Half and full day tours. Prices: £250/ £400
The tv series of “The Vikings” and “The Last Kingdom” have made Viking culture accessible, so why not take a tour of where the real characters lived follow in the steps of the real Ragnar Lothbrok who was mentioned in the “Orkneyinga Saga”.
Orkney’s location and fertile farmland made it an attractive land for the Vikings, we don’t know if they conquered it or integrated into the Pictish society but as nearly all the names are Norse you can draw your own conclusions.
Certainly, from the mid-8th century the Vikings were here, and Orkney remained a Norse being governed by the Earls of Orkney land until 1468, when it was given as a dowry by the King of Norway to the King of Scotland.
One of the first settlements was on the Brough of Birsay where a settlement and hall was built also here is an early Church. This was the first “capital” of Viking Orkney and in the 10th century the seat of power moved to Kirkwall where the Earl built his Hall. Eventually St Magnus’s Cathedral was started in 1137 by Earl Rognald St Magnus’s nephew.
Other places to visit could be Orphir where another Earl’s hall, farm and church was built today they are in ruins, but a modern centre is on the site with loads of information is open all year round.
Another popular place is Maeshowe a Neolithic tomb, which is part of the” UNESCO heart of Neolithic Orkney” in which has the most Nordic runes anywhere outside of Scandinavia. If these runes were carved today, we would call it graffiti and vandalism but 800 later we now call it history!
Another place to visit is Deerness with its fortified settlement at the Brough, its settlement at Newark Bay and the Viking meeting place at Dingieshowe. In fact, scratch the surface of Orkney and something Viking will spring up. Come spend a half day or if you have time a day exploring what the Vikings were doing on Orkney.