The shape of Maeshowe (see inset above) is repeated in many unexcavated mounds all over Orkney. After a while, our guide explained, most people begin to see man made mounds in every hillock and rise on the islands.
Entering the tomb with our guide, we had to crouch to navigate a long passage that was only 4 feet high. Our guide led us in, waiting in the cathedral like inner chamber to tell us when it was safe to straighten up.
The passage, along with an equally ancient monument called the Barnhouse Stone, just beyond, line up with the setting sun, lighting up the inner chamber, for about six weeks around the winter solstice. A midwinter Maeshowe webcam broadcasts the event.
- Timed tours at 45 minute intervals
- Open daily, from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30p.m. in summer (last tour 5:15 p.m.) and from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in winter (last tour 3:45 p.m.)
- Admission charge