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Brochs, Cairns, & a Castle

Posted by Heliocentrism on March 5, 2018

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

Mark and I bought memberships in the Scottish Heritage. This allowed us access to many castles and abbeys throughout Scotland for free. It also included a booklet that tells us where those things are. But, not all the historical sites cared for by the Historical Scotland Society charge admission or have caretakers watching over them on a set schedule. Many of them are just out in the open next to grazing sheep.

On our drive up north to get the ferry to Orkney we stopped by many of these open sites. To see some of them you had to park your car on the side of the road and follow a series of black and white poles for a mile or two, up hill, through cow or sheep fields, and in the mud. Sometimes the walked didn’t seem worth all the hassle. There were many times I stepped in poo and had to wash my shoes off in muddy puddles. Other times, we had a wonderful view of the country side on the path to see the ruins of an old castle or old sets of rocks.

There were some areas where we were left to our own judgement how safe we wanted to be. But those gave us the most wonderful views. The best part of it was we were the only ones there. There was not an Outlander fan to be seen. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip. Even though hikes were sometimes long and hard, the weather cold and windy, and I always managed to step in poo, I would do it again if given the chance.

The United Kingdom

How to get there:

You can enter this country by land via an underwater tunnel, air, or sea.

Check with your local UK embassy for visa information.


  • Use 112 or 999 for the police, fire department, or to get an ambulance






  • If you’re going to do a lot of travel by train or bus, looking for a Rail card or bus pass before you buy your first ticket.
    • Railway Cards
    • Oyster Card
    • Even getting a day pass on a bus could be cheaper than getting 3 single passes, or a return ticket and a single pass.
  • If you’re going to travel around the United Kingdom, you might want to get membership at one of the following:
    •  English Heritage – £54 / year for 1 person
    • National Trust England – £64.80 / year for 1 person
    • Scottish Heritage –  £49 / year for 1 person
      • All of these are a little cheaper when getting a group or family membership.
      • Many come with discounts for other things, like:
        • The Scottish Heritage gives you 20% off at all of their gift shops and cafes.
        • English Heritage gives you free parking at many of their sights.
      • As a bonus, it helps you when planning what to do and see in the country.
  • If you are going to stay in hostels, join Hosteling International, or any of its subsidiaries.
    • YHA – England & Wales
    • SYHA – Scotland
      • Membership at any of these will get you the discounted rate at any of the other hosteling organizations.
      • These hostels tend to be better than most hostels.

Pentland Ferries

Basic Information:



  • There is a cafe at the dock at Gill’s Bay and on the boat.
  • I didn’t see a cafe at the dock at St. Margret’s Hope.

Don’t Miss:


Posted in Caithness, Scotland, Ulbster, United Kingdom, The, Wick | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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