A unique monument to a seafaring past in this corner of the Orkney mainland.
Birsay in Orkney's West Mainland is a place full of history and heritage, and plenty of things to see and do. If you find yourself at the Brough of Birsay and the tide times aren't right for crossing, you won't be short of other options.
We'd recommend taking the coastal path eastwards from the Brough to Skiba Geo. As well as some stunning scenery, you'll pass restored fishermen's huts and boat nousts used by generations of local folk. Follow the coast and you'll eventually reach the famous Whalebone. The structure is made from the remains of a whale that's thought to have washed up around 150 years ago on the beach below.
In those days, beached whales were seen as a bounty for coastal communities and could be used for food, fuel and for decorative items. The remains of this whale were left to decompose until around 1880, when part of the jawbone and skull were fashioned into a monument and placed overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. These days, the Whalebone showcases the connection between Orkney and the sea.