Thursday, November 21, 2013

Northern Isles - Egilsay

On my trip to Orkney one of my must-see places was Egilsay. Two things drew me to the island: the martyrdom of St Magnus in the year 1116, and the 12 century church of St Magnus with its round tower. I was pretty naive back then, thinking I could just drive to the ferry terminal at Tingwall and await the next boat to Egilsay. They looked at me like I was from Mars. They said there was no on-demand sailing to Egilsay, and there was also not a lot of demand for regular sailings (this was 1990). But they did manage to get us to Rousay, where we had a 2-hour wait to get on a boat that was going to Egilsay. This gave us time to see some of the chambered-cairns that lie near where the ferry lands on Rousay.

When we finally got over to Egilsay we had two wonderful hours on the island. Egilsay is a beautiful, and quiet island. After finding the monument that marks where St Magnus was killed (first photo), we explored St Magnus' Church and round tower (second and third photo). The photos are marred a bit by the scaffolding that surrounded the tower, so I hope to return to Egilsay in June to get some better photos.

Monument where St Magnus was killed in 1116
St Magnus' Church, Egilsay
Scaffolding on the Round Tower
Looking up through the round tower
When time came to leave Egilsay the tide had dropped, so we had to descend the pier-ladders to get down to the small ferry. On the ride back to Tingwall the only passengers were my wife and I, and the Egilsay teacher returning to her home on Mainland Orkney.

Egilsay Ferry
My wife descending the ladder on Egilsay Pier

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