Skara Brae and Skaill House

Skara Brae
Skara Brae with Skaill House in the background

Skara Brae is a Neolithic fishing and farming village from about 3000 BC. It was buried in sand for centuries, which is probably why it’s so well-preserved, until a huge storm demolished the dunes covering it in 1850. There’s a much swankier visitor centre than when we last visited in 1996, and a replica of one of the houses which I can’t remember seeing before so suspect is also new. You can go inside that, but the real houses can only be viewed from above by walking round the outer walls. Even so, you get a good impression of how people lived with their fireplaces and built-in furniture ingeniously made from stone.

Nearby is Skaill House, home of William Graham Watt (the 7th Laird of Breckness, who unearthed Skara Brae in 1850) and still the current Laird’s family home. The oldest parts of the house date to 1620, but there have been several additions over the years, and in 1996 it was undergoing more renovations. This time we were able to visit – in summer, it’s included in your Skara Brae ticket. Ideas of comfort have, thankfully, moved on since 3000 BC!

Coming next: Stromness and Orphir.

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18 thoughts on “Skara Brae and Skaill House

  1. lisadorenfest September 24, 2015 / 06:16

    How cool is that Skara Brae! And I want a house like Skaill 🙂

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  2. jazzfeathers September 22, 2015 / 21:11

    That first pic completely got me. And what about those fantastic names? Skara Brael and Skaill… there’ sno way there isn’t a story hidden in these names!

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    • Anabel Marsh September 22, 2015 / 22:09

      Skaill is apparently Old Norse for Hall. So Hall House is a tautology! Brae usually means hill, but in Old Norse = isthmus. Not sure about Skara. Anyway, they all sound romantic!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Birgit September 22, 2015 / 19:35

    It’s funny that, with the 3,000 year old home, The sod home from Little House on the Prairie came into my head. I find this so interesting. Love the library in the other home. I can’t help feeling sorry for the poor tiger even though he’s been dead for a long time.

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    • Anabel Marsh September 22, 2015 / 22:01

      Yes, poor tiger. Even sadder is the picture of the young boy in the library: he was killed in an accident soon after.

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      • Birgit September 24, 2015 / 20:33

        oh my goodness! that is very sad indeed!

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  4. anotherday2paradise September 22, 2015 / 18:56

    Amazing house, Anabel. Imagine having Skaill House as one’s family home. 🙂

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  5. Pit September 22, 2015 / 14:18

    Quite a contrast in the living-accomodations, isn’t it, between the two places? Thanks for taking me there, Anabel. 🙂

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  6. slfinnell September 22, 2015 / 13:11

    Even at 3000 BC they knew how to build for a good view 🙂 Gorgeous!

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    • Anabel Marsh September 22, 2015 / 13:16

      It might take your mind off the cold, stone furniture! But I guess they had loads of animal skins to keep warm.

      Liked by 1 person

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