The Ring of Brodgar truly is at the heart of Orkney. I have visited on many occasions, the most memorable being one March, with heavy snow across the North of Scotland. Our little car struggled to make it through zero visibility snowstorms up to Thurso for the ferry. The ferry itself was a journey – whitecapped storm-flecked waves, deep blue and green rolling turbulently from the North.
Despite the drifts we made it across mainland to our accommodation, stopping at Brodgar on our way for some memorable photos. I do not think I have ever experienced such bitter wind, even on top of the mountains in winter. Straight from the North Pole!
Over the next few days we visited Brodgar several times, as the weather turned to blue skies and sun with hardly a hint of a breeze, and just a few lingering snow patches.
The monument is classed as a henge, surrounded as it is by a large moat cut through solid rock. It is the 3rd largest circle in the British isles, having a diameter of 103.6m (340 feet), and today has 27 stones standing, although originally there may have been up to 60. It stands in a large natural bowl of the surrounding hills, and is a truly spectacular site.
The ring forms part of a complex, including nearby Stones of Stenness, the Ring of Bookan, and many other nearby monuments, forming the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site. Between the Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness is a narrow ismuth. This area is currently under intense archaological investigation, with major new discoveries being made.