have visited.

After a while we left, agreeing that it had a strange energy. We went to visit the first burial mound but by this time I was really tired. All my energy had been drained out of me and I felt an urgency to leave the place altogether. We went straight back to the van and waited for the other two. I slept and woke up feeling awful. What I drew in my diary was full of death. I just wanted to leave. Linda and Mandy eventually came back after admiring every flower and all of nature on their amazing walk but quite unusually had decided against going to the stone circle. We left almost immediately even though it had been me that had needed to stop. We went and had a shower, which Linda suggested might wash any lingering bad energies.

From that point on, I was ultra sensitive to the subtle energies of the sacred sites that we visited. We eventually reached the very North of Scotland, which was baron for many miles before we reached the boat that was to take us to the Orkney Islands. The boat trip was rocky and, for me, lying down flat was the only way to cope.

Once we had landed, we drove straight to the Ring of Brodgar. Refreshingly, unlike England and mainland Scotland, there weren’t any signs saying “No Overnight Parking” and immediately we felt welcomed. We parked up and took a few hours sorting ourselves out and preparing to visit our destination. It was nearly summer Solstice so as we had travelled north and we were heading towards the longest day we found that up in the Orkneys it didn’t get dark. The light was amazing.

At about 11pm, we decided it was time. Linda, Tina and I, all slowly walked up the pathway to the stones. The energy was amazingly strong and increased as we walked towards the circle. Goose bumps and shivers ran down my spine. We walked in silence to the circumference of this huge awe-inspiring circle. Tears ran down my face as I felt completely in awe and in so much appreciation that we had been invited to be a part of this circle of elders. For I experienced a circle of very ancient spirits and I felt so honoured to be there. We stood in silence for ages and then returned to our vans. We had greeted and been accepted by the energies of the stones. The next day, we would spend some time with them.

We spent the next two days being with the stones, walking, talking, drawing, photographing, meditating, meeting others, observing and listening to the curlew birds. The stones were varying in size but all pretty tall and large. They all had swirling textures on them, which intrigued me. Was it really thousands of years of wind that had carved these swirling patterns in the stone? Must have been.

Even though it was Summer Solstice, the wind never stopped and we were all dressed up like the Michelin men!! So many layers to protect us form the wind. Lots of people arrived in their coaches, jaunted around the stones and quickly disappeared. Whilst we spent hours and days just being there. Such a special exquisitely beautiful place.

That night was amazing. The sun dipped just below the horizon for a couple of hours and then rose again. The sunset was magical with the sky spectacular colours, which progressed into the pastel colours of a beautiful sunrise.

We walked from the Ring of Brodgar to Stennes about half a mile away and back again. Just amazing. We were all blown away with its beauty and magnificence. An amazing climax to our journey.

At the Summer Solstice sunrise there were only four of us there, holding the energies of the four directions in a simple and heart felt ceremony. We all felt deeply honoured to be there.

The summer Solstice Sunrise

The following day was Solstice and lots of people turned up to honour the Solstice at the stones. It was lovely to meet the people that had been drawn like us to The Ring of Brodgar. People from afar as Australia. Later that day, we visited Mae’s How which is an ancient pyramid that was built before the Egyptian pyramids. Another amazing place.


Leaving Orkney

The next day, Tina and I went to visit the sea and walked along the stunning cliffs.  The weather was gorgeous and the air so refreshingly clean and delicious.  We really felt like we were on top of the world.  It was here that I came to a realisation.  I saw the jagged layers of rock coming out of the sea at an angle and saw that it was here that the stones had been taken from to build the stone circle and it was the sea that had formed the swirling patterns not the wind.  That made much more sense.

Later, Linda and Mandy met us and we walked along a causeway to visit an island where the puffins lived.  We loved the puffins.  The moon was so large and glorious and as it set over the sea, we admired her beauty with our binoculars.  Then the sunset turned the sky onto an explosion of pinks and purples.  Again, the colours slowly changed from vibrant to soft pastels as the sun rose from the horizon greeting the new day.  We stayed up again all night.  It was very cold so we had the burner on and the back doors ajar whilst we marvelled in the glory of it all.  

After a little sleep, we arose and celebrated the pinnacle of our journey by eating the strawberries that Mandy had been growing on her dashboard!  This was a sad time as Linda, Tina and I were leaving the island to head back south to the realities of our lives.  Mandy was staying a couple more days before carrying on her journey to the West Scottish Isles.  I felt so full up and content.  So blown away by this very special island.  But like any high, it comes to an end and we had to gracefully let go.  We were saddened to leave on such a lovely day.  In hindsight, all three of us agreed we could have stayed another day.  Apparently, the weather changed two days later which would have been another experience all together as it’s very exposed up there.

We boarded the boat and watched the island go by and said goodbye to the Old Man of Hoy and the surrounding cliffs, which were alive with birds.  We camped on the mainland and spent the evening watching the sun set behind the Orkney Islands.  We’ll be back……. 


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